I complain a lot about my life. I may not complain outwardly, but inside I definitely struggle with contentment. Ever since I scored a 9 out of 10 on the Victim Mindset of a Beliefs Inventory, I’ve been much more tuned in to those times when I’m feeling somehow cheated of something.
This afternoon while on the Monotonous Machinery of Monotony at the gym I recalled an interview I watched of Sarah Jessica Parker on the Oprah Show. It was shortly after she’d had her son, and Oprah was oogling over how great she looked so soon after the birth.
Sarah blushed humbly and really tried downplay it. Then she said something to the effect of how she is fortunate to have the means to make it possible, that she can afford a nutritionist, and a gym membership, and a nanny to watch her kids while she works out (well, she said SOMETHING like that, anyway).
There was just something about the way she carried herself in the discussion that made her seem not so disconnected from normality — that she knew her reality was much different from the reality of many women who watch Oprah, and that at any moment she may NOT have the means to all these advantages. She seemed humble and content.
In regards to Bryan traveling so much, I’ve had a couple friends who also have small children gasp at times and say, ‘I just DON’T know how you do it,’ as if I am more capable of survival than they are. It’s funny how some perceive me as being strong, when I perceive myself as being weak for not having the strength to do everything a ‘good mother’ should be able to do.
For instance, I’ll share a few of my dirty little secrets so you, the Internet, will know that I am truly no Wonder Woman for living days at a time with two toddlers and no Bryan:
First of all, he is compensated well for his new position, affording me to hire a teenager who helps me out two afternoons a week. I pay her well, and she helps me with chores relating to the kids, such as laundry and keeping their rooms clean. Secondly, I work out at a gym several times a week, which is a great stress reliever, AND they have childcare available so I get an hour break from them for that. Also, I order a lot of take out because I often don’t have the energy to pull together a decent meal at the end of the day. And finally, I’m contemplating hiring a cleaning lady to come once a month because God save the Queen if I ever picked up a broom.
At any rate, the point of this reflection is that I am realizing how fortunate I am to be able to afford these luxuries that help keep me sane while Bryan is gone, and I recognized that I am not entitled to these things. They are not mine. They do not belong to me, nor do I have a right to them. These luxuries are a gift for today, and tomorrow Bryan may be unemployed and I’ll be selling all my wares on Craig’s List just to buy bread.
And you? If you ended up in my position, outnumbered by toddlers while your husband traveled, His grace would be sufficient for you as well. You would survive. You would find the means or the strength or the will to make it happen because it would be what you felt called to do. I only pray that you recognize his grace in that situation sooner than I ever did.
Today I repented for taking it all for granted, and for complaining so much about how bad I’ve got it.
I repented, because I really have it pretty easy. I know other moms who live in small apartments, or who have no car, or who can’t afford a babysitter so she can see a movie with her husband. When I think of that, I wonder what I have to complain about, and I wonder why these women seem so much more content than I feel.
When I think of this, I feel wretched for the way my mind has played tricks on me.
Lord, forgive me.