I’ve been feeling rather depressed lately. Really I think a big part of the problem is sleep deprivation. The night-owl husband often keeps me up rather late, the little girl keeps me up through the night, and the little boy has me up rather early. I’ve discovered my family is actually one of those 60s cults that deprive their members of sleep and restrict bathroom privileges. Help!
In seriousness, I know periods of little sleep are sometimes just an occupational hazard of early motherhood. I am trying to do better about getting to bed earlier and not feel guilty about taking naps if I have the opportunity. That touches on my other, more serious problem. Feeling discouraged and guilty that I need more rest in the first place. And I do need it, I must confess. Every time I try to deny my body’s needs I end up crashing. We did the mastitis thing over the weekend again. Yuck.
You see, I do this thing where I compare myself to other mothers. I realized in prayer this morning that I’ve been trying to compete with absolutely everyone I know. If Jane can do X, then I feel like I should be able to do X too or I lose. (Anne doesn’t take naps! Emily doesn’t ask her husband to do the grocery shopping!) There’s a poisonous pride working in me that I didn’t realize, making me feel discouraged by the very women who would give me encouragement and help. Lest any of you reading feel awkward, by the grace of God I have been spared feeling jealous of other women's apparent superiority. I don't hate you for being better than me, I just wonder how you manage to be so awesome.
This post might just reveal me as totally lame and insecure to boot. I probably am. I sure feel it! But I think I need to blog about it because I KNOW I’m not the only one. And also reading mom blogs can be a great way to fuel that insecurity, so a little perspective would probably be a good thing to have out in internet-land. Generally I severely edit which parts of my life make it onto this blog. You won’t see me posting my deepest, darkest secrets. Mostly just fluff about some pretty thing I made or yummy thing I cooked or cute things my kids do. If all anyone knows of me is my blog, that’s not the full story. Same goes for everyone else. Also in real life, we generally don’t let everyone know everything, nor should we. The obvious conclusion is just because I’m not doing what someone else is, doesn’t really give me enough information to compare myself to her.
The whole above paragraph actually doesn’t matter, because I shouldn’t be trying to compare myself to other mothers at all! Ryan tells me this all the time. He’s right of course. But it’s so natural to do it! I want to know if I’m doing a good job. I’ve been so conditioned through school to gauge my performance by everyone else’s. (Class rank, grade on the curve type stuff.) If I got a bad grade, it was softened if half the class failed, too. Also, I got used to always being at the top of the curve and getting straight A’s. I’m not on the Dean’s List for Mommy University. I don’t have constant affirmation from 100% on every weekly task. Boo-hoo. In my head I often unconsciously translate things in to grades. I got 7/10 things done on my list today. C- for me. Anthony was defiant and I completely failed at not escalating that particular situation. F! I also tend to take the “A” moments for granted, as just doing what’s expected. No wonder I’m so discouraged.
I have to internalize that only one Person is “grading” me. And He has a completely different rubric : He asks for faithfulness, not success. What matters is that I sincerely do my best to do His Will at every moment. Accept my weakness, so that I can accept His strength. What prompted me this morning was a line in Abandonment to Divine Providence that said that the thoughts that distract us in prayer reveal what we value above God, what we are not entrusting to Him. I have to surrender my vocation to Him once again, because I simply cannot do it on my own. I must come to rely on His grace, but first I must truly believe that His grace is sufficient for me. This all sounds like platitudes. But it really is true, I know it. Maybe I could write about it better if I were actually doing it. Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.
Forgive me if this post is rambly and not that fabulous. I haven't slept much lately.