Disappointment

I was hoping to be sitting at my local coffee and wine bar, sipping on a pinot and writing to my heart’s content. I have looked forward to this afternoon all week, and even now I notice that last Tuesday afternoon from the wine bar was the last time I posted.

I have decided that, with Ruthie in preschool two mornings a week I have plenty of time to run errands with just Thomas, and was planning to dedicate my Tuesday afternoons to writing. I am thrilled with this arrangement as it relieves some of the anxiousness I feel when I can’t find time to write. “Tuesday is coming!” I think to myself. “I can hold off until Tuesday.”

Until Tuesday afternoon arrives, and rather than showing up at my door the babysitter is calling me on the phone. She can’t make it today. School commitments prevail. She apologizes, and we reschedule for tomorrow.

My heart sinks, and suddenly I feel trapped. I can’t leave because the kids are sleeping, and what’s worse – I’m out of wine. This was supposed to be MY time, and now I’m being robbed of it. My mind immediately goes sour and I struggle to avoid crying or screaming into the phone at the sweet teenager I adore.

But it gave me pause to notice how much I allow circumstances to dictate my attitude. I was in a great mood today – productive, cheerful, patient. I enjoyed the time I spent with Ruthie as she doodled on my tablet pc, and then as we snuggled before a nap. But as soon as my hopes of escaping were dashed, my heart went bitter.

Someone recently pointed out that, based on my blog posts, it appears I am unhappy in my role as a mother about 80% of the time. I didn’t really have a rebuttal to that, because I think maybe it’s true. But my unhappiness has little to do with my children. Rather, it is a symptom of a much deeper cancer of discontentment within my heart, a cancer that I feel is spreading throughout my body. I fear that I am so indulged in my discontentment that I will not find my way out until I have missed all the joy of parenting small children.

This is a cancer of the heart that I believe only Christ can heal. For me, discontentment and rage are closely linked, because both are triggered by my desires not immediately being satisfied. I am selfish and impatient.

The normal person in my position might say, “Darn. That’s a bummer. I was looking forward to getting out, but at least I get to go tomorrow.” But I attach way too much importance to my own desires, and do not trust God that he is able to meet my needs. God loves me, and he values my time, my sanity, and my talents. He wants me to be healthy and have time to myself. He is not some trickster god like Anansi, who pulls out the rug from under me.

It is faith, hope, and trust in God that I crave – that I NEED in order to be delivered from this cancer of rage and discontentment. I pray for the restoration of my heart, that I might default to Joy again.

From the dark basement of my home, this is Jen signing off.

9 thoughts on “Disappointment”

  1. And when I saw you in my news feed I thought to myself — awesome, the schedule went out the window but she still squeezed in some writing after taking the gang tot he park.

  2. Jen,
    I love your honesty. Each time you call out the rage and discontentment, it seems to loosen it’s hold – even if only slightly… at least it reads that way in your writing.

  3. >>>
    And when I saw you in my news feed I thought to myself — awesome, the schedule went out the window but she still squeezed in some writing after taking the gang tot he park.
    <<< Yes, the afternoon pulled itself together in spite of myself.

  4. oh, do i wish i couldn’t relate to getting hung up in desire…

    i want healing too, but I want to write the prescription.

    k.

  5. sorry you didn’t get your time alone and away today. i understand the disappointment. it’s hard to not be bitter about it. especially when it is a regularly scheduled time with your sitter. my husband is in law school, and i had to come back to work full-time to support that dream of his. when he leaves me stranded with our 4 year old, and i’m not able to get out on my own from time to time, i feel the rage boiling over as well. as a mother and a wife, we have to generally put so many others needs/desires before our own. so that leaves our in basket pretty damn empty! i think its okay to feel bitter and disappointed. i think when i was a stay at home mom, i actually felt that more resent towards my child. now that i’m out of the house (or “away from the scene of the crime” as my mom says…) it’s easier to parent. it’s hard. totally hard. i think our generation is finally coming to terms with what being a mother/wife is all about. my mom and my friends mom’s, they all just sucked it up and didn’t complain. our generation is so not built that way! and i think we’re better off being able to air our sadness, discontentment, depression, etc. it helps us move on you know? (or atleast be heard by others who can TOTALLY relate!)

    hang in there! i hope your sitter comes through tomorrow!

  6. HI JEN – Yes, this is ML, your auntie who loves you and has your NAME on my prayer list taped to my mirror. Besides that reminder of you daily, I do read your blog now and then. It saddens me, Jen, to read of the depth of your angst and how pervasive it seems to be in your daily life. When I was really down – for days – and only saw the “dark side” of life (usually those menopause years), I was VERY careful never to admit such things to my Mom (G’ma Leila, God Bless Her), because once when I did tell her, she scolded me soundly with — “MaryLee, you’ve got to pull yourself up” – and other phrases …
    I am NOT writing to tell you that either, because it doesn’t work! Just a word though, Jen, about what you are taking regularly to ease your mind, cut through the anxiety, top off your anger, and help you cope with the ups and downs of family life. Seems you are taking herbs and the like now; I’m concerned that they aren’t doing THE JOB for you as well as the prescribed meds you were on earlier. Think about this seriously, will you? I want better things for you, including indulging your wonderful gift of writing.
    How good that Ruthie is in pre-school a few mornings; she’s so ready for little friends with her energy. And the quieter time you have with just Thomas is grand for you, I’m sure. So hang in there, Jen.
    I haven’t seen your Mom — The Marge 🙂 — for weeks as we’ve been traveling and so has she. But the phone suffices. Lots of Love, Jen, to you and yours. Mary Lee

  7. “and i think we’re better off being able to air our sadness, discontentment, depression, etc. it helps us move on you know? (or atleast be heard by others who can TOTALLY relate!)”

    Muriel, I totally agree. I think the only way to survive as a mother – especially a stay at home mom, because of the potential isolation – is to cleave to other mothers. God bless the play group!

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