So far, summer 2012 can be summed up in one word: Busy.
We had a moving sale at the end of May, followed by harvest where I was in charge of meals, followed by my sister-in-laws’ wedding where I was the coordinator, followed by Vacation Bible School where I taught a group of 4-year-olds, followed by another moving sale, followed by packing boxes, closing on our house, moving, unpacking and re-settling our family.
As separate events, all the items on the above list are good things. Combined into one crazy summer with event after event following on the heels of the one before, however, has led to a talespin of Looney Tunes proportions…you know, the episode called “Fallin’ Hare” where a gremlin tries to get the best of Bugs Bunny, leading to a bomber plane heading nose first toward the ground…
All ends well for Bugs and the gremlin, as the plane runs out of fuel, stopping mid-fall right above the ground. But, we all know life doesn’t suspend reality like that. Instead, me running out of fuel has stranded me right in the middle of the infamous “survival mode.”
And how, exactly, do you know if you are stranded in survival mode?
Well, it might seem, on the surface, different for everyone. For the person who works 60-plus hours each week in the office, it might be getting through the next project. For the person waiting on rain to water crops, it might be finding “busy work” to keep thoughts away from drought. For new parents, it might be living for the next opportunity for a nap.
And for me, as a wife and mom, it’s trying to appear normal to the outside world (and not yell too much).
It’s becoming easier to act like everything is under control, while all the while missing the passion and joy I long to have for the work I do every day. And that’s scary, because who wants to have a newborn (in less than two months!) while experiencing burnout?
Providentially, another young mother has been experiencing the same feelings in the last weeks. And she braved tears recently to share her feelings with others. And I am so thankful for her openness.
By letting her guard down, she opened the door for other people, particularly other moms, to not only publicly encourage her, but privately encourage the rest of us who are struggling through, not only parenting, but any situation involving survival mode.
That young mom’s words broke down some barriers. But it also made me examine why the barriers are there in the first place.
At least for me, I want to be strong in my parenting skills. I don’t want others to think I’m lacking in knowledge and understanding, so I try to appear unshaken. Above all, I don’t want to be judged for the places where I am still learning and growing. For the places where I still make mistakes. So I keep plugging on. And I lose something with each step.
But I don’t need to.
With the overwhelming group response to a young mother admitting her need for help, I know support is out there. In fact, when asked who the young mom could call for a listening ear, many women, all with years of parenting experience, raised their hands, some shedding tears themselves.
I’m sure those tears were brought on by the memories the women have of their own years as young mothers. The successes and failures haven’t been forgotten.
And there are many things to share.
So let’s munch on some carrots and really mean it when we ask, “Neyah…what’s up Doc?”