Let me just begin by telling you (and reminding myself) how grateful I am to be a SAHM. It would tear me apart, both emotionally and physically, if I had to work a full-time (paying) job. There is nothing I would rather do than what I'm doing right now. If someone is going to mess up my kids, I want it to be me! :) But my passion about this role as SAHM is also one of the things that makes it so difficult, because I'm never able to do it as well as I intend, and often not even as well as I should. Today, the half-joking line about messing up my kids feels all too accurate.
Seriously, I'm totally overwhelmed by the fact that I'm expected to be responsible for the character development of 4 precious little people. And somewhat discouraged by the awareness that my own spiritual health is a huge indicator of how well I will do that.
Because I am fed up. Spent. At the end of my rope. I feel like every day I face a list of about 30 hours worth responsibilities to handle in a 24-hour day. And every day I start with the greatest intentions to control my tone of voice, do first things first, catch up on the "musts" so I can get to the "shoulds," the "I'd really like to's" and maybe even some of the "wouldn't that be fun's!"
And every day I lose my patience (usually before the kids are even out the door for school!), finish maybe 10% of what needs to be done so I start the next day even further behind, and seldom figure out in the midst of that how to squeeze in the spontaneous and fun things to make our family life more joyful.
If I weren't too vain, I'd post a picture of what my home looks like right now.... Fruity Pebbles crunched on the floor from the breakfast spill, counters crusted with drips from yesterday's meal group cooking and this morning's milk spills, laundry everywhere in piles and baskets and overflowing hampers... I could go on and on. Some days that list just feels like my reality and I can just live in the midst of it, completing small jobs one by one as time with the baby allows. But today it really just makes me feel like crying.
I find that I hit this overwhelmed point at 2 recurring times:
1) When things come up that really NEED doing, things that are important, urgent, or just really valuable and have time constraints on them. Things that I care about and feel called to do. Things that can't keep being pushed back from one day's "to do" list to the next. And I simply don't have time to do them, and feel like I have no one to help pick up the slack so I can without feeling further overwhelmed by the day to day.
2) When I attempt to bring greater self-discipline into my own life and behavior. No matter how early I get up, one child or another seems to wake up earlier. No matter how intentional I am about asking God to order my day, I end the day feeling like important things are being left undone. No matter how determined I am to get enough sleep so I can be as patient and gracious as I wish to be, I find myself awake into the wee hours of the morning trying to finish the "musts" for the day.
Yes, I know all the right questions to ask about why I'm feeling like this. What are my expectations? Why? What are God's? What is truly important? What do I need to let go of? What selfishness or other sin plays into these feelings? How is the Enemy trying to steal my joy?
But some days, even those questions are enough to wear me out. Some days, just putting one foot in front of the other (or one load of laundry in after the other) is all I can handle.