I’m sitting at a bakery in Raleigh, today i’m by myself. Mike has gone mountain biking with his cousin, Cindy, who came into town from Wisconsin to spend the weekend. Emma is home with Selina, probably out by the fire pit picking and digging at rocks.
A mommy and her baby boy about the same age as Emma just walked into the bakery. He’s sitting on her hips, the exact same way I hold Emma because she’s too heavy for my arms now, I use my hips as support. She looks a little tired, the baby looks a little heavy, but she’s happy to have breakfast with the little one! She orders a chocolate chip scone and a chocolate cookie, and sits at one of the tables outside with him. Maybe it’s to enjoy the sunny weather, but from what I know, many parents, us alike, sit outside so our babies don’t disturb the patrons in the coffeeshop with their babbling and roaming. Oh, how I miss Emma already.
They last just a couple minutes at the table and she quickly packs up the food, stumbling with the food and baby in hand towards her minivan. I know that physical struggle. Balancing food and baby in your arms? I’ve spilt bojangles sweet tea and dropped a box of my favorite fried chicken in the world on the floor. Simply because my arms gave way trying to hold Emma in one arm & the sweet tea & chicken in the other! I hear you mommies. Little struggles like that can leave you feeling so exhausted and defeated. Why can’t getting lunch and taking it home be a little easier? Why can’t our babies just sit still a little longer so maybe we can have a meal out and not have takeout boxes and a mess at home to clean up after later? Why can’t we just sit across the table from our little ones and enjoy their (calm) company without having to worry about them disturbing the people at the other table or getting into things.. share some smiles and laughter, stress free? I completely hear you, and I feel you.
The first thing i’ve found thats helped me is to recognise that it’s okay to feel this way. For the longest time, I would get stressed out, frustrated, physically drained taking Emma in and out of the stroller, folding the stroller etc everytime i tried to take her out somewhere by myself. Overall, I felt so alone in this journey of motherhood – and then feeling so extremely guilty for feeling the way that I feel. Those emotions would then compound on each other, and I would feel even worse by the end of the day.
With baby no. 2 on the way, throw in all the crazy hormones, physical discomforts of the first trimester, and a very very active toddler in the mix, my past couple of weeks have not been easy.
Until this morning, I reminded myself, It’s ok to feel this way.
It’s ok that you’re struggling emotionally. It’s ok that you miss your family and you miss Singapore. It’s ok you don’t have a mommy friend to share these things with. You’ve had to basically rebuild your life since moving to the US at 23. Your family & everything you know is now a 28hr plane ride away, You have to find a state to live in, find a community to feel a part of, get accustom to a whole new culture, find new friends, get used to married life, be pregnant, have the baby and get used to being a mommy. All in a short span of less than 3 years! You’ve moved 3 times in 3 years, one being around the world. You deserve to feel overwhelmed. You deserve to feel stressed out.
Wow, did that lift a huge load off my shoulders!
Ah! Thats what i needed. I needed to pat myself on the back, give myself the encouragement to keep going. Because that’s what life is. A process, a journey.
By recognising and acknowledging what i’ve been through, how much strength i actually have had in me all this time, I can be more positive about the future. I can see how the tough years are building me for something bigger, something better. That God will use this for good. That I will survive these tough times, and that what I need are steady hands and a sober mind.
My friend, your journey may be different. Maybe you didn’t move around the world, you moved 3hours away from your family to a different state, and you too feel the exact same loneliness and sense of lost that I feel. Maybe you are overwhelmed by balancing your heavy work commitments and being a mother. Maybe you and your spouse are going through very difficult times in your relationship and it is really taking a toll on you emotionally. Maybe you have 5 kids, a spouse and a household to manage, it’s just so much on your plate! Whatever your circumstance, we as mothers understand how much pressure we put on ourselves to be the best parent to our children as it is, anything else can very easily cause us to crumble.
“ You fear you won’t. We all do. We fear that the depression will never lift, the yelling will never stop, the pain will never leave. … We wonder, will this gray sky ever brighten? This load ever lighten? We feel stuck, trapped, locked in, will we ever exit this pit? Yes! Deliverance is to the bible what jazz music is to Mardi Gras: bold, brassy and everywhere” – Max Lucado
Yes there is a light at the end of the tunnel! The truth is that we will get through this. As Max Lucado writes it, “Through” is God’s favourite word. I couldn’t agree more.
“ When you walk THROUGH the waters, I will be with you; and THROUGH the rivers they shall not overflow you. When you walk THROUGH the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.” ( Isa. 43:2 )
This is his promise to us. Whatever tough times, trials and tribulations you and I are going through, it is to make us stronger, to prepare us for the real purpose he has for our lives. Will this happen over night? I doubt it.. Building something great takes time. So let us trust him, hold his hand, as he takes us through this journey, where we will eventually come out so strong, so brave and so ready to fulfil his purpose for our lives. Lets remind ourselves everyday, to keep a pair of steady hands and a sober mind to remember the big picture, the long term plan, and the growth we are experiencing everyday. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and keep trudging on (: