It has been so long since I have blogged.
As a result, I have so many thoughts taking up my brain, it's on the brink of explosion.
This post is likely to come out as emotional vomit.
Enter at your own risk!
Yesterday I had a really hard day, for no particular reason. I think I'm still working through some of the effects of PPD, which makes me more sensitive.
I realized that the reason I was feeling so down is because I was letting comparison creep in.
Comparison is the thief of joy. We all know that. We have all seen it on Pinterest. Still, it's so hard to avoid. It creeps in like smoke; leave one crack open, it finds its way in.
Turns out there are a lot of people in the world who have more kids than I do. Many of them are well-intending strangers. I know they mean absolutely nothing negative, but the remarks I receive make me sad sometimes. Ones like:
Just wait til you have to go to the store with four kids. (Ainsley is currently mastering the whole tantrums-in-the-grocery-store thing)
Just wait until you have to take care of two more kids when you're baby is sick.
Just wait until you have to clean up after two toddlers!
Just wait until you have to keep up school schedules.
Just wait til you have seven mouths to feed!
Comparing lives or workloads, regardless of number of children, will always be impossible. For one thing you see and understand, there are 100 more you don't. Every life is different, every kid is different. It will always be like comparing apples to outer space. Only more different.
It's a little comical, but I feel like sometimes what people are really saying is, just wait until your life gets even more miserable and then you'll want to come back to now when you were only a little miserable.
(For the record, I'm not miserable. You know, just interpreting from grumpy ladies at the library/grocery store/gym/etc.)
I realize they have a point. I'm not naive enough to think that somehow being a mother gets easier the more children you have. Please, that's just crazy talk.
I only mean to say that it's discouraging to me. I tend to feel that if I am overwhelmed with one, there's no way I could be fit, worthy even, to be a mother of two or three or four or nine! It makes me feel as if my life has less of a purpose because I'm only responsible for one little human. I feel that our culture has an obsession with doing more, being more, never doing enough. Although Mormon doctrine preaches simplicity, Mormon culture (people aren't perfect, ya know.) is not always an exception to the never doing enough business. As if being a stay-at-home mom for one is less respectable than staying home with three.
I will be honest, I think this way too sometimes. I think that if I'm only going to have one or two children, I better get a fancy job to make my life mean something. As if anything could have more meaning than raising even one soul. Christ himself taught us the value of one. The parable of the coins. If you lose just one, would you not search the whole house to find it?
Several weeks ago I was really struggling with feeling like my life was worth much. I had a long drive ahead of me and a sleeping baby in the back seat. I started to pray out loud to Heavenly Father. Asking for guidance, comfort, love....anything! The feeling I received in return was unmistakable. He told me that as much as I love Ainsley, as much purpose as I think her life has, my life has at least that much value to Him. I don't know if that makes sense to you, but it made sense to me. He knew how to make me understand. He knows how much I love Ainsley and how special I think she is. And He, our perfect Father, feels even more strongly about each of us. A lot of the things we spend time worrying about matter little in the long run.
I recently purchased a whiteboard to keep on my fridge to organize meals, to-do lists, etc.
At the top, I wrote in large letters, "It's ALL about PROGRESS!"
It gives me a lot of comfort. When I reflect back on my to-do list and realize I accomplished 3 of 26 things, I made progress. I made progress in raising my child, in helping her to be happy and healthy. I made progress in improving myself. I made progress. Some days more than others.
I want to be a lot of things that quite frankly, I'm not; but I am making progress.
It matters a lot more where we are going than where we are right now.
I don't know if I will ever be the person I want to be, but that's what life is all about. Progress. Just keep on keeping on!