Monday, April 6, 2009

The Spring of my Discontent

I have always been my toughest critic. I don't know if this comes with the territory of being the first born, but I constantly dissect everything I do, say and think until I'm on the brink of insanity. I over-think and over-analyze. In my eyes, I am perpetually doomed to fall short. So, it's no surprise to me that my skills as a mother would fall under this self-deprecating umbrella.

I love being a mom, but I had this unrealistic fantasy that my Martha Stewart gene would kick in upon the arrival of this little guy. I would all of the sudden be able to knit afghans out of the lint in the dryer and cook the perfect 5 course dinner and make ornaments out of my trash so as to be "green". I would know what to do every time my child cried and I would read him Shakespeare every night so that he would inevitably become the future poet laureate. Any selfish desire or thought would disappear as my whole world would be devoted to Eli and Ben. And I would do this all while looking fabulous.

Life, however, has other plans. I shower every other day and have even gone so long that my husband confused my greasy hair with wet hair. I wear sweatpants every day, my eyebrows are starting to look like Peter Gallagher's and my house looks like it's competing for some sort of home-makeover show. Most importantly, every day I scrutinize my parenting skills convinced that I've already given Eli plenty of ammunition for his future therapy sessions.

I've convinced myself that I'm this horrible mother not fit to watch a goldfish. I don't know what to do every time he cries. I've failed at breastfeeding. I've given my child (GASP)formula (my name is presently being put on LaLeche League's hit list). I have let him cry a minute or two before getting out of bed to feed him because I just want to sleep. I don't read him Shakespeare and I'm pretty sure he already has the theme song to Gilmore Girls memorized. I watch t.v. while I'm feeding him. I listen to non-kid music while he's in the car. I've let his laundry pile up. I look forward to alone time. I feel ashamed to share this with other moms because I feel that I alone am the only mother who falls so short. I read these momblogs and compare my own shortcomings with these fabulous mothers and look at my child apologetically.

Then I read this blog today and felt relieved. There are moms out there who feel this way. It's nice to know that I'm not alone, that I should be honest with who I am. God saw fit to give us this amazing blessing. I just have to trust Him and know that I'm not going to be Claire Huxtable all the time (or ever...she was just so fabulous). I love this little guy more than words can say and work hard to show him this everyday. I think that's all I can ask of myself.

(pic thanks to Sara)


Sara Luke said...

This might be offensive (though I'm not sure how) because I think Crystal deleted the comment when I left it on her blog, but comparison is really the enemy of contentment and gratitude. Even when it comes to motherhood. It's such a slippery slope.

Jeanette said...

No offense...this is one of my biggest struggles that I have to work through's tough, I know.

Anonymous said...

thank you for this post. as mothers, we all struggle. some cope by hiding their struggles. others have the courage to share their fears. thank you for your honesty and for saying what ALL mothers feel at some (or many) points throughout the day.

hashifa vachoo said...

it's OK Jeanette! I've done so many things that I said I would never do like let Jonah watch TV, let him watch DVDs IN THE CAR!! Oh ya and I totally gave him formula. That one was tough but you know what? All that baby needs is to feel safe and know he can trust you and that is it.

rachel said...

Oh my gosh; you are totally your biggest critic - I think you're fabulous & Eli is so lucky to have you as his mom. Love you!

Anonymous said...

Well, Jeanette, if you only knew how many times I've asked myself when you all were struggling with one thing or another, "where did I go wrong?" And, then, of course, when things go well, it's all about God getting the glory. Mom is screwed no matter what.

God does get the Glory, though. And Eli is blessed to have you as a mom. I've watched you with him and feel guilty because I'm not sure I was that good with you!! Despite me, you are marvelous. Just think how marvelous Eli will be. YMWLY