Thursday, February 3, 2011

Self-hatred = Bad thing

Darn it, I missed posting yesterday! So, to make up for missing a day, I'll try posting on something a little deeper today.

I had really gotten away from posting here for a couple of reasons. Of course, things have been really busy. But, more than that, I think I'm feeling ambivalent about a lot of things.

I have been feeling like I'm not good enough. You know the kind of thing (maybe? I hope?)--the house is a disaster, so I'll just wait another week or two to invite friends over, because I want it to be nice when they come over . . . so that day never comes. I want to get some funding proposals done to make my life at work better so that maybe I can eventually even cut back work dramatically for a while until the kids are older . . . but I don't want to call the woman at the funding source until I have the idea just right.

I'm not sure where I fit. I started this blog to have a place to (a) talk about infertility and (b) share my story of using NaPro (because when I started there wasn't this wealth of great blogs about it like there are now). So . . . where do I fit now? I feel in-between as a mom, too. I had managed to compartmentalize a lot of things into the "I'll think about that when I actually have to deal with it" category. Like when a friend challenged me in college about Church teaching on contraception, and I said I'd think about that more when it became an actual practical issue for me (not my finest hour as a Catholic, but I've come a little way since then). And, more to the point right now, I had this dream of being a stay-at-home mom and a dream of having an interesting career . . . And since the kids didn't come along until I was 35, I just kept on going on the career, not feeling too pressing a need to reconcile that contradiction. So, now, I feel guilty for the time I don't spend with my kids. And guilty (though, let's face it, not as much) and fearful about work--if I don't do a spectacular job on this or that task, will people assume it's because of the kids? Am I cheating my employer if I don't give the absolute best I've got all the time? And I feel less than the stay-at-home moms I know, especially the ones who are already planning to homeschool their toddlers when the time comes. I feel like I haven't prioritized my family like they have, so they must think less of me. And I feel less than the working moms who don't have the flexibility that I do with my hours and time off. I feel like they must think less of me because I should be grateful for the flexibility I have instead of resenting the time and attention diverted from my family.

And I get so mad at myself for not doing more. For getting distracted. For being tired and lonely enough that, when I do have some time to get things done, I end up goofing off online instead of catching up on work or on laundry or on Christmas cards (for real! They really are Valentines now) or finally posting that stuff I have to sell on e-bay so I can get it out of my family room and throw a party without being totally embarrassed--or just calling a friend (or someone who might be a friend if I ever called them) already!

So. That's why I haven't been posting. And the spiritual formation class and my improved (though still wimpy) prayer life are really helping. The priest who's teaching the class talked about penance vs. self-hatred (penance--good; self-hatred--bad (that's a joke--he said incredibly insightful things about both, but, you know, one is good when it's used properly, and the other's always bad)). I've had some wonderful experiences in prayer that make me feel like I'm starting to get this Relationship with Jesus thing that has always felt just out of my grasp in the past. This is all starting to answer the questions of where I fit and what I should be and what I should do, both with my life and with those few minutes I get to myself. But those are really big questions, too, and it's easy to get discouraged when I fall behind at work and the kids just won't nap and there's a mountain of laundry to do. So it's a work in progress. And I think one big step for me is to just be real and let others see me where I am instead of waiting till I'm finished.


Abigail said...

I like this post! I hope you'll keep writing,

The maintaining a connection between work and prayer is a challenging one for me and my husband. (We're both starting our journey as 3rd Order Carmelites.) My husband has really grown a lot in his faith from his engagement at work. Two saints that have really helped him are St. Isadore the Farmer, and the Little Flower.

I'm at home and I pray to St. Clare to help me with the laundry, Brother Lawrence (A Carmelite who said he felt no difference between prayer time and doing his kitchen duties, can you imagine?) and Mother Teresa.

I'm far from spiritual union where "work is prayer and prayer is work", but even moving slightly in that direction has helped me stay more cheerful during stressful times.

allyouwhohope said...

I like this post too.. not that I like that you aren't sure where you fit, of course, but I like your honesty and I think everyone can relate to what you're going through. I think as mothers we are so hard on ourselves. I go back and forth from stressing over not being good enough, to realizing everybody feels that way at times. And all those people who seem like they're balancing everything may not actually be. I bet people look at you and think you've got it all together! Glad to hear your prayer life is improving. I need to get on top of that myself :)


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