After feeding the Short Person this morning I brought two cups of coffee and climbed back into bed for some family time, and fell asleep. I dreamed that we moved, I'd told my husband to choose the new place without me, I hated it (it was sort of an attic crawl-space and our furniture wouldn't fit, for crying out loud!) but no one thought there was anything amiss and ignored my tears and distress. Dreams often present ridiculous situations, but the essence of this one revisited a conversation I'd had with my husband the afternoon prior. He said, I don't feel in control of my day or my week, so I feel out of control of my life. I said I felt the same, that I'd made all the decisions that got me here but now it feels like I'm living the wrong life while, from the outside, it looks pretty ideal.
Does anyone else feel this way?
The funny thing is, it brings me back to the topic of wishing I had a religion. We did choose this life (and must remember to be grateful that we had that choice to make at all) but its constraints make us long for the Life We Had Before. The LWHB, as we'll call it, involved long blocks of uninterrupted time, spontaneity, comfortable income, and quality togetherness. These have been replaced by scattered, frustratingly incomplete tasks and conversations snatched between resented chores. The change in employment has meant less than half the functional income and, in my case, no positive feedback for effort expended. We're both feeling like our tolerance is being pushed by all the "shoulds" with a dearth of good news and comparatively few "well dones" or "get tos" to replenish us. But there's no going back. Many religions provide support in forbearance, which would be grand, but what I've decided we really need is a paradigm shift in the way we see our obligations.
Some faith communities put great value in the honour of service. This is out of vogue in the Standard American Lifestyle, with its focus on self-gratification, which is why the Standard American Diet is so problematic. We don't have the SAL, we've ditched the SAD, but that leaves us at sea on so many things, including how to feel about voluntary self-subjugation.
I like Steady Mom's attitude that motherhood is a job and we can learn how to do it better by first taking it seriously. Our children do not interrupt us, they make their legitimate needs known to the people who are there specifically to provide for them. Our homes do not clutter or dirty themselves, and railing against the work of keeping them in order takes more time and energy than making and following a reasonable plan for doing it. The career years I have forfeited are few in my adult life but immeasurably important in the life or lives of my child or children.
All of which is great to remind myself of whenever I feel put-upon, which is about 7, 287 times a day.
Cleaning is one thing, but where - outside the church - to find coaching on wanting what one has when it feels simultaneously like a gift and a burden? Any resources you know of or have found helpful? Please share!