The Visible You

We Spend Many Hours on the Driveway to Survive the Summer

Almost exactly six years ago I gave my two week notice to my former employer so that I could transition to being a stay at home mom. When I left, I wrote this long, pompous e-mail to everyone letting them know I wasn't just quitting my job to stay at home. I told them I wanted to be a writer and get the book that I had written published. This was going to be my great chance to stand out in the world. To be something. 

Because I couldn't just quit my well paying job to just be a stay at home mom. 

But then Alexandria happened. Her spicy, spunky, outgoing, energetic personality wore me down and wore me out. I was exhausted. I had a hard time keeping up. When bedtime came there was always a two hour ordeal and then when she finally went to bed, I was spent. After her there were two more pregnancies, and two more deliveries. Motherhood forced me to give 200% of myself. I could barely keep the house clean, do the laundry or make dinner every night without collapsing at the end of the day.

I remember at the Y a few months ago a guy asked me what I did for a living. I told him I was a stay at home mom. He stared at me for a long uncomfortable moment and said, "Is that ALL you do?" (The emphasis was his). I smiled at him, without apology, and said, "Yes." 

Being a stay at home mom is a blessing. I know there are people who would love to stay at home, but can't because they are a single mom or they need the money to survive or their husband simply won't let them quit their job. I am glad that when we bought our house my husband shopped for one that if I ever decided to quit he could still pay the mortgage with his salary. Staying at home with the kids was his idea and I honestly don't think that I could handle working full time and have two young kids. All of that being said, being a stay at home mom is the most difficult job I've ever had. When I was working outside of the home I could come home and write. I actually wrote two entire books the last few years I was there. Now I only dream of the day that I can start to seriously write again. I work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I don't get a pay check. I don't get a lunch break or a coffee break. My bosses never treat me to a meal and I don't get any awards. We don't have grandparents in town to help with babysitting, so I rarely actually get a legit break. My husband does a really good job of telling me what a great mom I am, but it's still nail biting, tiring and most days by 4:00 I want to pull my hair out. 


She wanted to jump rope on her way to school. Oh to have the energy of a six year old.

Mother's Day 2017

My Superhero Husband and Chance


Most days as a stay at home mom I feel invisible. 


And most days as a stay at home mom I feel invisible. 

It is one of the loneliest jobs in the world. 

Some days  I crave the time when I could go to work and talk to actual adults every day. When I could have a provider praise me to my boss. When I could laugh at inside jokes with co-workers. When people would smile at me and nod when I was walking to the break room. I crave being able to feel like an actual adult and put my big girl shoes and clothes on instead of wearing a uniform of snot and leggings. 


It doesn't help that the past few weeks have been insane. My 6 year old is out of school and my used to be cool, laid back toddler has turned into a 2 year old that cries and wants to be held all of the time. He throws a fit when I do not give him what he wants at the exact second he asks for it (cause moms are like "I Dream of Jeannie" and can just wink or snap our fingers and get exactly what he wants to appear out of thin air, right?). I cringe at the memory of this morning, when he was crying while I was trying to make a meal for a friend, who just had a baby, and I took him by the shoulders and yelled in his face, "Just shut up!!" Immediately I knew I was in the wrong and needed a time out. I ran to my room, shut the door, laid on my bed and just cried. 


I felt alone. Invisible. 

I was reminded from a book we just finished in our mom's group at church that that I *simply* needed to refix my center off of myself and on God. (*simply* not being as simple as it seems because we always get in our own way)

"In determining relationships we must begin somewhere. There must be somewhere a fixed center against which everything else is measured, where the law of relativity does not enter and we can say "IS" and make no allowances. Such a center is God. When God would make his way known to mankind He could find no better word than "I AM". When He speaks in the first person He says, "I AM"; when we speak of Him we say, "He is"; when we speak of Him we say, "Thou art." Everyone and everything else measures from that fixed point. "I am that I am says God, "I change not."
A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, pg 50

So I prayed to God. I cried to him. And for that still small moment I knew that somehow I would be able to get through the day. The two year old stopped crying (it wasn't the last time, trust me, but it did give me a breather), but even with how poorly I handled the situation, I felt centered. I no longer felt visible. 

I know it isn't just the stay at home mom who feels invisible. I've spoken with older friends who are retired or are working part time jobs. Moms that work full time and then come home to rush and make dinner for their kids and do long forgotten laundry with so little time left in their evening they barely have time to get their kids to do their homework and read them a bedtime story. Friends who work full-time and hate their job because they don't feel like they receive the recognition they deserve. Ones who are stereotyped and categorized by the color of their skin and nothing more. In all of this we are looking for the applause and value from people. People who often disappoint, often hurt, often feel looked over themselves, so they have nothing else to give. I know I, myself, am guilty of being that person.

There is a post on a blog I saved to read at a later time by Ann Voskamp. That later time (which was very timely) when I was sitting at a stop light waiting for a train to pass this afternoon. 

The opening lines were:

"Dear you, Dear Self and me and you and usReally, it’s all going to be okay. You’re going to be okay. Promise."

As I read on, tears began to spill from my eyes. 

"We all get to make one unforgettable mark. And every day, with every word, we get to decide: Do we mar the world, or mark the world? Why in the world disdain the small? It’s always the smallest strokes that add up to the greatest masterpieces. Because the thing really is: Do we ever really know which mark we make — that will matter the most? The extraordinary things happen nowhere else but in the everyday and today can always be the beginning." 

"Really, beautiful You: The most exquisite marks anyone makes with their life — are the marks done in secret. The mark that no one — but One — will ever see. And tell yourself this when you feel forgotten and invisible and unimportant: So the celebrities get their celebration here. But the wise are the hidden who hold out for heaven — and the applause that comes from GodThis is to choose the far greater."

I questioned myself. Why do I feel invisible? I look for applause and praise from people, but I do not realize that the creator of the entire universe - The ONE who sent his very own son to die on the cross for ME sees me. He really sees me. He sees my faults, he sees my failures, he sees the times that I get so angry or are rude or just plain mean. This God LOVES me and has picked me up. He has washed me off. He has given me a new name, "Beloved" and a new heart. He is my God and I am his people. 

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.
Ezekiel 36:25-28

No matter how invisible I feel, my number one biggest fan, who has all of the attention of heaven, tells me that I matter. 


No matter how invisible I feel, my number one biggest fan, who has all of the attention of heaven, tells me that I matter. Tells me that he loves me. Tells me that he sees me and he hears me. Tells me I am anything but invisible in heaven's eyes. 

Comments

  1. dorothy I understand. I have 3 best friends and sibs but I only talk to them on weekends and one of my best friends is my husband. The other one has lots of problems, 3rd one is far away. I forget that Jesus should be my all in all no 1 best friend but I forget. I think you do an amazing job with your precious family, and your blogs are so on point. I hope you one day get published from your blog writings and books. You are a true artist in words (as well as with your art!) Love, Heather Redmond

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    1. Thank you Heather. You are so sweet. That means so much coming from you. It's definitely challenging because the house can be so quiet sometimes or just noisy with children crying and such. It makes it really easy to get in your head and tell yourself lies. We have to constantly remind ourselves who's we are.

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