Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Where I'm Struggling

In my last post, I shared a bit about the success of my business and its incredibly promising, low-risk future. I am blessed beyond measure, and NEVER take that for granted since I am now in many single mother "circles" and hear tale after tale of financial woes, trying to make ends meet on limited child support and/or alimony, etc. I know that my education and experience working all these years has been a gift, and one that would be most needed right at this time of my life, more than ever.

{To follow up on that post, I'll be putting together some FAQ about becoming a Seller on Amazon, since it had such a big response (I had emails and messages and texts all wanting to know more, so I'll definitely do something soon to answer all of the most common questions! Stay tuned!)}

But. To tell the tale of coming out of darkness into great light would not be the complete truth.

I am struggling like nobody's business as a mom.

There is something so obviously (to me) backwards about my success as a Provider and Protector for my tiny, broken family, and my struggles to be better in the areas of simply caring for and raising my son, cleaning after him (and myself), ensuring he has the proper tools to stimulate his growing mind and spirit, educating him along the way... and these deficiencies were accentuated all the more by the Feast of the Holy Family this past Sunday, and the epic Mass failure #47. We went to the back of the freezing cold church before the processional began. And we left right before the Homily.

I know I'm being harder on myself than a) I would ever be on anybody else in my position, b) anyone else would ever be on me, and c) God Himself would be. I do. I know this. But I feel it nonetheless.

After crying at home upon our return (across the STREET, yes, that's how close the church is that I can barely ever make it to for confession), I started to really reflect, introspectively. This always gets me into trouble, as my wise Spiritual Director (you know, the one who fired me? Oh, wait. I think I only shared that on my Private Blog. OK, so, I had a Spiritual Director, and he fired me because I apparently didn't need him anymore. And there you have it.) would frequently tell me. Evidently I have a good working knowledge of morality and need to stop analyzing things to death. But do I? No. Cuz that's no fun.

So anyway, I was reflecting. And I came to the conclusion that if I were a man, I would be lauded as the Single Dad of the Century. I am not only making great, steady income, but I've managed to do it while being home with my son, spending more time with him, making childhood memories and such. And I take him to church. And I cook, most of the time. Seriously. Like, award-winning Dad material, here.

But as a Mom? No amount of relatively (now) passive income, business scaling, freeing up of debt, or saving towards a home comes close to replacing the things I feel so sharply are the missing links. The pieces that were always meant to be a part of who I was as a mother. The foundational blocks of creating the home I had envisioned for my family, regardless of how much or how little bacon 'The Dad' brought home. I was created to cook the bacon, for my family. (And to eat it. To eat lots of it.) Not to figure out a way to finance the hunting of the pig, outsource the butchering and curing, package it, go out and physically bring it home, and then cook it.  There is just simply not enough time in the day. And as much as I'd love to say, "I am woman, hear me choose to stay home and cook the bacon," there has never been anyone there to provide it. And, it turns out, I excel at providing it. But in doing so... the cooking, serving, and cleaning up after it must suffer. Beyond that... the very experience of living with and perfecting the art of cooking bacon are but a dream.

I think the "no break" thing is really getting to me. I might be able to make it through the absolute longest hour of my week (Mass) with an unruly, maniacal, demonic spirited 2 year old, if when I dropped him off back at home, I could simply say, "Ta-ta, I'm going to drive around the block for 15 minutes and yell and cry and sing along with the radio and maybe go grab a coffee, and REBOOT before I come back home to both work in and outside the home." I really do think that break, the one that married couples get, is something I sincerely am missing in my current lifestyle. Particularly since I am not off at an office, away from said 2 year old all week long.

I know I need to be gentler on myself. But I also need to balance that with a bit of harshness where it's needed. I need to stop making excuses that "things are hard" when I want to ignore the piles of clean clothes from the dryer, piling up for weeks on my couch, justifying that my time is "better spent" working on my business. I need to stop constantly equating my WORTH as Robbie's parent as the Provider, and not as the Mother. Does a 2 year old boy care if his clothes are folded neatly in drawers and wrinkle-free? Probably not. But does he intrinsically care that his mother is caring for his fundamental emotional, physical, and spiritual needs? Of course he does.

I need to find a better balance. Not really sure how...


Jocelyn said...

Just wanted to send a word of encouragement! No matter what your situation, I think it is easy for us mommas to get down on ourselves! I am speaking from experience, because I was a divorced, single working mom, then a remarried working mom, and now a stay at home mom to 5. There is always something to feel bad about, but that is the devil trying to get you down! Hang in there, you’ve got this!

In the mean time, hire a house cleaner! Hire a babysitter once or twice a week! Get some back up, because it really truly takes a village! And try to get a good night’s rest because everything is tougher when you’re tired! May God bless and strengthen you!!

Katie said...

Parenting is SO HARD. I can only imagine having to do it without another adult in the home. Prayers.

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

Jocelyn, you are so right. I need to remind myself of that, just as in infertility, the cross is never lifted completely, it may just switch out for a new one, sometimes lighter, sometimes heavier, but never completely gone.
Thank you both for the kind words and encouragement! It helps!

Kat said...

Girl you need to talk to my mama! She never intended to have to be the provider but she was and she did it well but the other stuff did suffer. That is the nature of the brokeness, a brokeness that you did not create. You are also going through a difficult time in parenting and development with a 2 year old.

My mom worked outside the home so she did get to be away from my brother and I accept for the year she was unemployed looking for work. That year she was ready to ship us off! My brother was 9 and I was 5 and she would often tell us to go play outside which I am now realizing was code for get out of my hair. I honestly don't know how my mom kept it together, but by God's grace.

If you can, hire a baby sitter or a family member to help out a couple hours a week. During those couple hours, go to confession, drive and scream, get coffee, go for a walk/run, etc. I wish I lived closer to help out. Know that you are in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

Amy! You're right about one thing - you're being way to hard on yourself. And that thought that if you were a dad you'd be single dad of the century? Honestly, you're already single mom of the century. You're an amazing woman, and a daughter of the King, which is why the enemy is hitting so hard at you lately. Don't pay any attention to him. Jesus has this one! Sending prayers for courage and strength, and patience with yourself. Merry Christmas! - Connie

Molly M. said...

I'm sorry you're feeling this way. I think we, as mothers, always feel like we're not doing enough. But, you are doing so much for you and for Robbie. You are a good mother and even though it doesn't seem like it, you are. You are an inspiration to so many, and you are a good role model for your son.

If you can, I would recommend some good self-care just for you. Even if it's just fifteen minutes here and there a couple times a day. One of the best pieces of advice I was given when I became a mom was, "What do they tell you in the airplane? Put your mask on first. You can't help your child if you are struggling with yourself."

I'm praying for you. Thank you for always being an inspiration!

Anonymous said...

You weren't "created" to stay home. It's nice that for some moms and dads,that is the plan God has. But being a woman does NOT make it wrong to work. I'm sorry you're not happy,and I'm sure it is a heavy burden to carry that no one is sharing financial responsibilities with you, but no where does the Church teach that women are created to "cook the bacon."
I don't know you,so hopefully you didn't mean it this way,but your post seemed to express the fundamentalist Christian nonsense that confuses true complementary differences between men and women with superficial, "traditional" roles. Catholics don't teach that garbage. No where in Theology of the Body will you find out beloved JPII saying that men should work and women should keep house.
Is a pervasive error, one that even wise men like C. S. Lewis have expressed,but it's a harmful one. You have enough on your plate being a single mom ; don't add unnecessary guilt.