Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Being Painfully Honest...

I hope that I can express myself in a coherent manner here. Please note that if I pose questions to you, that really, I am posing them to myself! However, if you have any answers that you would like to share, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

What makes you feel valued, good about yourself, appreciated? Where do you go to be affirmed? Here is another question: are you nicer to people outside your household, or the ones who live with you 24/7? Okay, I bet I know the answer to that last one...everyone I know, if they were honest, would admit that they are nicer and more polite to outsiders. Not that you are mean and unkind to your loved ones, just that we don't put forth that extra effort to be pleasant like we do with others. Why is that? Let me extend that train of thought. Why do you... okay nevermind, why do I care about what other people think of me, some of them, people I do not even know??? Why do I feel happy and affirmed when people come to my blog and leave comments? Why does it make me feel valuable and appreciated when someone admires or buys something that I make?? Why do I give a Saturday of my life to go to an artisan's market and sell my creations instead of being home with my hubby?

I wonder, how much time have I spent on outside friends that I should have devoted to my family and/or God? I am not saying that friends are bad or wrong. No way! I just wonder if I have substituted "good" for "best." TV is not a big issue in this house. We did not even have one until a few months ago, but how much time have I blown piddling on the internet when my children needed my attention?

I wonder which one pleases God more? Does He look down at me and say to Himself "Wow! Look at those hair sticks Michele made?" Or is he more pleased when I set it all aside to read that same book for the 687th time to my four-year-old? When I stand before Him one day, will He show me all the times that I said, "Not now, I'm busy!" And will He show me that what I was really saying was "Not now, I am selfish."

How do you strike a balance? How do you "find time for yourself" without neglecting the others who need you? My seven kids are only here for a limited time. Why would I want to spend one single precious moment of it doing things that are not going to matter in the end? And really, why is it not enough? Why can I not feel as eager and excited about doing a history lesson with one of my children, washing the dishes or cooking a meal for my family as I can about starting a new knitting project or chatting with an online friend? Being "mom" is not glamorous. Often it is not fun, and usually it is a thankless job. I wish that I could get the warm fuzzies from housework and disciplining children. It might make it all easier.

I truly do have creative urges. Are they something put there by God, or something I need to control so that I can focus on what is TRULY important. Are my outside interests legit and something that makes me a more complete person, or just a distraction from what I should be doing? What is the balance?



kimodified said...

TOUGH questions!

I struggle with them myself - see my less-deep but really same-issued post about cleaning the kitchen instead of fiddling with the blog.

some brief thoughts (I have to go sweep still, LOL)

1.) God is creative. We are created in His image, and I believe that includes our creativity.

2.) God didn't create all the time. :-)

3.) No one but God can strike the perfect balance. In our fallen state we even struggle to recognize perfection at all.

4.) I don't have the answers. I struggle and fail most of the time. And it's exactly like you said, "not now, I'm selfish" could really sum up most of my life.

I didn't address the affirmation part, but I struggle with that, too. I'll come back after i sweep - after dinner - um ... later ... and think more about that.

:-) I appreciate your honesty about that, and keeping the issue in the forefront, because I think it does need to be there.

Unknown said...

Probably all moms feel the way you do; I know I do. Just this week I remarked to a close friend that I feel like I am spread too thin and that I'm not giving my best to anyone. I'm trying to be everything to everybody, and it's just not possible.

All we can do is give our best, in each moment. I pray, "Lord, give me wisdom and please make up for my mistakes." It's easy to be hard on ourselves about not giving every second of time to others, but I don't necessarily feel like God wants it that way. I think He does want us to love Him above all else and serve our family cheerfully, but I also sincerely believe He wants us to have some time to enjoy things we love also.

Naturally, during this time of great busyness helping our children grow, learn, and maintain a semblance of lives (working, doing outside activities, etc.) it's quite stressful to pull it all together. I know we're not alone in feeling frustrated. We just have to remind ourselves that we are building our families when the world just wants to tear them down. "Every wise woman buildeth her house" is one of my favorite verses.

God knows your heart, and just the fact that you are giving this such serious introspection demonstrates that you have right priorities.


I will tell you something: children don't always articulate what they see, think, and know. You'd be astonished if you could hear your children praise you. And what they love best about you. Qualities you don't even realize you possess. Honestly. Sometimes you just have to wait a few years to hear it. ;) Hang in there.

Oh, and yes, I'm procrastinating ironing just to post this comment. *blush*

Tracy Batchelder said...

These are hard questions to answer for someone else. I would ask your husband and family how they feel about the time you spend doing things just for yourself. I doubt you've been neglecting them and they will probably tell you that.

Pam said...

What makes you feel valued, good about yourself, appreciated? It is when I get a smile or a hug from my kids. When my husband says.."dinner was great honey." It's all the little things, and then the bigger things either fall into place or get lost in the chaos!

Hang in there and perhaps take comfort in with the masses cuz I think we all feel this way from time to time.

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