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Joy

April 15th, 2009

Every Wednesday, I meet with three friends (and our collective 6 preschoolers) to have coffee and work through a Bible study together.   This week’s lesson focused on Joy.   Actually, it was last week’s lesson, but none of us could get into the “joy thing” last week, so we agreed to revisit it this week.

Let me start by saying that we are all very blessed in many ways: though none of us are rich, none of us are really struggling financially; we all have healthy children and handsome and kind husbands; we all have nice houses and cars; we are all good looking.   Ok, that last one was a joke, but you get the picture.   Bottom line – we all have great lives, and certainly nothing to complain about (other than one woman who’s primary marital issue is that her husband won’t put his own socks away).  

But when tasked with studying and discussing   Joy, we were kind of stumped.   Yeah, we’re happy.   Yes, we have joyful times and great lives and lots of fun and funny friends.   But all four of us are stuck in a place called The Everyday.   Everyday as in, “Didn’t I clean this mess up yesterday?”   “Is there really still more laundry to fold?”   “How many times can I read this book before my eyes pop out in self defense??”

I even hesitate to write this, for fear of sounding like a spoiled brat.   I love staying home with my kids.   In fact, the very thought of “going back to work” sends  chills down my spine.   I couldn’t do anything but what I’m doing now, and I savor the priviledge it is to raise my kids and run my household.   But what is it about getting buried in the mundane of the everyday that seems to  leak the joy out of life sometimes?   Maybe it’s the very act of living for your kids (and husband, though let’s face it – he does get the smalled piece of the Mama pie, right?) that sucks the individualism out of your own life.

Some days I feel zest and zeal for what I do, and others I wonder how in the world I’m going to make it to dinner time.   Sometimes I revel in the opportunity to witness daily triumphs like first steps and learning to read, and other days I wallow in the boredom of  folding socks  and washing dishes.   Is that ok to admit as a Mommy?

Tell me your thoughts!

5 Comments »

  1. Emily M says

    It’s definitely OK to admit to boredom. That’s real and authentic, and we owe it to ourselves to be honest about what we feel. I have been mostly at home with my children (I’ve had a few part-time jobs and got a master’s degree, but I’ve never had a 40-hour/week job since my oldest was born), and I often find myself wishing for something to break the monotony (hence part-time jobs and grad school). What I’ve found is not that the monotony of laundry, cleaning, driving to sports, etc., lessens; it opens the door to joy that I never would have felt. I felt real joy the other day when I was able to let the kids play outside for the first time in months, and I mean honest-to-goodness, skip-up-and-down-the-driveway, laugh-until-I’m-giddy joy. Those moments might not happen every day, but they happen at least as often as they would if I were doing anything else.

    As for individualism, I really came into my own only after becoming a mother. That’s the only lens through which I can look at life and have it make sense. I do miss some of the parts of me that have been put on hold for now, but I have faith that time will roll things back around eventually. I’m sure it will for you and your friends, too.

    April 15th, 2009 | #

  2. Colleen says

    I am fortunate enough to work from home and be with my kids. That said, I too sometimes get caught up in the monotony of tasks that never seem to end. Do you ever feel so behind that you can’t enjoy what is happening in front of you? That is how I’ve been and I am trying very hard to break that pattern. I’ve been enjoying a blog on realsimple.com called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Check it out when you have time. Her tip yesterday was about being a happier parent. I am going to print it out and hang a copy where I can frequently see it. The best part of life is having the chance to try to do better the next day. Finding joy sounds like something that will benefit not only our children but others around us. Good luck to all of us.

    April 16th, 2009 | #

  3. Debbie says

    I feel very similar to you at times. I have been staying home since my last trimester with my now 4 1/2 year old. I would not change my life for ANYTHING….yet there are days when I just wait for bedtime. It is in those moments I try to stop and just be present. Yesterday was one of those days. I felt like between the two kids and all the house stuff I could not do it all. Then I stopped and watched them play. I then jumped in and started tickling, laughing and playing. It was a small moment, but it touched all of us.

    I think that as a mommy we NEED to admit when things are not perfect. If we don’t we are not being true to ourselves and are doing a disservice to everyone. No one can love every moment of everyday with the same passion. It takes ups and downs to appreciate the amazing moments. Even though we are “supermoms” we are still human. I think admitting that helps us, our children, our familes and anyone else who we can influence.

    Thank you for being honest with us. I think by you saying how you feel it may help other moms out there know it is okay to admit it themselves. Hope you find some amazing moments of JOY today! 🙂

    April 16th, 2009 | #

  4. Jenny says

    I wanted to post last night, but… shocker… I was chasing the little one who’s just learned to do the army crawl! Who knew how fast they could go… I can’t tell you how much I appreciated you posting this. Just this past weekend I found my husband spending time with family and doing a few things that he really enjoyed while I took care of the dressing, feeding, tending, and napping of our 8 month old. I began to cry and felt this horrible pang of guilt. In talking through it with my mom I realized that I missed doing some of the stuff that doesn’t involve my daughter. But, I felt guilty in saying that I was bored with doing the everyday things with her. I guess it’s time to find the balance, but then I feel like I’m going to miss out on the first time she crawls, or pulls herself up, drinks from her sippy by herself, or so many other firsts that are yet to come. Oye, I guess I realize now what my mom was saying when she said, “It doesn’t matter what you do as a mom, you’re going to feel guilty about something.” Thanks for posting and letting me know that I’m not the only mom who feels bored with the everyday sometimes.

    April 16th, 2009 | #

  5. Kris says

    I let my children be my joy. They are the ones I hoped and prayed for. They are the ones that make me who I am. They complete me. Yes, I am a totally different person now than before I had kids, but I am who I want to be. I thank God for them so often. I am so thankful for their health, while so many families struggle with issues. I am in awe of them, and the fact that they are mine. Staying home with them, and watching them grow is most precious.

    Some days may seem monotonous (especially this time of year, but spring is coming!), but consider that maintenance in the grand scheme of things. Some days are very difficult to get through, but I step back and count my blessings. There is nothing more awesome that seeing life through the eyes of a child. Take a deep breath, and let your kids bring you joy.

    April 16th, 2009 | #

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