I stated following the Cafemom page on Facebook, thinking that it was a Christian page. Not long after I started following I realized that it was not, but the articles they post are interesting. Some are out there, but then there are some that are relevant.
This is an article that I read earlier this morning, titled “I Hate Being a Mom.” Needless to say the title grabbed me and I read the article and the comments that followed. While I should not have been surprised. many of the comments were down right hateful. There were a handful of sympathetic mothers that may not have completely agreed w/ her words, but could somewhat identify w/ the feelings behind what the mother said.
Here is the post:
“I am a 41 year old married mother of 2. I knew having kids would be a big change but in no way did I know just how much so. I love my children but I am so unhappy. There is no time for me anymore. I have lost myself. I used to be a person and now I feel like nothing. The children suck the life out of us. Nobody tells you how awful it is. I see how my husband changed and how our relationship changed but now I see how I changed too. There is no romance. We are too tired from homework and cleaning and fighting and having to do everything for the children all the time. We used to go to plays and museums. We used to have vacations and long talks. We used to not worry so much about money. We used to sleep in on weekends. We used to take care of our appearances and we used to enjoy life. Now we don’t do any of that anymore. I am this cranky tired b**** all the time. I hate myself. I hate him. I hate my life. I feel trapped. I would give anything to like myself and be happy again.”
My first reaction was “how sad.” Next, I wondered if her children know how she feels and how is affecting them. Last, does she have a close circle of friends or a church family and if so where in the world have they been? This is not something that happens over night and I am sure those who know her best have seen a change in her over time. I will also admit that I thought that this mother needs professional help to assist her in several areas.
Most of us, if we are honest, will admit that our children are true blessings from the Lord, but we all have nights where we watch the clock and count down to the time the kids can go to bed and maybe, will even try to figure out how early they can go down w/ out it really throwing off their schedules. We also count down the weeks, days and maybe even the hours when nana/ grandma or a babysitter will show up at the house and take over so that we can run out w/ our spouses for some much needed adult time. Hopefully, this is not an every day occurrence, but if it is, please seek out people who may be able to help.
There were many mothers who shared that it is not always in the budget to hire a sitter and get out of the house for a couple of hours and I totally understand that! Let me share what my husband and I have done when the budget gets tight:
1) Feed and put the kids to bed (maybe slightly earlier than normal).
2) Cook together! This can be an incredibly fun and romantic activity.
3)Set a nice table w/ candles and cloth place-mats instead of Disney Princesses or Micky Mouse like in our house.
4) Either curl up on the couch or in your bed to watch a movie together. You will be surprised how spontaneity may take over at this point.
5) My husband and I also enjoying sitting outside and talking. (We have portable phones that can act as baby monitors so that we can still keep an ear out for the kids).
It takes some planning and some work, but home dates can work!!!
Find a hobby or something else that you enjoy doing. If you have the budget that allows you to join a gym, take a dance class, an art class, music class or whatever else you enjoy doing, then do it. It may be that you have a genre of books you enjoy reading. (If you look at my bookshelves, you will quickly learn that I have an interest in all things Amish). I also enjoy “escaping” by watching movies. Try to carve out a time a couple of days a week where you can find the “me” time to do it. All of our schedules are different, so find what works for you.
Find a way to have a Girl’s Night Out once every couple of months. It may be that you have a family member come watch the kids or you drop the kids at their house. I know several people who take turns watching the kids so that 1) The babysitting is free and 2) It allows couples/ parents to have the time they need to connect w/ others.
There may be times when life becomes so totally overwhelming that you may begin to feel like the mother in the article above. Please do NOT let it get to that extreme before you seek help. It may be that you first go to a close friend and share your feelings or you may need to share w/ a minister in your church, but please speak up before it’s too late.
When you start to become frustrated w/ your kids, take a mommy time out. This may be a simple as putting in a movie you know the kids will sit and watch and you go to the kitchen grab a glass of sweet tea or a Coke and maybe eat a cookie or two. (No, I don’t think we should use the tv and food all of the time, but every now and then it really is ok). If it’s possible, have your spouse watch the kids while you go and hide in your room for a little while. Both of these methods are free and can be done w/ out leaving children alone for long periods of time. Putting kids to bed early may also help if it is pushing that time. I also encourage you to list the things that you love about your children. This small act puts your frustration back into perspective.
Some of the other things that went through my head while reading this article is where the Church Big “C” has failed to come alongside couples and families. Most girls spend so much time planning the wedding, while guys spend little to no time and planning for the marriage doesn’t really happen. Couples need to be taught how to continue dating through the marriage. They need to learn time management and how to balance marriage, kids, extended family, friends, work, church and other responsibilities. None of this is easy, but we do a lousy job of assisting couples and getting them started on the right foot. Most churches offer a couple of premarital counseling sessions and then wish them good luck as they prepare to walk down the isle. Then, as soon as the honeymoon period ends and reality hits many couples are left to wonder “what do we do now?” If they are struggling, they certainly won’t admit it out loud in church, b/c Christians aren’t supposed to struggle to so asking for help becomes a huge hurdle rather than something that should come naturally.
Is it any wonder that the divorce rate is so high among Christians? Sadly, Southern Baptists have the highest divorce rate among Protestant denominations. There are so many resources are out there, but many couples have no idea how to access them and because of the feeling that they have to be perfect, opening up and asking for help and asking for resources is a huge deal.
There are so many more issues to be addressed in the article above, but I will stop here for the moment and pick up w/ part B at a later time. In the meantime, seek out “me” time and more importantly seek out time for you and your marriage.