I have been awake for three hours (four now). I'm so used to Alexis not sleeping well that once I got her back to sleep (easily) at 2:30, I could not get back to sleep myself.
Rather than lie there feeling sorry for myself and disturbing Corey I decided to get up and go to the spare room to "spend some time with God". I'm somewhat reluctant to blog about "God stuff" in case it offends some readers, however, its a part of who I am and how I'm trying to be a good mum, so its definitely a part of my journey so it would not be right for me to leave it out. This post is not preachy though, I promise, so stay with me. It's more about how being a stay at home mum has effected what I think about.
So I got up and went to spend some time with God, which is just Christian-speak for sit or lie somewhere quiet and pray and read the bible (or a book about some aspect of Christianity), whatever really, just "alone time" but we believe God is with us. For me personally I almost always write out what is on my heart and mind at the start, what I learn, and then how I can apply it. The aim is to take what's bothering me (half the time I have to work that out too), let it go, and move on stronger and with new direction. Most often I go from "argh God I'm so confused/scared/worn out/overwhelmed/lost" and find peace, meaning, purpose. Sometimes it can also take me from "God I'm so annoyed with something/someone" to "ok, sorry I was wrong". When Corey has irritated me for a while over a disagreement I am likely to get to the point of "I'm not wrong but there's no point pushing the issue. If he doesn't agree with me I can't change his mind anyway so help me be ok with his decision." (It's uncanny how he sometimes ends up seeing things my way once I reach that point.)
Tonight I didn't really know that anything was bothering me. I just couldn't sleep, so I said, "ok God, I'm here, what do you want?" In the spare room I sighed at a pile of dirty Corey clothes, a pile of dirty tissues, an old, opened, but barely drunk water bottle."Gosh he is a pig". In finding my journal and a pen and a bible I noticed how messy, cluttered, unorganised and disgusting our study is.
The housewife in me wanted to tidy up the house. It was hard to ignore the urge. Especially because we have visitors coming this afternoon. I am ashamed of the state of my house. I knew I needed to spend some time with God though.
I got my journal and started writing. It was clear to me how much trouble I had getting focussed. I just wrote what I was thinking about. I was really fighting the urge to go clean.
From the writing, thinking, praying, reading etc, I came up with this. I feel like because I don't work outside the home everyone expects me to have the house perfect. Corey doesn't expect any such thing, he just wants clean clothes, a happy wife and a happy daughter. Far too often I'm upset by what I haven't done that I fail to deliver the "happy wife" he has requested. I don't know where this pressure has come from. Our house is always "busy", it's messy, and sometimes it is a little sticky, but apart from the toilets its never actually dirty. It's dusty in parts, yes, but it's not dangerous. It is a home that is lived in. I don't know why but sometimes I feel like a failure because I can't get it perfect. I can't stay on top of the housework, whenever I make progress somewhere I realise I've let some other area lapse. Like that time months ago when I got the whole house close to spotless but realised I had not washed any clothes to wear to my niece's dedication.
I read some of a book that I noticed Alexis has pulled three quarters of the way out of the bookshelf and it was just hanging there. It was about renewing our relationship with God, keeping it fresh. It's something we should do daily. We shouldn't get so caught up in the day to day that we forget to spend time with God, to make sure He is still with us, to make sure we are still following Him. Otherwise we can try all we want but be ineffective. We can lose sight of what's important. When God gently reminds us we are wrong we have to act on that and get rid of what hinders us.
I need to get rid of wrongfully thinking that I have to be perfect, that I have to get everything right. Then I can stop feeling the need to excuse the mess. I can rest when I need to. I can play happily with Alexis and Corey without feeling guilty, and knowing me if there is less pressure I'll start doing housework better because I want to not because "argh I have to get this done or I'm a loser".
Even if you don't believe in God you can learn something from this. It's important to take time out of our busy schedules to re-evaluate our goals, refresh our bodies, renew our minds and regain our passion. We need time to relax. After this we can refocus our energy on what's really important.
It's really easy as a stay at home mum to get lost in it all, to get caught up in the day to day grind. To let little things bother us. To get stuck in a rut. To start believing that our value is judged by how good we are at housework or how well our kids behave in public. To start treating our beloved husbands as inconveniences because, lets face it, they seem to add to our workload rather than decrease it.
We all need something that encourages us and challenges us. At times we all need to look outside ourselves, outside the confines of our homes, and realise that there are others far worse off, that we are blessed. For me, its my faith in God. When I am willing to meet him in a quiet, still place, He is there waiting. Maybe He is waiting for you?
If you think I'm talking smack (ie think religion is for idiots), thanks for sticking with this post anyway. That is very big of you. If you don't mind, I'd like to ask, what is it that keeps you going through hard times and gives you peace when nothing makes sense and helps you forgive those who hurt you? It's something I'm curious about and I'd love to hear some honest answers. 🙂