Don't we all struggle with this? I sure wish I was writing about a Halloween costume I snaggled on Pinterest. (wait, snaggled isn't a word? Good-ness-it is now...)
But what I am talking about is something I deal with sometimes on a daily basis when I allow myself to wallow in my own self pity. And isn't the life of a mom (and wives, sisters, daughters, and single ladies out there, too) full of opportunities for self pity parties?
I would love to say that as a wife of over 17 years, a mother for 14 years, and a perpetual daughter of a King all my life, that I've never struggled with pity, ugly green monsters, or anything that involves coveting my neighbors goods/wife/etc what have you.
But the truth is, I have struggled and to be perfectly honest, that struggle has ended friendships, ruined relationships and basically, when I let it, turned my life into quite the drama.
Fortunately for me, I married someone whom God carved out completely with the ability to recognize those self pity moments and gave him the heart to not take things I say literally, or to heart. He helps me see when I'm "getting crazy" and reminds me that I'm not in charge and I'd better settle down and turn this over to God.
I am blessed. Blessed beyond what I deserve, but today, I want to share when those moments of green envy can destroy and potentially destroy beautiful things placed in our life.
One of the many blessings I have is the ability to stay home. I tried the whole "working mom" thing. Twice actually. Once, right after my 14 year old was born, and the second time, when I wanted my kiddos (had only 4 at the time) to attend Catholic schools and my husband showed me our income. Teaching in the school was the only option (so I thought) to send my kids where I felt they belonged (or in my "rational" head, where they would be safe). It worked for two years and then we were blessed with baby #5 and teaching with 5 children became something my husband had to convince me of, was not happening. We struggle financially only with thing we want. God has blessed my husband with a great job and all our needs (shelter, food, hand me downs) are provided.
With this blessing came an opportunity about a month ago. My daughter who is 10 (5th grader) was struggling in school. Not academically so much, but she was overcome with such anxiety that many nights were spent sleepless, worried, and sick to her stomach over things she couldn't explain. She didn't know why she was so worried, or why her heart raced, or why she couldn't just "close her eyes" and fall asleep like everyone else. She shared a cozy room, had plenty to help her fall asleep, but sleep would not come. Very rarely did we have consecutive nights where sleep would come. Once we figured out that school was very much the problem, we set to prayer. Should we pull her from school? We tried the "everyone can just get along and finish up the school year" trick. We reminded her daily that there are people, especially in charge, who we just won't get along with, and we must learn to persevere. We prayed together. We talked a lot. We lost as much sleep as she did and with a baby in the house, losing sleep is really, really, really, hard.... (did I mention how hard it is?)
Finally, something snapped and the door opened and the opportunity presented itself to pull her from school.
So for the last month, I have taught 5th grade once again (that was my first, "real" teaching job eons ago when my husband and I first married!!) It's been very enjoyable, and to be honest, it's been the whack on my head I've needed to realize what my daughter needed because, as of this past week- she has had zero sleepless nights.... (now the baby, on the other hand.....that's another blog for another day)
But with this new endeavor I have come to the realization of something.
I am very lonely.
Yes, I have my awesome daughter and baby home with me all day.
I don't want to sound resentful, because I'm not. But I have recognized several things.
1) life is still going on
2) life is still going on
3) life is still going on
I should probably clarify so I don't sound completely like a whiney teenager who was grounded from her cell phone....
Prior to pulling my daughter, I pretty much did (within reason since I do have a baby)whatever I wanted. If I wanted to go shopping, I went shopping. If I wanted to grab a coffee with a friend, I grabbed a coffee with a friend. If I wanted to invite myself over for lunch at my girlfriend's house, I just invited myself over.
Well, when you decide in the middle of the school year to pull your child and have zero curriculum, plans, etc., you tend to be overwhelmed, extremely busy, and full of just a hair of worry that you're not going to take what she's learned this first half of the year and not flush it down the toilet because you got this hairbrained idea it would be "good" for her and you to homeschool.
So along with the fact that my daughter's health has improved DRAMATICALLY, my ugly green monster friend has GROWN dramatically.
Because you see, life is still going on. And what does poor, pitiful, catholicmomma think? I'm all alone.... (said in a high pitch, crying voice, as pathetic as you can imagine).
Stores are still open for shopping, friends are still meeting for coffee, and my girlfriend is still eating lunch.....
WITHOUT ME..... (again, said in high pitch, crying voice as pathetic as you can imagine....)
In walks ugly, green monster.
I don't know what anyone's ugly, green monster looks like, but mine takes on several forms....
The first form is the self doubter form.
You know the one, instead of talking you down off the cliff, he practically shoves you over by saying things like, "you can't teach this, you're not smart enough, you're going to ruin your child." He did a number or two on me in the beginning of this adventure, but I have since dumped him for an even better one.
The second one likes to remind you of all you're missing.
I like to call him the "tattle tale" form. He's constantly telling me what's on sale at Target and how "before" I could run errands and help save tons of money by shopping savvy and now look at me- I have to pretty much shop like a maniac at one place and grab what I can at a one shop stop, thereby spending more money than want, but feeling no other way to do it.
The third form is probably the worst and actually the one I sometimes find myself struggling with regardless of my current situation.
He's the one that tries to convince me I have no friends, or the friends I have don't like me, or I'm better off without friends because I'm so pathetic.
He's the worst. Because right now, I haven't spent very much time with friends, and when I do get the opportunity, he likes to put thoughts in my head of regret, loneliness, and reminders that they are always getting together and visiting and laughing and having a GREAT time, without me.... He's very good as his job. He makes me green with envy in such a split moment, that before I realize it, I find myself desiring, or regretting, depending on the thought, making a different choice than what I'm doing now....
It's very hard to actually admit things like this. I am guessing, some people struggle with this, and very rarely admit it, or perhaps even recognize it. Maybe there are those who never suffer from this monster, and if that the case, they are blessed even more. But I'm guessing more suffer than don't.
So what do we do about this ugly, green monster, who invades our minds like a fungus and seems to never want to leave?
The solution may be simpler than we think.
We have to begin to first recognize what makes that monster start to appear. For me, it's self doubt. I know as soon as I start letting one thought of self doubt appear and I don't stop it automatically, it will spiral faster than a 5 year old coming off a sugar buzz on Halloween night. Some of you know exactly, what I'm talking 'bout there... mmm mmmmmmmm.....
Once I recognize the monster's presence, I really have to make a conscience effort to tell him to beat it. Think Michael Jackson's song, Beat It. This first verse is really all you need, and the chorus....
"They Told Him Don't You Ever Come Around Here
Don't Wanna See Your Face, You Better Disappear
The Fire's In Their Eyes And Their Words Are Really Clear
So Beat It, Just Beat It"
The ugly green monster is who better disappear.
Ok, so if singing Michael Jackson's song, Beat It, isn't your thing (or perhaps, you're under the age of 35 and have no clue as to what I'm talking about) there are other options.
Surround yourself with Ducks.
The former pastor of my church once spoke at our Mom's group. He said, "Ducks need ducks."
Seriously, how can such a simple phrase have any impact on the green monster, you ask? Simple.
When you surround yourself with like minded people, not only does it lift you up, but it those difficult times, it can help rid those green monsters! Seriously. One of my girlfriends is notoriously in the same 'dilemma' as I am with our monsters. She recognizes in my voice (as I do hers) when that monster has taken over and she either comes over, or has me over. We need one another. Yes, my husband is also one of my ducks, but as a Woman of God, I need other Godly women to lift me as well. My husband recognizes this need too, and often encourages me to be with my friends when I can.
It's important, especially now, for me to plan times together. Mostly in the evening, or Saturday mornings (when there is less chaos at home and I can get my schooling in during the week day).
One of the best, and most successful ways to rid us of our monsters is to pray. And for me, and my Catholic faith, prayer AND reconciliation. There is POWER in confession. If you haven't read Scott Hahn's, Lord Have Mercy, The Healing Power of Confession, you need to. There's a "cliff notes" version in Lighthouse Catholic Media you can listen to that's somewhat abbreviated...But it's GOOD!
I can always tell when it's been too long since my last confession because my body physically aches for it. There is such a healing in my heart (and my head) that takes place as I sit there before the priest who is actually sitting there for Christ that I can't put into words to make it clear enough. The feeling, the power, the cleansing, it's beyond what I can explain. But know this, if it's been a long time since you've been, go. Your heart and soul will thank you for it. Speaking of, mine is in need, so meet me next Saturday and we'll go together.... :)
The point is this. We don't have to sit and wallow in our self pity. We don't have to sit and let that ugly, green monster reap it's reward as it decimates you and your soul to a weepy mess on the couch or in your bed. We can overcome this thing.
Pray for me, and my ugly, green monsters. I'll do the same for you as well.
As always, be blessed and recognize those blessings.
No matter how small.