Thursday, May 14, 2015

Exhaustion vs. Thankfulness

I tried to force myself to sleep at eight tonight. Rosemary kept coughing and my head was hurting and I was on the verge of feeling hungry again. I thought to myself that maybe I could just get up and make some hot chocolate and then go to bed by nine or ten. Then Rosemary continued to cough and cry out. I checked on her several times, walked with her, rubbed breathe deep rub on her chest, sat in a steamy bathroom with her. I was glad I had been unsuccessful falling asleep. There is nothing more miserable to me than being in a deep sleep and constantly awoken. Sometimes I wonder why parents have to sleep. It sounds kind of nice that the older a person gets the less sleep they would require. Think of all the free time.

I have had a few moments in the past couple of weeks that in my head my own voice has shouted, "Nothing in my life is relaxing." Mornings are not relaxing. By the time I get my coffee made both girls have already inhaled a granola bar and possibly some fruit. Probably 75% of the time this results in Rosemary having a dirty diaper and Blanche being on the toilet yelling to be wiped. So I'm busy wiping everyone's bottom while my toast and coffee gets cold. Then I am asked if I will play. When I still haven't gotten to eat yet. And I am pregnant. And I nurse Rosemary in the mornings before even getting up. Playdates are also not relaxing. Most of the time. I feel like a lot of the time it is easier than being alone, but relaxing? No. It's more like I am together with someone else who is as tired as me. And we want to laugh and cry and hug each other that we are not alone. Nap time is normally not relaxing. Because my oldest rarely naps. Going to the bathroom is not relaxing. Today Blanche brought in her rocking chair into the bathroom and said, "look at me my legs don't work good so I have this." She was pretending to be in a wheelchair. Rosemary also came in and moved Blanche's stool so she could reach into Andrew's bathroom drawer and take out all the Q-tips. We have already moved the toothpaste and his deodorant that she was eating. Remember how I am still trying to use the bathroom?

Nothing is really that relaxing until my children are asleep. And then I want to stay up all night and remember that I am a human being with thoughts and feelings. And that I am good at more than just wiping bottoms and making chicken nuggets. I can read and write. I can think about other things than what snack to give my three year old.

I gamble every night with the idea that my children will sleep soundly at night. I hope and pray that going to bed between ten and eleven won't be crazy. That maybe I could sleep around eight hours until seven that next morning. But lately there have been bad dreams and teething. And now we have come to find out that Rosemary has her third ear infection of the year. And that's why she has been yelling, "no no no" whether I choose to nurse her or not in the night. And why she creams like a crazy person at three am and is up for the day at five. I feel sorry for her. But I also feel sorry for myself. This is her third ear infection during this pregnancy. She was a great sleeper, I got pregnant, and then she stopped sleeping.

I am so tired.

So tired so much of the time.

I don't really get to nap.

I don't really get to eat in peace.

I have been using my body to either feed a human being or grow one for over four years straight.

That's the exhaustion part. I wanted to write that out first. The second part is what I am trying to conquer my weakness with. It's thankfulness. I have written or posted before about writing down things I am thankful for. And I generally try and write with a thankful attitude. But there is something very different about changing the literal thoughts in my head. I hear myself saying, "I can't believe she got up this early. What am I going to do all day? This day is going to be so long." And honestly I think I have been doing this to myself for so long that I literally start to believe every grumpy and negative thing I say in my head. Even if I am trying hard to have a good day.

So, this week really, I have started trying to catch myself. And then I'll say in my head, "Wow I'm really thankful for this coffee. I am so thankful Andrew bought this brand. And he showed me how to make iced coffee which tastes so good." And then I tell myself how much better I will feel after drinking this coffee. You know, the power of positive thinking.

But I have also wanted to take thankfulness a step deeper. I bought a devotional called, "One Thousand Gifts." It is based off a book that was recommended to me a long time ago that I have yet to read. But I figured a short daily devotional would be something I could do. It is about thankfulness and counting your gifts and transforming your life with seeing the love and gifts God has given you. There are a thousand lines to write down things I am thankful for in the back. I have written down thirty this week when I have had time. To me it's amazing how my day can start on such a different note by recognizing how thankful I am for my two girls sitting and playing together... or right up on my lap while I try and drink coffee...rather than focusing on how my coffee is getting cold or how much work I have already done.

The thing is being thankful doesn't mean I won't still be exhausted. But the thankful spirit is what will help me through the hard day. In the end I will be tired but know that this is a season. A season that is full of a lot of work but also so many things to be thankful for. There is something powerful about being in a bad mood, and choosing to look through the chaos and see the beauty. Normally I am thankful for my kids or my family when I hear of tragedy, not when I am wiping everyone's bottom during breakfast time.

The verse in the devotional today (or yesterday... whenever I started it) was,
"His secret purpose framed from the very beginning is to bring us to our full glory."
1 Corinthians 2:7

Motherhood is really hard for me. Pregnancy with a three year old and one year old is really hard for me. But I feel that this is what I have been called to do. And when I read the verse above, I know that I have been called to motherhood because it is hard. Because it has and will make me a better person.

There are so many gifts I am given each day. Thousands really. I could list them all but I think the pictures in my posts regularly show what I have been given. It is choosing to look at those moments when my reality looks very different. It is saying yes I am exhausted but look at the beautiful reason why.

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