Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"Sometimes I wonder about my life...I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave?"

"...So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around? I don't really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So, good night, dear void." ~Kathleen Kelly, You've Got Mail

I've been struggling with something recently. Okay, not just recently, but only recently have I been able to pinpoint and admit to myself that this "funk" I've been feeling for quite some time may not be just a funk. And I haven't wanted to admit it for a long time because it means there's something wrong with me. Or maybe not even that something is wrong, but more, that I would have to face the truth and deal with it. It's easier to tell myself, "You'll snap out of it eventually. It's the haze of young motherhood. You'll be your old self again someday." Only, the last part of that statement has begun to haunt me.


Who is that? I don't know her anymore, and part of me misses her. And part of me wonders if I ever really knew her.

Bert and I will be celebrating ten years of marriage this fall. In all, we have been a couple for twelve years. That's over a third of my life. Just before our one year anniversary, we learned I was pregnant with Her Highness. And while I wouldn't trade Bert or our babies for all the riches in the world, I find myself wondering who am I if I'm not Bert's wife and Her Highness and The Storm's momma?? Six kids in eight years, all of which I am eternally grateful for, but I'm only now starting to realize I haven't slowed down and caught my breath, nor slept through the night, in a very long time.

I used to laugh when people would comment on our lack of sleep and respond, "It's kinda like a slumber party, when you get super giddy around 1am. I live in a state of slumber party giddiness." Only now, I'm not giddy. I'm just TIRED. "Spend the Night Penalty!" my own mother would sing, after we returned from a slumber party as kids. Spend the Night Penalty meant you had to go to bed extra early (while the sun was still up) because she could tell you had seen the sunrise that morning, by the way you were crying at the drop of a hat. I could use a Spend the Night Penalty right about now.

If this post is coming across as bratty and selfish, then maybe I'm not making myself clear. It's not a situation where, "You asked for those kids so hush about it." I would be feeling this way no matter the number of children with which I had been blessed. Motherhood, with all the wonderful changes it brings, can also leave you feeling so... ALONE. Yet, I never even pee by myself. It's not that I'm not proud to be a wife and Mother. It's just, after all these years, I'm taking a step back to look at it all and ponder... Is it an Identity Crisis maybe?? Or maybe it's just that my body simply doesn't know what to do with all the extra estrogen flowing in my system. Either way, I'm afraid these insecurities within are causing problems in my marriage and my relationships with my children and even my closest friends.

It's not that I would necessarily change the way things have happened in my life. It's just a haunting thought that has been with me for quite a while... At the end of the day, who am I really? Am I reaching my full potential in life? Is this what God's plans for my life looks like? Because it certainly doesn't always match the dream I had for myself.

Just like Meg Ryan's character in You've Got Mail, I don't really want an answer. Besides, it's not one that can be found quickly. It's just a cosmic question I'd like to send out into the void. So, good night, dear void.


Angie~~ Momma Weasley said...

Sweet, dear Holly,

I think we all go through this at various times in our motherhood, and I know that after Cooper was born, I too wondered about the path I had chosen...was being a SAHM of four all I was destined for when so many opportunities laid ahead of me at Auburn? But as the kids get older and the world gets meaner, I know that God destined me to be at home for now where I can focus on the kids, their futures, and to provide a safe harbor when so much is not safe anymore.

Too many kids these days do not get the motherly focus we are able to provide our children....yes the hours bite, the pay is crap, and the praise can be stingy,but we have been blessed with great responsibility that will reward us with years of hugs, sticky kisses and children that will always appreciate home and all that one word encompasses.

Hugs my dear friend...if you need a nap, a break, or a shoulder to snot up call on me anytime.

Ashlee said...

I think we all wonder if we are doing what God had planned for our lives. I know I do. I often feel like I am wasting my life, not reaching my full potential, etc. I think all mother's, no matter the number of children they have, feel stretched too thin most days! I know I don't take time for myself, and I'm pretty sure most other mom's don't do a good job of it either, but I think that it is important that we try. Even if it's for an hour, only once a week! Holly, I would be glad to come by any day during my lunch break, and give you a BREAK! Just holla at a sister and let me know when...or I may just stop by and force you out ;-) Love you girl!

Lauren said...

Clicked on over to your blog from Kelly Henderson's. Love this post! Thanks for your honesty, I can relate in so many ways! Your family is just precious!

Jamie said...

Hey sweet friend! So you already know what I'm about to say. You are not missing out on anything!!! I would give my right arm, heck I'd give both of them, to have babies to come home to or stay at home with. I think you are doing exactly what God wanted you to do with your life. You are such a great mommy and wife! Whenever I tell people that I have a friend who is expecting her 6th child they all say the same thing.... and so do I... If anyone could do it it's Holly. You are an amazing person. Don't ever forget it. Love you!!

Whitney said...

Holly, you are one of the sweetest people I know and an inspiration to all who know you.
You are an awesome Momma, wife and friend. And underneath the obvious, you're a good Christian, an incredible writer, a very loyal Bloggy friend, and an all around good person! :P
I think you are doing EXACTLY what God has planned for you and you're doing an amazing job of it.
I feel better just knowing you. :)
I pray you get to feeling better soon. I know what it's like to be in a funk, and I don't even have kids.
I'm giving you an umbrella, since it seems you're having a rainy day {When-it-rains-it-pours kinda day}, but you seem like the type to stomp in the mud puddles and not care if you're getting soaked. :P {I know I'm that type...}
♥ you Holly!

Jamie Bird said...

I struggle with this exact same problem and I don't even have kids yet. I know that I have not reached my full potential, but at the same time, I don't know what my full potential is! Praying for you! :)

Mr. Know It All said...

Let's all raise a toast to your husband...who must be a special man for nurturing and supporting you through these trying times.

Mr. Know It All said...

where are you Voice of Reason? Your insight is much needed.

brookehenn said...

right there with ya, lady! okay, okay, so I don't want to be that person who says, "read such and such book because it will help you" but I just started reading a book for our Bible study called "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp. I'm only 2 chapters in and It is so relevant to life. it's one of those books that you want to tell everyone you meet about. and, I'll be praying for you, friend! oh, and thank you for being honest. we so need to be honest with each other. ~Brooke

Shannon and Andrew said...

Hang in there girl! I think we all go through it. We're tired, no exhausted, and over whelmed. Who am I? What did I even THINK about before I had kids? I know I used to be able to carry on a conversation that didn't include something about my kids. What did I talk about? I know I used to enjoy doing things I was interested in. At this point it's just peeing in quiet that is enjoyed the most.

You're a great mom and a wonderful person.

Voice of Reason said...

Mr. Know It All is right, imagine the poor husband who has to do those things and then go to a real job. Try that for the next 10 years and tell me how tired you are.

Jill, Benevolent Dictator said...

I think everyone goes through that. Except, maybe, Gwenyth Paltrow.

Caroline Armstrong said...

First of all, wow! Thanks for being so honest and sharing this. I think it is ok to be in a slump. I think it is ok to be so grateful for what you have been given but to all of a sudden feel "trapped." To wonder what/if/what could have been, etc. You have a lot of people who constantly need things from you, which is exhausting. You HAVE to find a way to have some time to yourself. Go get a pedicure, go for a walk alone, go to dinner with your husband...just something! Remember it won't be this way forever (even though the days seem endless.) I will be praying for you!

Meagan said...

Oh Holly,

I think that you have ESP or something. I feel like this A LOT, and I just have one (amazing) little girl. Sometimes I feel like I amd doing all of this work that nobody sees at home, and then trying to still have some part of myself by going to school, etc., but the world was not made for parents who choose to take care of their own children and responsibilities.

For that reason, I usually find myself becoming increasingly bitter and resentful about people who "have it easy," and wonder why it is that I am working so hard to trying to obtain something, when so many people (even within my own family) consider me to be wasting my time. I won't lie. I KNOW that God has a plan for me, but I also know that I am seriously ignorant and don't really see the full plan. What I do know is that there is a defined "path" for everyone. I know this only because we all seem to have to give up things in order to obtain others, and that isn't a bad thing. Especially in your case! You have been raising beautiful kids who will always credit you for their upbringing, but I'm sure that you have had to miss out on certain things.

Just know that you are a good person, an good people often have a hard time understanding this world and why things happen the way they do. Just keep your eye on the sky, and know that one day it will all makes sense, and that it will get better. Just don't dwell on what is or is not on your path. I've found that that is the only way I can make it through the day.



P.S. Thank you for saying this out loud. I needed this.

Lindy said...

I knew the old Holly, and I know the momma of 6, wife of Bert, maker of the best chocolate chip cookies ever, and I love them both! Maybe some things have changed, like your hours of uninterrupted sleep, or uninterrupted conversation, or what you are yelling out while on the phone such as, "get off your brother!", "put some pants on!" But your heart has not, and that is all that counts! It probably seems like you will be stuck in this stage of everyone's caregiver, but one day they will be grown and you will be a famous writer traveling the world with your best friend and think about the old Holly that had little people hugging her neck, and sitting in her lap, and pulling on her leg all at the same time. You should be proud of who you are right now, because you're one heck of a momma! Less than three!

Runnin' Mommy said...

What transparency! You put into words what I think a lot of Moms feel, for a variety of reasons. We do our same old thing, day in and day out until the accational thought of "Wow, I am MARRIED and have KIDS! Where has the time gone?" crosses our mind. That thought leads to others, before you know it you are hidden in a closet and don't want to come out. : ). In all seriousness, all God asks of us is to be clay in His hands. We are who we are but if we are willing than He uses our experiences to make us who He wants us to be. I couldn't think of a sweeter tool to shape one with than you have in your kids. As you can attest, they change us. The person you are today probably isn't the "same old you" in some ways but you ARE the same old Holly deep down that God started out with. And I love that Holly! You are beautiful inside and out. Always have been, always will be!

tarheelmom said...

I read and reread this post and also the comments...thinking of what I might say. I was trying to think of something intellectual, sensitive, insightful, and so forth, but I kept getting interrupted by my kids! I thought of what my "old self" might say to your "old self", but what would two young girls with no kids know about missing your "old self"? Then I thought what would my grandmother say...Humph...good question...I'll have to ask her myself. I think that we often miss our old life was easy with no kids and no real responsibilities...and yet was it so easy. I guess with each new stage in life we encounter new responsibilities and new challenges. Some easy and some hard. It is easy to say someday this will all be over and our kids will only come visit us and so forth, but we have to live in the now to get to that future, so hang in there. Obviously you have an awesome husband, family, and the support of friends. Breathe in and breathe out...rely on God...and this funk too shall pass. Hey and if you need to...vent obviously have a way with connecting with your friends (and readers)!
Hugs from the Tarheel family

Anonymous said...

I can totally relate to what you are saying...I am a mama to three little critters under the age of six and would not trade them and my husband for anything. But I am definitely with you in feeling that I am sooo alone in so many ways. I think women have this need for "friends" in their lives more than men...and when you are busy taking care of your kids / the house / working / etc...there is just not enough hours in the day for everything. And we mom's always put the needs of others before our own...which often means not doing the little things for ourselves any more. are not crazy and definitely not alone in what you are feeling!! May God lead all us mom's in the right direction!!

Thanks for all your posts!! :)

Katy :)

M&M said...

You are wonderful! I love you!