Friday, October 27, 2006

ADD Days

"I didn't have ADD before kids, but I developed it."

That's what the older wiser mother told our mom's group last week. I laughed, but that quote has been ringing in my ears all week! It seems like my kids have been talking to me 24/7 lately. While I've said before that that's a good thing, it's hard for this introvert to never get a chance to think my own connected flow of thoughts. I know some of you are gasping at my claim of being an introvert, but I recharge by being alone--and that time doesn't come easily to a wife of one, mom of six.

Last week my husband was gone from Monday to Thursday. While he HATES being gone and I MISS him when he is, the one redeeming factor for me is that I look forward to time alone at night after the kids go to bed.

Las week, that never happened. Every night the older kids were still up till 10, 10:30. One night at 10:00 I asked myself what had happened to the quiet evening I had promised myself of catching up on paperwork and email? Instead, I had:

--helped Bantam15 with his homework
--gone over history questions with Blondechick13
--helped Bantam7 and Bantam11 add gestures and steps to the audition numbers they're preparing for Cinderella (have I mentioned that B7 is just a bit excited because he's finally old enough to be in a show?)
--pulled Bitty Bantam off the table, off the dishwasher door, off the stepstool, off the chair, off the back of the couch...
--watched Chicklet do her "audition," read her a picture book, admired her painting, her dress, her slip, the tea party she set up in the middle of the kitchen floor, and how nicely she was feeding BB water with a fork
--checked to see which chores were done and hollered for kids to come and do the ones weren't
--talked with my husband on the phone
--straightened up, picked up, wiped off and put away things because that's my brain's default setting when it can't remember what I was doing/was about to do/should be doing.

Motherhood is a sacrifice, she said. It's hard when not only your body and your energy but also your very thoughts are constantly being hijacked by other people, even innocently needy ones. Jesus knows what a mother goes through, she said. He rarely got any time alone either without sacrificing sleep.

When he got the terrible news that his cousin, John the Baptist, had been beheaded, he and his disciples tried to get away from the crowds for a little while--but when his boat got to the other shore they were there--expectant, needy, thronging about him. Jesus knows what it's like to be a mother. He's been there.

We have his example to guide us, and when we screw up, we also have confession and forgiveness to give us a clean start. And there's the Holy Spirit, who actually resides in us and empowers us to make the right choices, if we'll let him.

A couple nights ago, I woke suddenly with a conviction that I had been a terrible mother lately--nothing like what I want to be. I thought immediately of the fruits of the Spirit and knew that I had been unloving, unjoyful, impatient, unkind (mean!), ungentle and uncontrolled. The next morning in the shower, as my tears mixed with the water drops, I made sure that I fully confessed everything to God. Then I got dressed and called my older kids to come and sit down. I cried a bit more as I confessed to them that I had been grieving the Spirit by how I had been treating them and that what they had seen in my life lately was the opposite of the fruits of the Spirit.

My honest, sensitive Bantam11 immediately said, "Well, Mom, we haven't been very good."

"That may be true," I said. (We all knew it was.) "But it's no excuse. I'm still responsible for how I respond, even when you guys make it hard for me. This has been a trial for me, and I haven't responded well to it. I really need your forgiveness."

They gave it, of course. The air was cleared, love once again covered a multitude of sins, and I'm glad that they saw me struggling to do the right thing, just as they do.

I'm still struggling. The kids are still up too late at nights, they're still talking to me 24/7, and I'm finding no time to catch up on all the things that are frustratingly behind in my life. But I feel less alone, less angry, more in control, more peaceful, more patient, more gentle.

I've even been able to pull these thoughts together this morning. It took time, but you know what? It's been a good remedy for Mommy ADD.

Now...back to the chaos.

7 comments:

Matt said...

Hey. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. By the way, I disagree with Teresa of Avila! Motherhood, indeed parenthood, provides the closest parallel to the unconditional love of God.

Wendy WaterBirde said...

I'm a fellow introvert, big time.

Our culture doesnt teach children to respect introversion, becuause it itself doesnt understand and respect it. But a mother can teach them about this, and I think that could be a very healing thing for their future as well.

Have you ever thought of perhaps explaining your introversion a bit to your children, and truly setting more boundaries like more quiet times? And even if the kids are up later, there can be a cut off of quiet time after a certain time, they might be awake but in their rooms reading etc.

I think introversion, even in a mother, maybe even especially in a mother, should be respected, and that this learned respect will help her children learn to be more sensitive and compasionate and aware of their impact upon others as adults. Well, thats my two cents worth anyway : )

At A Hen's Pace said...

Wendy--

You're right--part of the problem has been that I haven't insisted on a cut-off time at night. That's when my daughter really wants to talk, for one thing, and for another, sometimes we're still up doing "homework"--stuff we didn't finish during the school day.

Also, on paper, we're all supposed to have a quiet break after lunch every day, for everyone to read. But it hardly ever happens "for real"!

I hadn't thought about explaining the reasoning behind it as respecting the needs of some of us for some solitude. That's a good idea. Maybe it will help them own it too, especially if they have any introvert tendencies. (Surely there's one or two in the pack....)

Wendy WaterBirde said...

This all has reminded me of a post at Homeliving Helper, you may have already seen it, about how her children later learned to treasure the quiet times even though they balked at first, its here, http://thebluebirdofhappinesscomestotea.blogspot.com/2006/10/feasting-on-frugality.html

She used tea time. And others use going off and doing things quietly in solitude (children going off and reading etc. And another way I really like is this thing called "sharing solitude", and rather than explain that its easier to refer to a little post I did on that, here:
http://thehealingtable.blogspot.com/2006/10/table-of-quiet-togetherness-learning.html

In it I was using stuff from Leslie over at The Bower, she's another fellow introvert. Another one is Krina over at QueenHeroical, she has a post on it there too at
http://queenheroical.blogspot.com/2006/09/introverted-parenting-is-it-harder.html

Anonymous said...

How great is God's forgiveness, and what a blessing for me through many trials as well, Love, Pianomum

Islandsparrow said...

I need to have a quiet time-all my kids took naps or had quiet times after lunch. I didn't really cared if they slept, as long they played quietly in their rooms. And I always took a break then too - either to sleep or read. I never did housework. I heard James Dobson give that advice as a young mother and I took it to heart.

I know what you mean about the older kids - they really like to talk at night...what's up with that? If they get in the talking mood, I try my best to be in the listening mood - I learn a lot in those late night talks. And our time with them is so very short.

It's so good for you to model that openness and humility to them - that's the best kind of teaching.

Anonymous said...

That was beautiful and so true, so true. Hi, I'm Krina and Wendy gave me this link to read as she has read some of my very similar posts regarding motherhood and being an introvert. I am truly thankful God is with me and not against me, because some days I think I might just run for the hills. But I am equally humbled by how lovingly they forgive me and we somehow tumble on together. Thank you for sharing.
Praying for moments of quiet for both of us, Krina