A few people have asked how I am doing with this pregnancy. Well, I've been sick, a lot! Some women have wonderful glowing pregnancies that never suffer any side effects of having another person overtake their bodies. I'm not one of them. I feel the result of Eve's sin every day of my pregnancy in one way or another. I'm the kind of woman that is nauseous all day, every day. I enjoy the mental and spiritual aspects of pregnancy, but the physical.... well let's just say I pray these next 27 weeks fly by!
The crazy thing is I've learned to function with it and have done relatively well. I have a mental list of things that have to be done daily. Important things, like feeding the kids and giving out medicine, those things always get done. Other things like having everyone dressed by a certain time, or sweeping the floor after each meal, those things are not as time sensitive to me anymore. If the kids get dressed before we eat lunch, That's good. If they get a bath everyday, that's even better. But the bath thing is true regardless of pregnancy status!
All kidding aside. I am learning that some things don't matter. My kids can watch TV while their momma is sick in the bathroom or recovering on the couch. Their brains have not rotted. Last night's dinner dishes can soak until the next morning.
Larry has done an exceptional job helping me with some of the household chores. He cleans the kitchen and makes the bed better than I do. It a side benefit of military college. And no one even thought of complaining when I said we were going to have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or chicken nuggets for dinner because the thought of touching raw meat sent me running to the bathroom.
A neat thing happened right after Josiah's birth. I read a friend's blog about giving grace to ourselves as we would others. In reading her thoughts on grace, a light went off in my head. I realized that as mothers we sometimes have unrealistic ideas of what we can and should get completed in a day. I try to wear that invisible cape, you know, it's the superwoman cape, the red one with a big W on it. It signifies that I am super mom, wife, housekeeper, friend, cook and cleaner. What do you mean you never thought I wore an invisible cape before? :)
If I went into your house, I would never think your house should be spotless or your kids dressed by 9:00am, that every meal on your dinner table should be homemade, have a meat, two veggies and a starch. But I did expect it of myself. I wear the invisible cape after all! I was sure that if a church member stopped by and saw the laundry unfolded or the floors needed to be swept and mopped that I would get a bless your heart look of pity. Boy do I hate that look! Then they would know, I didn't have a super woman cape after all!
Along this same time, I remembered a conversation that my mentor and I had long before being a wife and mother were even on the horizon. She said, "Angela, never apologize for the way your house looks. Focus on being the best hostess you can for the time people are in your home. Your real friends will never care about the piles of laundry. They just want to be with you. And your family is also included in the people you should be hospitable to."
It's hard to think of being a hostess to my children and husband, but I am. That's one of my many jobs. To make my home inviting not only to strangers and church members, but to my children and spouse. I love my mentor, and her wisdom, because she is so right. I was so focused on what others might think and what I expected of myself I was forgetting the most important people I act as hostess to, my family! The stress of keeping up appearance wasn't worth putting my family through a grouchy and sick Momma.
We had lots of visitors stop by around Christmas. And I was sick almost everyday in December. So some things just didn't get cleaned or done. Not one visitor made mention of my dirty floors or piles of laundry. They played with our kids, commented on our Christmas tree and spent time talking to us. Loving us and the holidays that had brought us together. Plus, Mommy was not as worried about things as was more pleasant to be around! Hmmm, There was a freedom and joy that I hadn't expected, but was so very thankful for. But more importantly, I spent time loving my husband and children, taking time to rest when I was sick and focusing on Christ, the reason for the season and giver of grace.
Maybe I don't need that invisible cape after all! Maybe just getting through each day, praying, loving, and laughing is really all I need to do. That, and feed the kids!