I was a wife for 2.5 years before I became a Mama. I wasn’t too bad at being a wife, I love being my man’s number one support and making a home that is comfortable and relaxing for him. I love cooking and baking and cleaning. But now I’m a Mama and I don’t know how to be both. Most of my days are filled with nursing the child and rocking her to sleep and holding her while she sleeps so she gets enough sleep [note: I am not asking for parenting advice, I know what my baby needs, but thank you for thinking of trying to help...]. My baby loves her Mama and is not ready to be apart from me for very long. This does not leave room for sweeping and mopping the floors, keeping up with laundry, making fun and new meals, or washing the dishes even every day. Several times a week I find myself asking The Officer, “Am I doing a good job? I feel like a failure for not being able to keep the house like I used to, or cook meals like I used to, or be your wife at all.” And he reassures me, of course, being the amazing husband that he is.
I don’t like not being able to do it all by myself, needing to ask The Officer for help with the housework when he is at home, instead of letting him relax before going to a stressful job. I wish I could do all that I did before as well as take the best care of my baby in the ways that she needs. But I need to find a new balance. I need to see that she is my priority because she is a person. And I want to enjoy her babyhood instead of spending it fretting over the state of my house. I’m finding solace in the knowledge that I am not alone, that most people feel like they don’t measure up, and even though I really don’t, that it doesn’t matter to my God. His power is made perfect in my weakness – which means that he uses my weakness to bring himself glory. And bringing him glory is what I am made for!
Part of me is quite afraid to post this because I don’t want to be judged. I don’t want people to know that I am hardly staying on top of being a stay-at-home-mom. I don’t want others to know how messy my house is and that I’m not sure the last time I cleaned the bathroom was. I don’t want people who had “easy” babies to think that something must be wrong with me because they were able to do it, so why can’t I? But I am hoping that someone out there reads this and says, “Yes! I struggle, too! It’s such a relief to know that I’m not the only one that isn’t measuring up to the world’s standards of what a house should look like and what a wife and mother should be!” My baby needs me. She needs to be attached to me. She needs a gentle, caring, constant love that not all babies need. Parenting is about sacrifice (as is marriage). That means that I have to give up what I want to do for the welfare of my child. And if someone tries to tell me that I am wrong for doing so, that I should be doing more than I am capable of, that I shouldn’t need help, then (apart from fighting off these lies day and night), I will tell them that they have no idea what they are talking about. This person does not know my baby and my abilities. And if you judge me for it, then it tells me something about you – not about me. I need to please God, not man. I answer to him alone, and so do you.
I’m getting defensive. Getting back on track…
So even though I am scared to publish this post, I am going to. In hopes that my struggle gives someone else a bit of hope, a bit of camaraderie, and maybe just the push they need to get through today without the false guilt that I struggle with every day. Do what is best for you and your family, and don’t apologize for it. Life isn’t about having the perfect house and pretty things. Life isn’t about the way you look on the outside. For me and my house will serve the Lord. And to HIM, the people matter. If it is a matter of a pretty house versus a happy and well-loved child, I will choose the second every time. I know that this honors God because he cares for the children and people more than anything else. He gave up everything so that his children can come to Him. So I can give up my ideals to love my daughter the way she needs to be loved, I can meet her where she is to demonstrate to her the Love that our Heavenly Father has for us. I do this for her because He has done it for me.