My husband came home early this week with alarm all over his face. The cause? The sultry scent of Banquet chicken drifting down the front walk. This chicken, while quite tasty, is not what you would call healthy, and I usually avoid processed food, especially since one child has an intolerance for hydrogenated oil. Grant said to me later, "I knew it must have been a rough day if you were making that chicken." And so it was.
The first part of this week was terrible. My children were challenging (even the one who can't talk!), and I was extremely irritable. Unreasonable anger is the postpartum depression symptom that plagues me the most. And right on the heels of anger is usually guilt. My children are good kids. (We have a new neighbor and she told me, "your kids can come over any time because they are so polite and so well behaved. I'm hoping they will rub off on my kids." Can you get a better compliment than that??) They need and deserve a mother who will guide them and teach them, not snap at them and spew frustrated words all over when they make a mistake. Oh the guilt!
As Monday wore on, I could feel the anger-guilt spiral running me (all four of us) into the ground, so I started going through my mental list of how to take care of myself. First, I did what all good modern mothers do, and
So then I thought I'd try to get a project completed. I have several creative endeavors going on pretty much all the time, and I thought, maybe if I could just finish one thing, that would give me enough of a boost to get out of my tailspin. I pulled out my Gorilla glue and started working on a project. 35 seconds later, I realized it was going to need to dry before I could do anything else, so I went looking for another project but instead found Ava and Wyatt grating sidewalk chalk into "fairy dust" with their fingernails and Charlotte doing the same with her teeth. Fail.
Obviously leaving my children unattended for even a second was not going to work, so I let them watch a show on tv while I sat and tried to read a book right next to them. They certainly were closely supervised, but the baby crawled all over me and tried to eat my book while Wyatt squashed up against my other side and complained about having to watch My Little Ponies again. FAIL.
In fact, the only moment of peace I felt that whole day was when In Christ Alone came on my Pandora station. Ahh. I am not alone. And why do I look everywhere else for comfort and relief instead of lifting my eyes?
The rest of the day, and the next few days after, went about the same. I felt like I was doing everything I could to take care of myself and keep the kids in line. The children did go easier on me, but I still felt frantic and agitated inside, and even my David-esque prayers did not really bring me relief. It's hard to explain. Nothing was "wrong" with me, but I felt completely fractured inside and just wanted to sit very still in a dark room. With chocolate of course.
|Something I actually did finish last week for Charlotte's room.|
Inspired by this pinned Etsy project.
I've written some brash words lately about hope and authenticity and keepin' on keepin' on. When we are real, we give other people freedom to be real, I believe that. But I also think there's a fine line between being authentic about how life is going for you, and being annoying as heck by announcing every little pebble that comes across your path. I solemnly swear not to make a PSA every time I have a bad day, but I did want to follow up my previous posts by saying this: it's never perfect but hang in there. To myself as much as anyone. It seems like just when you get things moving in the right direction, something smacks you back down again, and the journey is figuring out how to live with grace and hope in difficulty, in struggle, in want, in deep sadness. And sometimes the answer is just "hang on." For me, this week, I could find nothing to really ease the turmoil going on inside of me, and I had to just ride it out. Grant myself extra space to fall apart, not wear makeup or clean the kitchen, reach out to friends, let the kids watch extra tv, make dinner from a freezer box, and (as my friend says) know that I will eventually be on the upward swing of the spiral. It's a good time to look back over your shoulder too (check for bears?) and remember all the sweetness of days past:
Even though true things are true no matter what, we can’t expect our feelings to always be following along with them. So we embrace the gifts of the good days when our loves are in line and our hearts feel full. We stuff those graces down deep into our pockets, so when the days get heavy and the wind blows strong, those gifts sit safe close to skin and the fabric of our jeans, pocketed for a time we need to remember.
Emily, Chatting at the Sky