A Positive Spin: Being a Superhero

Please read the following  quotes with a snarky, irritated tone of voice.

mom tossing child - they're not lazy, you're just a superhero

“I can’t exactly do this by myself!”

This was my husband, trying to take a messy bib off a potty-training toddler who was running away down the hallway.

Are you kidding?  It’s one kid, and a bib.  Seriously.

This was my husband giving two little boys a bath.

Then why do you do extra-curriculars until long after dinner, and expect me to bathe both kids myself?

This was my husband trying to get both boys dressed for church on Sunday morning.

You realize I do this every single morning every week while you’re working, right?

This was my husband trying to make waffles with both boys in the kitchen.

How do you think you have dinner to eat every day, Mister?

“I’m tired, y’know?”

Same husband, explaining why he’s watching TV instead of helping me clean up to host a party of his coworkers.

TV makes you less tired?   How handy.

Falling asleep reading the boys their bedtime stories, which inevitably makes them screech and whine that he’s not “reading it nice.”

Not an excuse to poop out on your kids!

Sending me to do the grocery shopping by myself at 9 pm.

I am so tired I could fall down.  What gives you the right?!

 

These “cries of desperation” make me so ANGRY.  They reek of self-centeredness, weakness, lame excuses.  It feels like I carry the brunt of the parenting, and when my husband needs to do one minor task he can’t handle it.  I mother the boys solo for 10-12 hours per day, but still need to help him do it for 2 more hours in the evenings?!  As though a yogurt-covered bib is the most difficult possible scenario with two boys under 4.

Then, my perspective shifted dramatically.  (Do you ever feel like the Lord just smacks you upside the head with an attitude adjustment?  That’s what happened.)

I was in the middle of a mighty internal struggle, trying to hold back my biting words (the comments in italics.)  For a blunt, opinionated woman like myself, this struggle is a lot like plugging holes in a dam with my fingers.  I usually fail.  But this time, I had a revelation.

My husband floundering in these mundane tasks doesn’t mean he is being wimpy or trying to pass off his parenting onto me.  It actually means I’m a superhero.

That I possess an important set of skills, a talent at putting out proverbial fires, can juggle an inordinate amount of crises at once.  That my super-intelligent, creative, patient, 2nd-grade-teacher husband is flattened by fatigue and mess and multiple toddlers, and I am not.

The fact that I can do this full-time parenting gig all day every day and still stay awake through storytime, not get yogurt on the carpet, remember the groceries late at night,  throw parties, and have neatly dressed little boys is a testament to my strengths, not his weaknesses.

We stay-at-home moms and dads, we professional parents, are superheros.  We can accomplish what many others cannot.  We’ve been called to have an enormous mental fortitude, determination, and patience, and continuously pour from what we have been given into others.

I’m really glad my attitude has shifted about this BEFORE we add more little humans to this family

So the next time you hear your partner say, “I can’t do this by myself!” or “Could you just help me?!” or “I’m too tired!” I suggest choosing to hear “You’re a superhero!” instead.

 

 

Tired SAHM? The Physical Task of Mothering

Nobody tells you that mothering (especially full-time, professional mothering) is such a physical job.  That “tired stay-at-home mom” is redundant.

If you try to list physically tasking jobs, likely to make the list are vocations like construction work, power-lifting, professional housekeeping, high-rise window-washing, nursing.  I can’t claim to have any personal experience with any of those careers, and I certainly don’t downplay any of them.

It was just a surprise to me.

And I’m not just talking about the physical aspects of pregnancy, delivery, and those first “lost weeks” postpartum.  Of course those are a Herculean physical strain, but I think those are decently well-recognized.

I’m talking about the long term.  The sleep deprivation doesn’t stop, it just changes.  After you teach your child to sleep through the night, you start sacrificing sleep to things like housekeeping, hobbies, tea with yourself, and worrying.
Instead of enjoying your soft pillows at 9:30, you lie awake until midnight thinking about things like taking bread of out the freezer for tomorrow, whether your toddler’s room is warm enough, if your husband’s alarm clock is set properly, how your ill friend is feeling, what errands you need to run tomorrow, the new parenting theory you are planning to try.

Once you’re up for the day, the cooking and cleaning begins.  These are physical tasks in their nature, but please add to that effort a 20 pound toddler on your hip or in a carrier.
There is walking the dog and/or running errands.  Which sounds easy, but actually requires pushing a stroller/cart (maybe a double or triple) with somewhere between 20 and 80 pounds of child in it, and holding back an overly-enthusiastic pooch who wants to follow every pedestrian home.

The bending.  The stooping.  The heavy lifting and repetative motions and chasing and hoisting and bending into cribs.
The Legos.
Then the wrestling of a kicking screaming toddler to a timeout, or a bathroom, or an unwanted nap.  The holding and pacing and singing with the ever-growing baby, which may take up to an hour before he falls asleep.
You are a human jungle gym.  A toddler falling down will use a tiny portion of your arm or leg skin as a handle.  A baby wanting a kiss will slam his forehead into your teeth.  Someone learning about body parts will jam a jagged fingernail into your eye, nose, ear, or belly button.

All of that physical exertion and damage is separate from nursing a baby for weeks, months, or years.  If you choose to do that, you are quite literally sitting without moving for up to an hour at a time, 8 or more times a day.
You can bet your child will only sleep held in that position, some days, or will only nurse in certain ways that leave you with neck cricks and sleeping legs.  There might also be pumping, which is just as (if not more) uncomfortable, but without the perk of baby snuggles.  And if your baby happens to sleep extra long, you don’t!  You set yourself an alarm and get up to pump.  Or risk mastitis.  Y’know.

(This in no way is meant to discount the role of fathering.  Here is my sweet husband, falling-down exhausted with each of our infants.  Incidentally, two of my favorite photos of all time.)

I hope the cute factor of the photos to accompany this post help drive home my true objective:

Mothering will wreck you.  Hopefully, this is temporary.  (I haven’t yet come out the other side, so I can’t promise anything!) Your metabolism, hormones, physical appearance, eye bags, sleep, joints… these may never be the same.

But honestly, what better to give yourself for?  What more awesome task can there be, than to relinquish selfishness of your physical body in order to serve your family?  At the end of the day, you may be completely depleted, but all of that energy and effort went into your kids.  You’ve poured from what the Lord has given you into others.

Tiny, snuggly, adorable others.

It’s worth it.