Thursday, March 3, 2011

Being a mom is, really hard.

While Jayme is experiencing all of the physical and emotional difficulties of a new baby (breastfeeding, sleepless nights, endless crying), I'm starting to feel the...existential (spiritual) and financial ones.

I've always thought way too far ahead, been too emotional and an overanalyzer.  These tools can be helpful at times, but as a mom, they can be paralyzing.  I want Aurora's life to be easier than mine was growing up...not that I didn't have wonderful parents, but we struggled.  A lot.

I know money isn't everything, but it seems so hard to make life better for Aurora.  Just yesterday, I was on the phone with three (yes, 3) loan companies, trying to figure out my student debt (my parents couldn't afford to pay for college, so I made my way with scholarships, loans, and a part time job; however, I made the mistake of going to grad school all on my own).  I'm working part time at a job that shall not be named because I hate it.  I love our Etsy shops and blogs, but the way the market is, they're not enough to make a living wage.  And even with this part-time job, I'm not making enough to put money away in a college fund, or even pay those college loans (I'm in deferment). I'm able to work from home, which is a huge blessing since the cost of childcare in the DC area is prohibitive (even if I worked full time).

I am doing the best I can, but sometimes it doesn't seem like enough.  I want to give Aurora everything.  I know it's enough to give her all of my love and a stable home where she feels safe and protected, but in the world we live in, it just doesn't feel like enough.

Here's the other hard part about being a mom:  I want to be happy in my life outside of motherhood.

Nothing brings me more joy than Aurora.  So desperately wanting to work a job I love seems a little selfish at times.  I'm able to be at home with her--why am I always complaining and stressed out?  It's because I'm not feeling fulfilled creatively.  I'm not being inspired.  I'm being drained, drop by drop, by a company who could care less about me and my family.  I'm marginally using my degree, but not in the way I intended.  I want to be writing creatively, not grading utterly uncreative essays.  I want to be out meeting people and forming relationships, not isolated at the computer for hours a day.  I want to be my own boss.  I want to do what I love.  But it's hard to take that risk.

When I had two months away from that awful job to devote myself to Miskabelle and Miskabelly, I was much happier. Even the most mundane tasks were enjoyable to me.  We had our best month of sales ever.  But now, that business has to take a back seat.  And I miss it.

I am blessed to have a job, I know.  I am blessed that my husband has a good job.  We have a house.  We have working heat and running water and two cars and health insurance. But we're still just scraping by.  All of my idealistic college dreams, of how life would be better for me and my children...they're just not a reality.  Things are different, yes.  But there are no bootstraps anywhere that I can see. And I know it's worse for so many, and that's an additional burden on my heart and mind.

It's time like these that I'm reminded why I believe in God, in a different realm, in a better place...this can't be it.  There has to be more.  I need something to cling to because the world is just not doing it.  Which reminds me of a powerful C.S. Lewis quote: “If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” (The idea was made into a song by Brooke Fraser, who I love. I posted it at the end, if you want to have a listen.  You should check her music out regardless of your beliefs because she is amazing.)

Maybe that's what I'm feeling. That, and a lot of stress.  I'm so thankful I have a loving and supportive husband and family in this world.  But I'm always longing for more--and not just for me, but for everyone in my life: more love, more joy, more satisfaction, more time, more energy, more faith.  If I am successful at anything as a mom, I hope that Aurora will feel the same way.  I hope she'll have faith and hope and love.  

That's my mental and heart space right now.  Where are you at, moms of this world?  Striving? Struggling? Satisfied?



Happy Day Vintage said...

I have felt this way many many times, I think all moms have. Hang in there, you're in the thick of it now. As your children get older things will get easier. My babies are 5 and 3. Just this last year has gotten so much easier - I'm finally finding some time for me. Thanks for the post!

Cara said...

You truly have a gift for words... inspiring and even brought a little tear (in a good way!).

Take it a day at a time, stay focused on the important things (those important things including you) and continue to have faith.


Brooke LaBouve said...

I just posted a link to this on my blog! Struggles are a plenty these days! I just have to remember that my mission is motherhood and I'm serving the Lord while loving and raising my children. It takes a lot of prayer to get joy out of everyday tasks! Keep up your good work!

Miskabelle/Miskabelly said...

Thank you, lovely mamas, for all of the's good to know I'm not the only one, and good to know that people are reading.


John@baby shoes said...

All you can do is your best. There are other ways to get qualifications. College isn't the only way!