Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Mess is My Message

I've been wanting to write about this for a while now, but have held off because that would mean getting SUPER real and letting my panties show a little bit (as Suzanne Evans might put it)!

I recently realized that everything I'm experiencing in my life is preparing me to work with and impact the lives of other women. I've known for a while that I'm supposed to be working with women, but I didn't understand exactly why or in what capacity. I've really prayed on that so I can understand what God is asking me to do while I'm here. Slowly, it's becoming clear!

Do you ever feel like you’re living two lives?

That’s how I’ve been feeling lately. On the surface, everything is going pretty well. I have to acknowledge that I’m truly blessed. And most days, I give thanks for those blessings - I have a fun, loving husband that truly is my best friend and beautiful baby boy that makes me laugh every day. I have security in the roof over my head and the unconditional love of two dogs that have been there through every phase of the last ten years of my life. I find comfort and peace in all of that.

Now, I’m about to get super real. Ready?

Even though I have what others might long for, I still have this feeling of misalignment, feelings of stress and overwhelm, feelings of inadequacy and even failure at times.  I’ve been giving a lot of thought to all of this over the last couple months. I’ve been feeling guilty for having these feelings. How could I feel this way when there’s so much to be grateful for? What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just be happy and satisfied with what I’ve been given? Why do I long for more?

Let me dig into this a bit. When I was pregnant with Brady, I was nervous about how my life was going to change. Part of me was looking forward to staying home with him, but the other part of me knew that I didn’t know how to not work. I’ve been working and collecting a paycheck since I was fourteen years old. I’ve learned that losing that paycheck makes me feel like I’ve lost some control and my voice when it comes to spending. A lot of my identity has been wrapped up in the work that I was doing. Intellectually, I know that’s not true, but what a tough mindset to break. I came to realize it was time to get used to a new role that doesn’t come with a paycheck to acknowledge my value. Now that’s an adjustment!

Throughout this time at home with Brady, learning how to be a mom and manage a household, I’ve come to recognize that I’m not very good at this. I get stressed over things that shouldn’t matter a whole lot, like never ending mounds of laundry, constant dishes in the sink or left around the house waiting to go into the dishwasher, little stacks of miscellaneous clutter that hasn’t found a suitable home, and planning nutritious meals. I feel like I’m failing at managing and maintaining all of these things, one because I loathe these tasks that are never-ending and two because I might have undiagnosed A.D.D which makes it difficult for me to complete a task before getting caught up in another one.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mom to Brady. I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to watch and be a part of every phase of his growth at this point. I know that I’m a good mom to him. He knows that he is loved. He is smiling and happy, rarely fussy. He is well fed, kept clean, entertained and engaged. I know that I’m not depriving him of anything. I can feel good about that – but, I know that I’m depriving his mom of things that stimulate her and remind her of her gifts and value.

At the end of the day, many times I’m left feeling like an inadequate, sloppy housewife. I wonder when it’s my turn to do something that is stimulating and recharges my battery a little bit. Here’s an example, often times I wish I had more time to put toward the Naperville Moms Network. I’m really passionate about developing this space for women in our community. I am contributing here, but not at the level I believe I should be. I don’t know how to ignore this calling, nor do I want to.

My husband tries to tell me that if I would just find contentment in being Brady’s mom and his wife, I would be a lot less stressed, juggling less and find happiness. Sadly, I know that this simply isn’t true. I wasn’t built or wired to just be Brady’s mom and his wife. I have a purpose beyond those roles and while I’m thankful for those roles and enjoy many aspects of them, they don’t complete or define me.

I have been conflicted with determining how to be what’s expected of me and also step into the person that I’m called to be. I fully believe that there’s a way to be the wife and mom I want to be and also be the individual I was put on this earth to be. There has got to be a way to fulfill my purpose beyond my role as mom and still be a great mom.

So, I haven’t cracked the code, but when I do, my big mess will be my message to other women walking in my shoes. Surely, I’m not the only one!


Nicki said...

I think it is pretty natural, and right, for you to want to be more than just "Brady's mom" and a wife. You're your own person, with your own talents and interests in addition to being a mom and wife, and you can do great things in life IN ADDITION to being a great mom and wife!

Holly said...

Kelli, kudos for being so open and honest! You seem to have a good sense of what you want in life, do not settle for anything less! When I was home with my 2 kids I loved everything about being a Mom; however, I did not realize that my life was out of balance until I woke up one morning, realizing that I had everything I wanted on the outside but I was feeling lost and empty on the inside. Losing yourself in motherhood is not a requirement of motherhood! We as women need to support one another to be the best we can women, moms, friends, sisters, wives, etc...and that will be different for each one of us because we are all unique. Would love to have coffee with and talk about your calling to empower women!