Wednesday, August 11, 2010

LIFE LESSONS- Tales of a Domestic FAIL and Why I Started this Blog

"The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself,"- Anna Quindlen

Is there really any job out there that's better at making you feel inadequate than mothering? Or maybe it's just me?... Anyone..., anyone out there feel the same way? From the moment I laid my eyes on my Big Boy, I felt both unimaginable love, yet also, incredible inadequacy. No one warned me about the feelings of guilt that would creep in at night before I hit the pillow; no one wrapped up "Advice about Inadequacy" in cute little ribbons with baby pins attached to it- yet here I was at a complete loss of words to describe what I was feeling. But maybe again, it's just me...
Before I became a mother I was an educator, a writer, a reader, a photographer, a dreamer. Somewhere between seeing a pink plus sign and blowing out that first candle, I became just "a mother." Now don't get me wrong, being a mother is the most wonderfully glorious, amazing gift that there is and I am by no means belittling the insurmountable task of raising another human being , but what I am saying is that often, along the road of mothering, we as women (or maybe again it's just me), lose ourselves- our true selves that make us capable of mothering. Let me try to explain. When I first had Big Boy, I continued to work outside of the home and so still had my "teacher identity" along with my "mother identity." My other loves and hobbies might have been overshadowed by my "mother" self, but I still had that teacher role to fulfill. After the birth of Little Man, I was blessed to get the opportunity to stay home full time with both of my beautiful boys, and yet six months into my "domestic life," I was honestly kind of miserable.
You see, what happened is that the moment I became just a "stay-at-home" mom, I expected that all the areas of mothering that I felt guilty about- all of my mothering inadequacies, would just magically disappear now that I had the time to work on mothering full-time. So when my house was still unorganized; the laundry still wasn't done; I STILL hadn't_____ (you can fill in the blank with any number of things that SAHM's are "suppose" to do), I felt both terribly inadequate and guilty for not being the "perfect" mom.
I grew up in a "Martha Stewartish" home where all things domestic came naturally to my mother and she flourished and glowed through that opportunity. I, on the other-hand, am completely opposite of Martha- Housekeeping-FAIL; Meal-planning- FAIL; SEWING-FAIL, the list could really go on and on, but we'll just leave it at Basically, I'm a domestic fail. The domestic life just doesn't come naturally to me. Something that God is starting to remind me of though is that although I may feel "inadequate" I am never inadequate in His eyes. He designed me in a particular way so that I could mother my boys just the way that they need to be mothered. He chose ME to be their mother based on those qualities that do come naturally to me such as reading, writing, spending time outdoors (I'm also seeing a pattern as to why I only have boys). AND He's here to hold my hand and make up for the areas that I do lack because ultimately, my children are HIS.
SO, I'm working on finding my own voice again to strengthen my mothering; to realize that I'm never going to be that woman that "has it altogether," and to be ok with that. Now that's not to say that I'm not trying to learn and get better at areas like meal-planning, house-cleaning, etc., but it is learning to accept the fact that it's OK if I'm not perfectly domestic.
I'm working on becoming my true self- being honest with myself about my strengths and weaknesses and not fretting over the areas that I lack in; being able to truly celebrate moms/ women that do flourish in areas that I lack, yet not be intimidated by them.
Thus my journey begins and the reason for my blog- to find my true self in light of WHO God made me to be and in light of His Grace and Mercy that allows me to be an imperfect mother.
This blog is my attempt to "think out loud" and renew my love for writing while sharing things that I am passionate about. It's more for me than anyone else (but maybe I will encourage someone else along the way).
In the end, it won't matter to my boys if their house was particularly organized- the laundry neatly folded into piles- their rooms decorated just so; but what they will remember is how their mother loved them and I hope finding myself again will enable me to love them better.
I can't go another day comparing myself to______, or beating myself up because my house isn't as clean as I think it should be. I could waste my whole life never to obtain that level of perfection and miss out on the small things that make my life so truly blessed- the kisses; the smiles; dirty knees- the love of boys that seem to have been in my life forever, yet yesterday all at the same time... I don't want to waste my life feeling inadequate, but again, maybe it's just me...


  1. Good words, Robin! I'm looking forward to more! We are so proud of you and your family.

  2. Thanks, Debbie! That really means a lot :)

  3. Robin, I love your writing and your honest. I can SO relate...I think I could of wrote the same exact words. I also feel like a domestic failure all to often and mother sometimes feels like one big guessing game. I am terrible at keeping the house in order but I try and my cooking/meal planning is a JOKE. I too grew up in a house that was mere perfection everything always in it place, neatly decorated and so on. I all to often find my self feeling like a failure because my house does not reflect my up bringing at all and I am actual embarrassed to let my own family into my house for fear of being judged by their oh so neat standards. But I have came to the conclusion that people with perfection on the outside are all to often anything but on the inside. People with immaculate houses have to spend more time cleaning than spending time with their children. I have decide my kids come before housework because one day soon they will be all grown up and there will be no more dirty finger prints all over the walls or muddy footprints about the house. The toys will be gone, the house will be clean and quite and then I will miss this terribly wonderful mess.

  4. Sorry about my typos I meant honesty and mothering in my first few sentences there. Its kind of hard to type in the few minutes you have between taking care of 6 little ones :)

  5. Love this:
    "Somewhere between seeing a pink plus sign and blowing out that first candle, I became just "a mother."
    Favorite line!

  6. Britt- It's amazing to me that you can type AT ALL with 6 little ones running around- for real- I would JUST be surviving :)

    Jenn, thanks! :)