4 months in…

“Not sure sure how to explain this, but my nerves are shot already this morning. lol Each day is challenging. I am running Humpty Dumpty Daycare at our house 24 hours a day, and each day is different, each week is different, and it can mean 16 hours a day. Roy works so I am the primary caregiver. This morning’s surprise was having the Principal and a Social Worker on my doorstep unannounced to inspect the living arrangements for Elizabeth and Bensely and Mylah because I signed an avadavat stating they lived with us. Please keep us in your prayers. Tonight is our weekly family meeting where we hold her accountable on budeting, financial planning and goal setting. She was supposed to be moved out by June, but this is not happening unless she gets a really good job very soon. I have set a boundary with her that I will not be the primary daycare for 3 children this summer although I am willing to help out by filling in. (I don’t offer myself to my own kids to be their full-time childcare provider either.) She thinks now she is not getting the 3rd call back on the job she was interviewing with as the deadline was Monday. I am doing everything in my own power I can, and am calling on Holy Spirit to guide me daily, moment by moment, to help me keep my mouth shut when I need to and to be be able to make it through the really long days. This is not an easy situation for any of us. Of course, it has amazing moments as well. I just need ya’ll to hear me when I say, “Help, this is hard. I am tired.”

I posted the above message on a couple of private groups for women I am included on Facebook.  I received many encouraging messages and inspirational words of affirmation (my love language).  A young Christian sister who has 4 kids and runs her own business that I know from CR stopped by and brought me ice pops for the kids, flowers and a card for me and a package of a new chocolate chip cookie that is based on S’mores, for “whomever needed those the most”.  She wrote the verse on the inside of the card: And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast [a]about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. A young mother of preschoolers from church who is quiet normally has reached out to me and offered play dates and even to step up to babysit if I need it for a break. She barely is holding her head above water, and yet she is willing to help this 56 year old normally confident career woman, because she recognizes the look on my face when I blow into church late barely speaking to other people because I am  so flustered with the 3 small grandkids and myself. I look at my sister whose husband has been working out of town for 6 months and she has had to manage 3 small children all by herself 24 hours a day with a new sense of respect, compassion and camaraderie.  I used to notice all the stains on her shirt when she came into our weekly 12 step meeting. Now, I am just glad she comes and we have a new connection. I no longer am judging her.

What did I learn from this?  It is much better to share your struggle than suffer alone. It helps others. It builds bridges and it is healthy for me to realize that I am not above the strain of being the primary caregiver of young children. Even Wonder Woman has those moments where she can’t do it all, and amazingly, they just didn’t include that part of her life in the series.

 

Be careful what you pray for.

Here I am. 56 years old.  I finally get to stay home and not work a paying job.  I have dreamed of this my entire adult life.  I have all my basic needs met and can work on any projects I have ever imagined.  I found God’s gift of a husband at 53 and spend every day in gratitude for God’s provision of my heart’s desire.  But.  We are spending our days worrying about our 6 kids, and their 13 kids.  Both of us are in recovery for being codependent with our adult children. Specifically, one family seems to be falling apart at the loosely sewn seams. We fear the children are the biggest losers in the situation and I find myself praying, fussing, sharing, ranting, all about the innocent children caught in the firestorm of the unhealthy marriage.  So, here I am, now living with my oldest step daughter and her 3 young children.  I am cleaning up after messy kids and a messy adult, communicating with teachers, packing lunches, taking to appointments and arriving at church events angry, frustrated and looking like a mad woman, literally and figuratively.  I realize I have prayed for rain and now spend my time complaining about the mud.  I now spend my days coming up with ideas of how to motivate young children to comply with basic structure and my house rules.  Don’t they know how hard it was for me to get my new husband’s house in order and all freshly painted after his wife had been so sick with leukemia for 3 years before she died?  Don’t they know how I have waited my whole life to be a full time homemaker creating a beautiful home that is organized and attractive for “company”?  Don’t they know how I have always wanted to write a book and this is the perfect time of my life to write this book that will enlighten so many?  I am tired, I am angry with their mother for everything she has ever done wrong, I am overwhelmed with how little I get done now on my personal agenda.  I do well to get my husband and I’s laundry done each week, let alone prepare attractive healthy meals that are beautiful to Instagram.  We have found ourselves eating hot dogs and being grateful for them on some days. Ugh. I realize how all of this sounds.  How ironic my situation is. All I keep hearing in my head is “when you pray about a problem, you may be part of the solution.” I also keep remembering how I was a single parent once, and how awkward it was when I moved back in with my parents.  I remember how angry my mom always seemed to be with me and I was oblivious.  I was doing everything I knew to do, and yet she seemed to be watching me always noticing what I wasn’t doing.  Ahhhh….now I understand why she would “over react” with me and she seemed to be so angry with me all the time.  She had a list of expectations for me and I wasn’t meeting them yet she didn’t ever share the list with me. I couldn’t win. I had no idea what was important to her in that situation so I couldn’t comply. This time, we are using a family counselor and she is guiding us to have weekly meetings where we can communicate expectations and work together on the primary goal.  Helping her get back out there as an independent adult.