I've been cranky lately. I've been stressed. I've been critical. I've been short-tempered with my children over simple things. And furthermore, I've become very discouraged by it. Each night after the kids are in bed, I debrief as I clean the house. Then, as I watch them sleep, I remember how innocent and precious they are - that they are just trying to learn and grow and discover who they are - and then I kick myself for being so short on patience, and wallow in nasty "bad mommy" feelings. I pray and weep and beg the Lord to grant me more patience, and help me be better, for them. In the morning I pray again and start out the day with enthusiastic plans to "make today a better day". I greet each child with plenty of hugs, kisses, snuggles and "I love you"s. And then the day wears on. The kids fight. They make messes. It gets hot. I get tired. The Mr. is always gone. There's not enough money. and so on and so forth. Suddenly my jaw is clenching and my shoulders are tight and, oh no, here it comes. I lash out over something simple ("Why did you bite your sister again? How many times must we go over this??!!") and suddenly, Mean, Cranky Mommy rears her ugly head and we are back to the Bad Mommy Feelings again.
I've been wondering what is wrong with me. I've been blaming it on the heat. (Seriously - 90+ degrees in 7000% humidity with no A/C is just wrong!) But I've been unable to kick it.
Until today. (I know, ha ha.) But seriously. Today during quiet time I read this story ("Dear April", the Friend, July 2010) to my children. Suddenly, near the end, I could no longer hold back the tears. As I read "I was thinking today about how nervous I was to move here. But it’s starting to feel like home now. The most important thing is being with my family!" I suddenly realized: I am struggling with this move. It is hard. I'm far away from all of my family and the friendships I've spent the last 8 years developing. I can't find my way around at ALL - I get lost almost every time I drive anywhere. My husband is almost always gone, and when he's home he's almost always sleeping. Our house is falling apart (we bought it that way...what were we thinking?) We are living on an uncomfortably tight budget (worse even than medical school!) And I don't even know where to get coupons or shop for the best deals out here (and if you know me, you know how much that frustrates me!) Yes, my life is challenging right now.
All of this and more (what? could there be more, after all that?) came to me in a flood of emotion as I realized and accepted that I have challenges. I've been so caught up in making the transition easy on my kids and husband and being strong for them that I've been (subconsciously) trying to pretend that everything is great, that I love it here, and that life is grand. Don't get me wrong - I don't hate my life - but being able to recognize and own the emotions I've been fighting these past couple of months was very cleansing.
Now that I have acknowledged them, I can 'deal with' them, and move on. Not that I'm packing my bags or anything...this move is still a challenge I'm going to have to adjust to, and even embrace. But instead of hiding or ignoring my feelings, I'm allowing myself to say "Yes, I really miss (such-and-such or so-and-so), but now I'm enjoying (my new friends, the beach, etc).
To help me with this, tonight I'm counting my blessings. It might take me a while to list all of them. Stay tuned.