For those who have not been following me on social media, Little Boy Blue (a.k.a. Baby3) made his debut into the world a couple weeks ago. And, as is traditional with my complex medical history, I have been battling postpartum blood pressure issues since – requiring every-other-day trips to the OBs office to monitor blood pressure, facing the threat of readmittance to the hospital a couple times. When life slows down, I will eventually write about the birth and the following shenanigans; this post is not about that topic, though.
As I fight the blood pressure situation, which is getting lower thanks to the new blood pressure medication I am taking, I have taken a major step back from my “outside the family” commitments, and in the past couple weeks, have been able to observe a radical shift in my outlook on everything – from being a wife, to being a mother, to being an individual woman.
In the past, I have explored the importance of a vocation, versus other commitments and activities. In fact, last spring, our chaplain advised,
Your sacramental union is your primary vocation. Everything, including being a mother, should merely enhance that vocation. Your secondary vocation is being a mother. Anything you do outside of being a wife and mother should enhance being a wife, and being a mother. If it doesn’t enhance, then you need to evaluate your priorities – and, keep in mind what is going to get you to Heaven.
Since then, I have applied that general rule of thumb to all activities. I took a step back, stopped teaching Religious Education, and even scaled back my blogging. And, then, we were surprised with Little Boy Blue.
My pregnancy, while uneventful (until the very end), was miserable for my family. I was exhausted, faced morning sickness all day and night (although, I thankfully don’t suffer any severe consequences of said morning sickness), and was highly irritable. Highly irritable might, I confess, be an understatement.
At one point, I explained to my five year old that, “Hopefully, when Mommy is finished being pregnant, I will stop being so grumpy.” To which he responded his hope for the same.
I was quick to anger the entire pregnancy. Something I am not proud of, and something I have taken quite a bit to Confession, and to prayer.
Needless to say, the past couple weeks, since the birth of Little Boy Blue, I have focused on two things – my health, and my family. And, yesterday, I made a realization.
My chaplain is right – my activities outside my home should enhance my call to motherhood and marriage. And, I have failed to take that to heart in the past year.
Our family has another move coming up this summer. One of the aspects I love about being an Army wife is that every couple years, I am given an opportunity to regroup and refocus, to double-down on my efforts, as it were. Every time we move, I come up with a realization regarding things I have perhaps not done well, and other lessons I can take to heart and continue to implement.
I have continuously over-committed myself the past couple places we have lived. In the past two weeks, taking a step back to truly focus on my family, I have realized I have failed to be the best wife and mother I can be for my family, in an attempt to honor previous commitments. And, while my family has taken it in stride, I have been disingenuous with myself – convincing myself I was able to “do it all just fine.”
In reality, my family has, again and again, gotten my leftovers – the leftover energy I have, the leftover patience (or lack thereof), the leftover grace I am able to expend.
My children don’t deserve my leftovers. They run me ragged on their own, and have me questioning my sanity at every turn. I have deluded myself into believing my volunteering was saving my sanity; when, in reality, it was continuing to syphon my sanity.
My husband, the one I am certain will gain entrance to the pearly gates simply through his marriage to me, certainly does not deserve my leftovers. While the children drain my energy, and because we are getting about three hours’ sleep total right now each night, I don’t have much to spare. But, what I can spare has not been enough in the past couple years. I don’t have to spare a lot – it doesn’t have to be grand. Instead, what I have to spare is putting down my phone for dinners, listening to him intentionally when he is sharing about his day, and praying for not just him, but for our marriage. Prayers which currently may include maintaining sanity through the antics of three children.
So, as I gear up to begin packing and moving, I am analyzing my various roles I have spent the better part of several years cultivating. And, I am realizing I need to focus next on being a more intentional wife, and being a more intentional mother.
For, our vocation is our path to sainthood. We will earn sanctification, not by what we do for others, but by the experiences we have with those closest to us – to our adherence, devotion, and dedication to our vocations.
Earning our saintly stripes is not meant to be easy, either. Too often, we fall for Satan’s attempts to derail us – trying to convince us that marriage and motherhood should be easy all the time. He tries to trick us into believing we need to be the perfect wife and mother for the sake of perfectionism – not because the end goal is on eternity.
Yet, we aren’t called to be perfect in our vocation. We are called to have dedication and perseverance in our vocation. We are called to recognize when we could do something better, and then put it into practice.
Therefore, that is what I shall strive to do, come this new move – to be a better wife and mother, by being more intentional. To be a better wife and mother, by learning the fine art of saying no to outside obligations. To be a better wife and mother, by leaning in toward God, and asking His assistance.
How are you able to be a better wife/mother, or husband/father?
I’d love to hear your thoughts below!