By MelodyGross | Category: The Journey of Motherhood | Posted Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Some days I get into a funk. I really try to stay positive. Patient. Happy. Kind. Loving. Joyful. You know, all those ‘good’ things we mommas strive to be. But some days, those attributes feel all but lost. One day not long ago, I found myself in this place. I was miserable. And in turn, I was making everybody else miserable.
In a strange moment of clarity I looked out and saw my kids in the pool full of bubbles, and I wanted nothing more than to join them. And so…I did! And you know what!? That funk I was in became all but an ugly memory. I mean seriously, how can one stay crabby when they are covered in bubbles? The delight in the eyes of my children was priceless. In that moment, I realized how often I inadvertently avoid entering the world of my children, while I try so desperately to manage the chaos of my own.
But now I’m wondering? Maybe I have it all backward? Perhaps I should be working less and playing more? Because when I emerged from that pool, all the things that seemed so hopeless only moments before, suddenly seemed so trivial. Maybe my kids are onto something?
Maybe it was the bubbles. Maybe it was the giggles of delight from my children. Maybe it was the fact that I finally let go of all that was fighting so fiercely to grab hold of me. Whatever it was…I want more of it! So if you ever stop by and you find me covered in bubble…you’ll know why : )
By MelodyGross | Category: Creating a Home, Organize Me!, The Journey of Motherhood | Posted Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Back in the day when I had just two kiddos and a 700 square foot house, my home was super clean. To the point of being annoying to others, I am sure : ) I was very much ‘Type A’ and that definitely came through in my housekeeping. I cleaned my entire house once a week. Top to bottom. Rain or shine.
Fast forward to present time. We’ve added another little one to the mix, and have relocated to a home more than twice the size of our cozy, little, cottage. And while I am still ‘Type A’ in many ways, the size of our house and the number of small people have won out over my love of a clean home.
I am an all or nothing kinda gal. If I can’t enjoy a perfectly clean home then why even bother. Plus it’s going to be dirty again in 7 seconds anyway. So these days I really only clean something when I can’t stand it anymore. Or when company comes over. And believe me, I avoid that at all cost : ) So yes, this means my toilets get scrubbed when mold starts to grow. My mirrors get cleaned when I can no longer see through the hundreds of tiny fingerprints. And my floor gets mopped when my feet begin sticking to the linoleum as I pass through the kitchen. Surely there has to be a middle ground. But truly, most day it’s all I can do to get 3 meals on the table, and stay on top of the laundry and the dishes.
I read a quote from a fellow blogger, months ago that resonated in my heart. The quote was this, “I am not a full time housekeeper with a part time job as a babysitter.” Such a simple statement, but it so succinctly puts her priorities into place. That is how I want to view my job as a mom. But I can tell you that there many times when I value getting the laundry done over spending time with my children.
And the truth of the matter is there are things that just have to get done. Our kids have to eat. Dirty clothes won’t wash themselves. And mold in the toilet is just disgusting : ) So how does one reconcile the deficit between these two needs? Our children need to be our top priority. Absolutely. There’s no disputing that. But the other part of our jobs as ‘mom’ is keeping our home. So how does one do both well?
So fellow mommas, I’m asking you. What do you do? Are you super organized in your housekeeping? Do you have a schedule? Do you try to tackle one room a day? Do you have a certain day you clean? Or maybe you’re in my camp and your bathrooms have turned into a science experiment…please, please tell me I’m not alone! Let’s talk. Maybe we can help each other out!
By MelodyGross | Category: Pursuing God, The Journey of Motherhood | Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Her phone number sat in my inbox for three weeks. Every time I’d check my e-mail, I’d get that feeling in the pit of my stomach, knowing I needed to call. Remembering why I had asked my friend for her number in the first place. I made excuses as to why I hadn’t called yet. But the truth was, I didn’t want to. I didn’t want this to be yet another challenging part of my current reality. When I finally got up the courage to call her, I made an appointment for that evening. Knowing that if I didn’t go that very day, I wouldn’t follow through. But on that rainy Wednesday evening, the strength I needed was there.
I settled into the couch in her office. She asked a simple question, “Why are you here?” I swallowed hard, as I began with the short version, “I’m overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed.” She sat and listened as I rehashed the past four months. She offered insights here and there, but mostly she just listened. She gave me a few small homework assignments, tangible things I could do. And I as I walked out of the office of my new counselor, I felt a sense of hope that I hadn’t felt in a very long time.
When we made the decision to medicate Elliott, I was truly hopeful that things would begin to get better. And that we be able to move out of this desperate place, into a place of healing and normalcy. But the truth is, we’ve been through two medications so far, and have seen no positive effects. And in many ways things have gotten worse. When we began walking down this road, I knew this was a possibility. But that doesn’t make it any less discouraging.
I started off pretty strong. ”We’re gonna get through this.” ”We’ll figure it out.” But as the weeks and months drag on, this mama is losing her steam. I have not lost my faith my in God’s divine plan or infinite wisdom. No, I know these things are not any less true than they were before all of this craziness began. But in all practical senses, I am exhausted and worn out. The reality is, caring for Elliott is much like caring for a newborn, except he sleeps a whole lot less : ) He takes every single ounce of energy I have. And these days, my reserves are pretty depleted.
I’ve recently come to a new place of acceptance, realizing that we are likely in this for the long hall. This is not something that is just going to go away. And with that realization, was the decision to get some help in the form of counseling. Because yes, I am overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed. That is the honest truth. And if my family is to come through all of this relatively unscathed, I have to take care of myself. I have too many little people depending on me, to let my pride get the best of me. And with that also comes the need to ask for help from those around me. Admitting that all of this is too much for me, and that I can’t do it by myself. So I’m calling in those favors, taking people up on their offers, and being intentional about setting up times for others to help me out.
I don’t really know how to wrap up this post with a neat and tidy bow except to say, as mama’s we have got to take care of ourselves. There’s a lot riding on it. And yes, above all things trusting Jesus is the very best resource we have available to us. But so often we neglect the practical things we can do. We try to be everything to everyone. And all too often we forget that it’s ok to ask for help. It doesn’t mean that we are weak. It doesn’t mean that we are less of a mom. It doesn’t mean that we have failed. It only means that we are human...just like everybody else.
By MelodyGross | Category: Pursuing God, The Journey of Motherhood | Posted Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Having three babies in under four years, meant that for quite a long while my season in life was steady, constant and well defined. Make babies. Give birth to babies. Take care of babies. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
When we set out on our parenting journey we were very set on the idea of 2 children. Then we had our first baby. We were completely smitten and knew two just wouldn’t be enough for us. Twenty months later we welcomed our second child. And even in the moments immediately following her birth, I knew I wanted to do it all over again. And just over two years later we welcomed our third little one.
Once we decided that we definitely wanted more than two children, we never landed on a definite number that we were working towards. We always felt like we’d just kinda know when it was time to be done. And let me just say, adding in baby #3, rocked.my.world. And for the first time since I began havin’ babies, I started thinking that I wanted to be done. In fact, my first words following his birth were, ” I never have to do this ever again!” It took me about 18 months to regain my footing, but once again that all too familiar longing for a sweet new babe slowly began to return.
It’s been 2.5 years since the birth of my youngest, and I find myself smack dab in the middle of a very different season. My maternity clothes have found their way to the attic. My baby wearing gear is no longer needed. And diapers are a thing of the past…can’t say that I’m too sad about that one : ) We haven’t officially decided that we are ‘done’, but given our previous track record, it sure does feel like it. My husband and I are in agreement that we’d love to have another baby someday, but we are both very confident that this just isn’t the right time. And yet, for the past year I’ve been secretly hoping that God would chose to bestow us with a little, unexpected blessing.
And I’ve found myself in this land of limbo. Hoping that maybe just maybe ‘this’ would happen even though it wasn’t in our plans. But I’ve recently realized that in that hoping, I’ve been holding tightly to my past season, and fighting to embrace my current season. And I know that a large part of that is the fact that my present season is just.plain.hard. I feel lost and unprepared. My confidence is greatly shaken. But having babies? That’s old hat for me. I’ve got that season down. Let’s go back there.
I recently had a moment of revelation while shopping at a local thrift store. Isn’t it funny the way God chooses to speak to us sometimes? I was quickly thumbing through some summer dresses, when I stopped on the most adorable maternity sun dress. I paused and held the dress in my hand, and for just a moment I let myself ‘go there’. And ever so softly, I heard a whisper in my heart, You’ve got to let that season go. Tears sprung to my eyes, and I knew there was deep truth rooted in those words.
From that simple little moment in the thrift store, I became inspired to stop looking back and start moving forward, even if it hurts. That meant getting rid of all those maternity clothes and baby clothes I had been holding onto ‘just in case’. It also meant embracing my current season, even though it’s not where I want to be. And currently that looks like: finding ways to deal with the stress, grabbing onto every resource that I am led to, and being real and open about my struggles.
I want to encourage you today. Whatever season you are in… Embrace it. Own it. Live it. And ask God to bless it…I’m pretty sure he will : )
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
By MelodyGross | Category: Pursuing God, The Journey of Motherhood | Posted Wednesday, May 2, 2012
I remember it like yesterday. The moment when the gravity of being responsible for a tiny, little person hit me like a ton of bricks.
Our first son Elliottt was 3 days old, I was adjusting to being a new mamma. The euphoric haze was beginning to wear off. It was nearing bedtime, and out of no where I was consumed with sudden panic over where the safest place was to put him to sleep for the night. Certain that if he joined us in our bed something bad would happen, but also just as sure that putting him in his crib, one whole room away, was a terrible, terrible idea. What if I made the wrong choice? And there was my poor husband, trying to gently rationalize with his hormonal, sleep deprived, crazy wife (and we all know that is never a good idea). Certain that we were not capable of making such a big decision, I called our midwife. She gently talked me ‘down from the ledge’ and reassured me that wherever we decide to put our son to sleep, he would be ok. We eventually arrived at putting him in a little Moses Basket beside our bed. And of course, he was just fine.
It’s been more than six years since that moment. The moment I realized that we.are.the.parents. He depends on us. Completely. People can give us advice but ultimately, it comes down to us. We have to make the call. And in our six years of parenting, there have been many decisions that have been made. And yes, with time and experience it has gotten easier. But there are still those moments when the weight of this responsibility hits me again, just like when he was a tiny newborn nestled in my arms.
We’ve been struggling with Elliott for some time now. He’s always been a bit of a question mark with mild developmental delays, anxiety, depression, and behavioral issues. While theses struggles have always been a challenge, they have been mostly manageable. Three months ago, everything changed. The little struggles became major issues. Every single day became a fight. Homeschooling became nearly impossible. Outings with my little ones became a huge fiasco…so we stopped going places. No more trips to library. No more trips to the park. We even stopped going to church. Our life became consumed with these hardships.
These recent months have been filled with every kind of appointment you could imagine: psychology, psychiatry, naturopathy, and occupational therapy. We have been fighting so hard to bring life back to a manageable place for our little guy and for our family. Initially, we dove into natural treatments with hopeful anticipation. Being a home birthing, natural medicine kinda gal, this was the obvious first step for us. We’ve been through a slew of natural supplements. Testing for food sensitivities. We’ve done dye free, we’ve done preservative free, we’ve done gluten free, and we have gotten absolutely no where.
We’ve come to a crossroad. The question: Do we continue pursuing natural treatments or is it time to look at more traditional methods? We’ve tried so much, but the reality is, we could explore natural options for a full year and still not exhaust all of the possibilities. Eventually one comes to their breaking point. And that is where I find myself.
So this past week, I made the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make as a mom. I took the prescription the psychirstist handed me. And I filled it. Something I never, ever dreamed I would do. And once again, I was back to that moment. My heart filled with anxiety and dread. What if this is the wrong choice?
There are so many emotions wrapped up in this decision. I’m struggling greatly with the weight of what this acceptance means. Have I now given conditions to my love? The voice of failure echos loudly. Certain that I let my son down. If I was a better mom, somehow I could have prevented this. If I could have fought a little harder. Hung on a just bit longer…
This such a hard place to be. Overwhelming. Lonely. Scary. Humbling. Defeating. But as I see it I have two choices, I can give in to the guilt and the fear and let it consume me, or I can run to Jesus. I’d like to say that I always choose the later. Of course, I don’t. But oh, how I want to. I want Jesus to be my strength. I want Jesus to redeem this ugliness. I want Jesus to use me in my brokenness.
And that is why I share this today. We all have our individual struggles. Mine may look different than yours. But we are all struggling just the same. Sometimes these struggles become so consuming that we begin to believe we are all alone in them. And even though there are many days that my flesh fails and I give into that lie, deep in my heart the truth resounds. I am not alone and you are not alone. And I am choosing to rest in that hope today.
“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous hand.” Isaiah 41:10.