The stress and pressure of being the ‘perfect’ mother & wife

Posted On April 22, 2011

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I have a few minutes this morning while Nate is still snuggled in bed, the older 2 are cleaning up the toys in the den and I am sitting with my feet up and a ThermaCare heat wrap on my aching lower back/hip area to write about something that has been on my mind lately.

The stress and pressure that, we as moms, put on ourselves. ūüė¶

I ran into a mama the other day and for the 2nd time in a row she mentioned how ‘Daddy’ was upset with her and the kids because the house isn’t cleaned. With tears in her eyes she looked away and whispered (almost to herself) “If I could *just* get the house in order…”

My heart breaks for this mama. She does so much for her children. They are all smart (she’s a homeschooling mama, of course), they each have a helpers heart, and the level of respect that each child shows is well beyond their years. ¬†You can tell that her children’s needs are being met and she’s doing a great job of raising them. Why can’t that *just* be enough?

I’m blessed with a wonderful husband who supports me through everything. When he comes home from work (well, school) he drops his bags at the door and rushes to greet me and the kids with hugs and kisses. The next words out of his mouth are usually “what can I do to help”. He doesn’t make me feel bad that my laundry sits in the corner unfolded, or the sweeper sits in the middle of the floor un-run with the attachments and hoses all around it (this is how Trey vacuums…there is very little vacuuming going on). He doesn’t care if the dishes are piling up or that there are dog goobers on the patio door from wet noses. He knows that the kids and the house and the schooling is A LOT to take on for one person.

And yet, I still feel like I’ve failed on those days. I hate the days when Nick comes home and I wasn’t able to get it all done. In my mind I’m the one who chose to stay home and take care of the chores, the kids, the schooling….he goes to school (and there have been years where he worked 40 hours plus and STILL went to school full time) to provide for us. He studies hard and for hours at a time, when he walks through the door I want him to be able to sit down for dinner and not worry about the house cleaning.

Yesterday I had (in my mind) a ‘bad’ day. I was trying to run circles around the kids to clean the house and scrub the carpets. Every time I got one room cleaned they would run into that room and tear it up. My breaking point came when my beautiful 6 year old volunteered to give the baby a bath. In theory, this sounded WONDERFUL! I could fold some laundry in the next room while Grace fills the tub up with a little water and she and Trey hang out tub side to play with Nate. I think the moment lasted for 5 minutes. Grace yelled “Mom! Trey poured the shampoo out on the floor!” And sure enough, he did. I took away his tickets for the day (we practice Accountable Kids…) and sent him to his room after he cleaned up the mess (which was all over a towel, so clean up wasn’t t0o bad). I was upset that the 2 day old bottle of shampoo was gone (I had lost ¬†2 other ¬†bottles earlier in the month in the same way). I scooped Nate out of the tub and laid him on the bed and grabbed the baby powder for his little bottom when I heard Grace cry. I went running (AGAIN) to find that Trey had found a toy and (being mad that his sister told on him) threw it at Grace when she walked into the room. Without having tickets to take away from Trey he got a quick¬†whack¬†on the bottom and got 5 more minutes on the bed. In those few seconds, maybe a minute or two, Nate managed to open the baby powder on my bed and poured it all over my new bedspread and clean clothes that I was folding. (AHHHHH) By the time I got every thing straightened up I came downstairs to find the dogs had fought over their food and I had to clean that up as well. I quit. I called Nick and told him that I was coming to get him and that he would be taking us out to dinner and to the container store. I showered and reached for my jeans….and found out where Nate hid his dirty, poopy diaper. ūüė¶ I raced them downstairs to the laundry room where I found Grace’s ¬†foam pillow (I had washed the cover that morning so the pillow itself was in the laundry room) torn to SHREDS. Double ūüė¶ Trey thought the foam felt ‘neat’ to rip up….why not?

I left the house (kids in tow) and met up with Nicholas. Being away from the house and the chaos I had left behind felt great! And when we came home he thought the house looked¬†fantastic¬†and quietly went around loading up the ‘garbage’ that I had left (empty shampoo bottle, ripped up pillow, pile of dog food) and took it to the trash bin.

I felt like a failure for the day. But my husband didn’t see it that way. I had accomplished A LOT yesterday. Regardless if it got ALL done. I did what I could and that made him happy.

Today, my plan is to try that. I’m going to do what I can and just be happy about it. Maybe I won’t get to everything on my list (cleaning out closets, washing clothes and bedsheets and prepping Easter Dinner) but I will have a good day and I won’t be hard on myself. In fact, this morning my only goal is to get out of the house and see our friends. We’ve been rushing around all month long and haven’t taken the time to enjoy the friends and support that God has blessed us with.

I pray that each of you moms also take some time today to just enjoy your kids and to be happy (and content) with your own achievements. We don’t have to be super mom every day. God created us with flaws and imperfections for a reason.

When Nick comes home to find my basket of laundry still sitting at the bottom of the steps where he left it for me, I won’t feel bad. I did the best I could today.

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