Monday, April 20, 2015

Monster Mommy Blogger....and other tales from the mean homestead...

I have sat down to blog about fifty times.  I promise.  I can't even make up the stuff that happens when I go to sit down.... I had desperately wanted to blog about Easter Sunday and how beautiful it turned out after quite the fiasco of having a free front row pew dropped into our laps and then arriving to Mass on time (which on Easter Sunday is suicide-you may as well wait for the next Mass if you do that...) only to discover the ushers had not put out the reserved signs?

I had wanted to blog about how my Grandma Grace had been CRAZY on my mind that day, starting with the wake up of my little peanut.  So strong was she, that I felt compelled to pull out her very old, very dainty crucifix necklace and wear it to Mass.  She remained on my mind the rest of the day and I desperately wanted to blog about how my amazing husband realized after all these years why it was so important to me to have pictures made after Mass.  My grandma had always, always, ALWAYS done that- even if the weather was yucky- we had our pictures taken either on her front porch or in front of a giant bush/tree in her front yard.  There were some amazing pictures of me that I recall.  And let me tell you, I use that word "amazing" incredibly loosely.....
My Grandma Grace's necklace

I wanted to blog about how we had baked a ham and a turkey to bring over to our friend's house to celebrate the holiday together with other friends.  How when we got there, we met some new friends and incredibly, one of them was the very resident who was the first one to start trying to save my life after I birthed my little peanut and began hemorrhaging three hours later.  The funny thing was that she recognized my husband, but couldn't place where she had seen him, and it wasn't until I was sitting and nursing my little peanut and she came into the room I was in and I immediately recognized her.

Talk about surreal!  God has done that on more than one occasion.  Placing the person back in our lives after not being able to thank them for something they've done for us.

I wanted to blog about how, after 10 weeks, I was starting to emerge from my cocoon and was starting to feel almost human again, but was discovering that although I was able to get out, I was suddenly dealing with something very distressing.  I was overly angry, anxious, irritable, over exhausted, and very depressed.  I was losing my temper with my children. I was getting upset with my husband.  I was getting angry I couldn't sit down to blog, which always brings me such peace to just sit and type away.

I wanted to blog how I hadn't been able to just sit and spend time in quiet prayer or conversation with God in I didn't know how long.  Sure we did our bedtime prayer with the children, but for me to just SIT and chat with my Savior?  It had not happened in so very long.

But an event in my life this past week, opened my eyes and "woke" me up.

I got angry.

I'm not talking, grouchy mama bear angry, I'm talking, anger that scared me to the point that I actually wound up accidentally hurting myself.

Back up a few months.  Ok, maybe back up a few years.

My kids fight every single night after dinner.  Over what?

Cleaning the kitchen.

Ok, before you say, "why bother?  Just clean it yourself."  Well, yes, I suppose I could just say that.  But I am a firm believer that my children's generation is going to have a really tough time in the real world when they grow up.  Kids are not made to do chores, clean up after themselves, or pretty much anything my generation and probably every generation before me, were made to do, ever!  It's important to my husband and I that our children learn responsibility and what it's like to be a part of a community (aka family).  In order to do this, they have expectations they must complete.  One of the very few things we expect them to do is the shared responsibility of cleaning the kitchen after dinner.  Now by "clean the kitchen" I have already tried to have a great deal of dishes done, so basically it involves loading your plate, cup and silverware, wiping the table, counter and stove down, sweeping the kitchen and the dining room, and a few dishes.

You would think we had asked them to clean the kitchen after a dinner on the Titanic.

Every night they bicker over WHO has to do what and WHO is waiting on whom to complete a task.  Whether it's one waiting to sweep until someone wipes the table, or someone waiting to dry dishes while another actually washes them.  Doesn't matter, they fight.  Constantly.

Well, like I said, I am really fighting some serious PPD.  To the point I am now going to actively seek someone to speak to about it because it's starting to wear me down.

They started fighting and I got upset.  I told them to get out of the kitchen.  Ok, well, maybe I YELLED for them to get out of the kitchen.  My husband always gets irritated with me when I do this, because I'm giving them exactly what they want.  FREEDOM!  No kitchen cleaning tonight!!!  I see it as the quiet time I can spend cleaning the kitchen by myself.  But tonight I could tell I was more angry than normal and instead of calming down, counting to 10, cooling off, or whatever I could do to calm down, I blew up.

I know I'm not the only mom in the world who blows up.  I feel like I am.  Facebook and moms groups, and other places where you see 'perfect' moms can make you feel like your the only mom who does practically anything wrong beyond the scope of June Cleaver....  I certainly felt like I was the only mommy monster at the time.  My husband got upset that I had sent everyone out.  So I did what any rational, hormonal, post partum red head would do.  I slammed a plate on the counter.

Well, that didn't go over so well.  As I slammed it, I realized that this fancy dish (phaltzgraff) would break, not only break, but break into three nicely sharpened pieces.  I went to grab the one piece that started to fall in the sink and literally sliced my hand open.  Like a can opener.  Blood started pouring out (yes, pouring...) and I immediately realized what a dumb thing I did.  On many levels.

Fortunately, not all my kids saw the juvenile display I put on.  Most just knew mom broke a plate and cut her hand.  But for me, it was so much more.  It was the final tipping point that said, I am not handling things anymore.  I am overwhelmed and exhausted and my expectations are beyond what I can reach.  I needed help.

I did again, what anyone with any ounce of rationale would do, and just cried.  "I am such a mess..." I whined to my husband.  He didn't agree, but he didn't disagree either.  I am a mess.  I know I'm a mess.  I have seven children!!!  Who isn't a mess while recovering from a birth to begin with, but to be the seventh time?  It's challenging to say the least.  The external pressures outside our home, whether from me trying to constantly look as though I "have it together."  Or whether it's the constant barrage of questions inquiring how we even handle that many when those with one or two are barely afloat.  It begins to take a toll on a person and especially just having a baby- when the hormones don't know if they're coming or going, and the sleep is hit or miss- and by MISS I mean, this baby does NOT sleep so it's definitely missing in my life...and my husband's.  The laundry that seems to morph out of no where.  And I mean NO WHERE.....

I knew in that instant I needed something.  Whether it was a coffee with a friend or a MOMs meeting I needed it.  The very next day, I found myself at my church's MOMs meeting and listening to a mom witness about anger.  It did my soul good.  I cried like a baboon through the entire talk.  Thankfully, I was surrounded by other hormonal post and pre partum moms who cried with me.... :)

I knew after attending that meeting what I needed.  I needed confession like you wouldn't believe.  The healing benefit of confession is profound.  I think for most of us, we let fear dictate whether or not we'll go to this sacrament.  We let fear of what the priest will think, or what he'll say to us, or we allow ourselves to believe that our sins aren't really bad... Just so we're clear, sin never looks "bad" or we wouldn't choose it...

So Saturday afternoon I was able to visit the sacrament of confession.  I left feeling as though the weight of the world had been lifted.  I was showered with that grace that only God can give me and the priest I visited wound up being one of the most pleasant and kind priests!  I know we tend to be so hard on ourselves as moms and have this ridiculous expectation that can not always, nor should it be always, met.  He was able to talk me back down off the cliff and into reality.  Reality is, I'm not a nun.  I don't live in a convent, and my prayer life is temporarily on a bit of a chaotic hiatus right now.  Sporadic at best.  He encouraged me to pray when I can.  Whether that be while I'm doing the laundry, feeding the kids, cleaning, whatever moment I was in, offer that moment to God.  He loves me so much for even trying to do that.  That's where He has me right now.  I am in the midst of chaos and laundry, and babies, and no sleep and He wants to me meet me right there.  Not in my little prayer chapel with my veil and rosary in hand.  That's not who or even where I am right now....  Just pulling out the seventh load for the day or changing the tenth diaper.  Loading the breakfast dishes.  Sweeping the floor. Dusting the TV stand. Breaking up another fight over Barbie.  Picking up toys for the umpteenth time that day. All of that is where He has me.  Use those moments to pray.
The reason I pray....

And by no means am I perfect.  Confession was just Saturday and I can assure anyone, I've already snapped at one or two.  I made a not so nice mental comment to someone who made a comment out loud about my large family.  I even fell off my "no more swearing" bandwagon again....

But I know I'll pick myself back up, and keep trying.  God wouldn't want me to do anything less than that....He loves me.  He loves you.  He loves all of us.
A little Momster humor...

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