I haven't blogged much since Zara was born. I still feel like we're adjusting to having 3 little ones in our house. For me, pregnancy number 3 and the following months have been the hardest of all of our pregnancy to postpartum times. I had a healthy but stressful pregnancy. I just really struggled to find rest, and have since she was born. Mix that with buying our first house, packing, moving, unpacking, and one of the busiest seasons Neal has ever had with work and I've spent a lot of my days floundering. It's been challenging. There have been some really hard days/weeks. Anxiety. Lack of sleep. Fear. The list could go on. I am thankful for those who have faithfully checked up on me. There have also been some incredibly sweet moments. I am thankful for a husband who reminds me of the hope I have in Christ and that I can rest soundly in it.
Just before the holidays began Neal switched jobs. After we moved it very quickly became apparent that Caribou was no longer a healthy fit for our family. Simply put it was just too many hours for too little pay. His schedule was unreliable (understatement) and as I walked through the season I was in as a Mom we found that I needed more support at home. We are incredibly thankful for Neal's new job. He is home every evening and weekend. He has paid holidays. We know exactly when he'll be at work. Maybe best of all, his new job is very noncommittal, meaning he puts in his time and then doesn't have to worry about work once he's at home. This has been life changing for us. This is the first time since our wedding that Neal has had two days off in a row. Previously we had two options with his one day off. Either we could choose to rest well and then start the week still behind on various things that needed to get done. Or, we could choose to spend the day being productive and then start the new week still exhausted from the previous week. Weekends have been wonderful. It's been so nice to see Neal relax. I've watched his relationship with the kids become sweeter and we've experienced so much growth in our marriage. We are thankful.
Sometimes you don't notice the unhealthy aspects of your life until you aren't in the middle of them anymore. I don't know how we managed the past few years. I really don't. Neal was under an unhealthy amount of stress getting an unhealthy amount of sleep and working an unhealthy number of hours. I was parenting on my own in a lot of ways. Funny enough, I didn't even realize how alone I was until Neal was able to stay home more. So now we transition. We've found that as we 'white knuckled' our way through certain areas of life over the past few years we let areas of hearts harden. We're learning a lot. In some ways we're relearning how to parent together. In some ways we're relearning how to be a couple. In a lot of ways we're relearning how to love Jesus. We're both enjoying the rest. We're still failing a lot. We're undoing some bad habits. We are thankful.
Can I say something? Something I've thought about recently is how I'm so quick to judge the validity of someones emotions based on how I perceive their circumstances. If I think they have what would make me happy it's so easy to invalidate their sadness, discontent etc. What a shame. We miss so much real and honest interaction when this is our response. There were so many times when I rationalized my way out of asking for help. I'm happily married to a wonderful man. I have three beautiful, healthy children. We are living the lives we've chosen. We have a beautiful home. We love where we live. We have food on our table and are able to pay our bills. We have wonderful friends. And on and on and on. I would list to myself all of the blessings in my life and somehow come to the conclusion that I had no reason to be sad or to have a hard time. That's ridiculous. I needed and need help. Daily. No matter how ridiculous our emotions are, we should have the freedom and safety to deal with them; to disregard what is unnecessary and to surrender and heal through what is valid.
Feeling as if our emotions, whatever they may be, are invalid easily translates to how we view other people. "Oh Sally has children that listen, perfect hair and her house is straight off of Pinterest...and she still complains. What a whiner. Who does she think she is. If I had her life I'd be smiling from ear to ear 24/7." Have you ever thought along those lines? Oh comparison is such a thief of joy. It steals our compassion, for each other and for ourselves. Sometimes having compassion for ourselves is harder than having it for others. We're so quick to assume we're the only ones struggling. This is never true. In the past few months I've talked with multiple women about the harder parts of our Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter...okay year, and each time I've been given the same response, "Man. I'm so glad I'm not the only one. I was starting to think I was crazy." This is heartbreaking.
We. Are. All. In. The. Same. Boat.
Hang in there Mama. Days are long. Tempers flare sometimes. Smiles are weary and eyes are heavy. Hang in there. He is coming back. This is our greatest hope when we're so tired we can't see straight. This is our greatest hope when we are weak and failing. This is our greatest hope.