Friday, April 16, 2010

My Passionate Response

I read this post from a sweet young mama. It touched my heart and the passion I have for mamas who push and push themselves!

I believe so many women struggle with this and I will continue to shout it from the rooftops, even if it seems redundant! You may certainly see yourself in my response, your circumstances might be different, but the advice might still fit.

I have asked her permission to share it here. Feel free to go and read the original post as well as browse around Angela's Blog, she has the most precious family.

Dearest Angela,

Hold on, because you are about to get a stern talking to by an ‘older’ woman. Just kidding, but I am going to pour out my heart in hopes that it helps you.

Yes, you are tired!!! You have been through a lot and your body is tired!!! You have four little children, you have experienced the loss of a precious baby, you have given birth and taken care of twins, who are still so little, mind you, you are a mama, a wife, a homemaker, who by the way, is attempting to make changes for the better with your whole family’s diet . . . Whew, that was probably a run on sentence, wasn’t it. All the better to make my point! I am tired just typing it out and I am sure if you re-read it and add all the things I don’t even know about you will realize you have cause to be tired.

I hear so much of 'me' in what you have written. I suspect you might poo-poo what I am writing to you about because I did for years. I always had to do and do and do. I wasn’t doing enough. I was selfish or lazy. Learning all I have about our health, namely our adrenal glands, I now see I was believing a whole bunch of lies, and about killed myself trying to do all I thought I ‘should’ be doing and am now paying dearly for it.

I see it in so many women.

One thing I have learned is that if a sentence or thought starts out with "I should" then you better rethink it. I 'should' push myself and do something while the kids are sleeping. I 'should' be menu planning, managing this home better, being a ‘better’ mama. I 'should', you fill in the blank.

AND! WHO SAID?? Who said you need to be meal planning better at this stage of your life? Who said the sheets need changing every week? Who said you have to have side dishes? Who said your house needs anything else more than just maintaining? Who said?

If you are not comparing yourself to what other people say you ‘should’ be doing, then you are comparing yourself to this person inside your head who wants to do these things and thinks she should do them. You will burn yourself out listening to her, I promise you. I still can’t get it out of my head. Years and years of trying so hard to do what I thought or I wanted to do. I have laid down some pretty deep tracks and it is so hard to lay down new ones!

I saw something in your post that really struck a cord with me and I hope you see it to. You said,
"My personality rends me nearly incapable of doing anything half-heartedly . . . "

This type of personality IS NOT LAZY! We believe a lie that we are somehow lazy, but if you look at how you probably attack things and give it your all, you will see you are not lazy! Taking a nap when tired is NOT lazy or selfish! A nap now is far better than being completely bedridden because you pushed yourself for years, trust me. This struck a cord with me because I have often said, "I think I am just being lazy" anybody who knew me would say, "WHAT!?" You are not lazy", but I didn’t believe them, so I just voiced it less often. Even now, practically bedridden with health issues, I feel like I am somehow being lazy by not "fill in the blank"! It is insane!
Oh, and it IS a season. And you will go through many more ‘seasons’ and you need to learn to flow with the season and be gentle with yourself or you will pay for it later.

Imagine if you will, your nearest and dearest friend or sister, (think of someone you love so much and have great compassion for) she comes to you telling you she is so tired. She can only seem to maintain her household on a good day. She feels like she isn’t a good mama because she doesn’t play on the floor with, play on the swings with, roll around and laugh all day with her children. She even thinks she is lazy.

What would you say to this friend? "Get off your lazy buns and buck up! Come on, for crying out loud, you need to stop focusing on yourself and do what needs to be done!" Is that what you would say? I suspect not. You would hug her, encourage her, tuck her into bed and watch her children for her. You would encourage her to take it easy until she regained some strength. And more I am sure!

Why is it that it is so easy to be kind and compassionate with others but not ourselves? Do you hear what I am saying?

In all my research and reading and emails received I believe countless women have impaired adrenals and go on pushing for years and years. I am not one to put a blanket condition on everyone who struggles, but trust me when I say with all I have learned, I believe it is true. It might not show up on blood work at first or even present noticeable symptoms, but it is happening.

We live in a toxic world with horrible quality foods, many chemicals that bombard our bodies daily, stress beyond any previous generation, we push well into the night when God made it dark for a reason, we have babies with bodies that are depleted to begin with, we nurse, we co-sleep, we carry our babies, we home school, we are learning how to be keepers of the home because we didn’t grow up knowing how, we have noise everywhere assaulting us in stores, on the streets, in our homes by way of TVs and computer. I could go on and on. We wonder why we are tired?

Yes, 100 years ago great grandma could have lots of babies and take care of them too, but think of how differently they lived back then??? Yes, they had their own ‘stressors’ back then too, but it was so different.

You are not making excuses!!!! Please hear my heart and get off your own back. My eyes are filled with tears because I know where you are, I have heard and thought the same things. I want to just grab you and fill your head with all I have learned and am still struggling to learn.

Angela, I am so serious here with what I am sharing with you. I was told for years to take it easy, rest while you are pregnant, nursing takes a lot out of you, you need to slow down, on and on the advice echos in my head, now. To my defense I had no idea how to ‘slow down’ with so many children and so many responsibilities, but I also blew past that advice thinking I could do what needed to be done and I was probably just lazy or selfish when I struggled. Please contact me if you need to be further convinced!

Love and prayers,



Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

What a wonderful heart-felt letter. It is so good to get "permission" from a Titus 2 woman whose been there, to slow down. I'm trying to take power naps during the day when I feel I've hit that wall. I'm not feeling bad about it, either. I used to just push through, but now I'm listening to my body more. Thanks for the encouragement to us mamas who do things all the way or not all.


Bluebell Country said...

oh, thank you so much for sharing this!!!
Blessings to you and your!

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

What a loving response to a discouraged mother. We've all hit that wall so to speak!

Great job, Michelle!

Regan Family Farm said...

Oh Michelle, we all somehow need to slow down, don't we? Why is it we wait until we are forced? Call me or email your phone number so I can talk with you when you feel up to it. I have it in my heart to come help with cleaning/laundry/you name it. PLEASE.
Love and hugs,

Camille said...

Wonderful post Michelle! What a blessing that you are using your experience to be an encouragement to others!! That's very often how the LORD works! Hang in there and REST my friend! AND don't get discouraged...listen to your own is a SEASON and the LORD is in it!!


Farmgirl Cyn said...

Wow. You have said an awful lot in just these few paragraphs. I pray all these mamas take the wisdom you have shared and learn from it. (hard to take our own advice, eh?)
What an encouragement you are, Michelle, in spite of (and BECAUSE of) what you are going thru right now.
Love and hugs,

Amelia said...

Oh how I wished someone our age would have shared this with me when I was a young mother, and even when I was a young bride. I spent years, beating myself up on these very things, always comparing myself with others and wondering if others had dishes in their sinks too...etc. etc.

Blessings to you! I will be sharing this with my daughters, now 16 to 27 at home. : ) I will also share this with other moms we know.

Enjoying your blog, I am subbed on my reader. : ) Blessings!


L.H. said...

This brought tears to my eyes! I was just talking to a friend who feels the exact same way Angela did. I have been feeling the same way too! But, I know that the "you are lazy" everyone has it together, but you" "you are never doing enough" is a lie from the pit of hell and I am not going to believe it anymore!

I have a crazily busy week ahead of me and I want to do God's will. But, I need to keep being prayerful about what I can do within reason. I am about 6 weeks from my due date and I am SO TIRED!

I thank God for your blog and your testimony. Even the test God allowed you to go through with your health is a blessing to us b/c it helps us learn from your experience!

Becky said...

Wow!!! I couldn't have said it better myself.
I, like you and so many others, spent my young adult life berrating myself for not being able to keep it all together the way other women before me seemed to be able to. I don't even remember how old I was, but I know my youngest (yes, my youngest, and there's 11 years between her and my oldest) was at least 7 before I came to the realization that all those "perfect" housewives I remember (and was comparing myself to) from my youth, with their "perfect" houses, all had 2 or 3 children that went to public school. I guess I could keep the house perfectly clean if that was my number one duty and I was home all day long by myself. Don't get me wrong, I know they had their own challenges, but trying to run a household with 5 children and one disabled husband, while homeschooling wasn't one of them. But still, I would doze off while nursing one of the babies, and then silently criticize myself later for not making better use of my time and cleaning, or grading schoolwork, or doing just about anything else once the baby had drifted off.
I shall endevor to remember this lesson for my own daughters. This was a wonderful reminder.