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You go above and beyond and then way beyond that
You do it all, yeah, you wear every hat
Hopin’ someone that matters will realize you matter
“Nothing to Prove” by Lonestar
Lately it seems that about once every two weeks or so I have a day where I get so overwhelmed that I just fall to pieces. Depression, exhaustion, and lots of tears set in and I just can’t seem to snap out of it. I question why God ever thought that giving me a husband or a child was a good idea, and I feel bad for my family that they have to put up with me at all. Obviously these thoughts are faulty, and I know that even as I think them, but sometimes the fog is so thick I just can’t seem to shake them.
Today was one of those days. (Invariably it seems that this usually happens on Saturdays because subconsciously I know my husband will be there to pick up the pieces when I fall apart.) It was 9am and I had already gone back to bed where I wanted to stay for the rest of the day. But I knew that exercise was the one thing that would provide some relief from the depression so I forced myself to the gym. So as I was walking laps, this song “Nothing To Prove” came across the iPod.
The truth is that I know I have nothing to prove, and yet I do it anyway. What struck me about the above phrase was that the “someone who matters” who needs to “realize [I] matter” really is simply myself. I put impossible standards on myself and get frustrated when I fail. I infer that I’m a failure from the tiniest comments that others make when all they were doing was simply making observations about life that assigned no blame or fault. *coughcoughhusbandcoughcough*
Thankfully the exercise and music therapy helped enough that I was able to slide out from underneath the cloud of depression. I stopped by the store for groceries, came home, showered, made a salad, watched TV, did “school” with Ezra, did playtime and painting with Ezra, gave Ezra a bath, made brownies, downloaded printables, printed and laminated said printables, cut out said printables, and made dinner (with a few diaper changes, toddler-potty stops, and toddlers snacks in between).
And as I sat down at the table (with a splitting sinus headache) to my microwaved frozen broccoli and pre-made hamburger (we went for gourmet tonight!) I was hit with the realization that I do a LOT, for myself and my family. And what do I do? I spend most of my thought processes obsessing about what I don’t do, what I can’t do, or what I didn’t do but could have. So, in an attempt to realize I MATTER, I’m going to list the things that I do. If you are reading, you don’t have to read through this list…you can, but I’m not writing it for you, I’m writing it for me.
- Record purchases, debts, and saving distributions in excel budget spreadsheet
- Pay bills (via internet and snail mail)
- Manage other financial stuff (putting money into savings accounts, financial planning, etc)
- Organize financial, household, vehicle, Army, and medical paperwork on a quarterly-ish basis
- Wash dishes, general cleaning, sweep and swiff floors, scrub bathtub, scrub toilets and sinks, vacuum, wipe cupboards and appliances, dust, kill spiders, change lightbulbs, change hepa filters, change air filters, change sheets on two beds, declutter, organize toys, and a plethora of other household maintenance tasks
- Plan meals (ish)
- Cook meals for three people on three separate eating plans, attempt to reconcile eating plans as much as possible
- Maintain grocery lists, attempt to use coupons every once in a while, and grocery shop
- Keep tabs on supply (and buy when out of) personal care items like diapers, wipes, shampoo, soap, toilet paper, toothbrushes, and toothpaste for three people; household items like laundry detergent, soap, dishwasher detergent, green scrubby pads, and white vinegar; and office items like stamps
- Laundry for three people…nuff said
- Change diapers
- Take him potty (both at home and abroad)
- Make the “what-to-wear” decisions (what clothes?), (pullups, sposies, cloth, or underware), (sandals or tennis shoes with socks)
- Dress Ezra after above decisions have been made
- Turn on TV shows (I’m really good at that one)
- Scout out play ideas and craft projects, buy and maintain supplies for said projects, do said projects with Ezra, clean up Ezra and play area after said projects are completed, take pictures of doing said projects, post said pictures on Facebook, and occassionally blog about said projects
- Scout out printable and educational materials for “school time,” download said materials, print and laminate said materials, organize said materials, engage Ezra with said materials, put away materials when we are done
- Nurse 2-4 times a day
- Try to remember to brush Ezra’s teeth
- Decide what Ezra will eat for three meals a day and snacks, prepare said meals, put Ezra’s bib on, assist in feeding said meals and snacks, clean up baby and feeding area after said meals and snacks
- Pack diaper bag for every outing, including labeling items for childcare and filling up juice cup with juice
- Take walks, cuddle, read books, engage in conversation
- Arrange and take Ezra to play dates
- Arrange childcare when needed
- Drop Ezra off at childcare at places like church and gym
- Get Ezra in and out of car every single time
- Administer medicine and taking Ezra to the doctor when sick
- Discipline child
- Research developmental things like introducing solids, nursing, potty training (or whatever the current issue is)
- Look into local activities
- Constantly clean out old clothes and buy new clothes for growing boy, organize old clothes in bins, put bins in storage
- Make sandwich for work and/or pack entire lunch depending on schedule
- Do laundry
- Arrange dates
- Listen, encourage, answer phonecalls and text messages throughout the day
- Have sex
- Remind about my schedule
- Cuddle, watch TV together
- Look for ways to involve Russ in Ezra’s life, playtime, etc
- (additions from Russ)Constantly remind him where to find everything even though he has asked me where the ladles go every time he gets them out of the dishwasher, and attempt to do it consistently with a patient and loving spirit.
- Balance his ever shifting emotional state based on how much anxiety he is dealing with at the moment.
- Reassure him that he is loved and a successful daddy and husband when he feels like he is a complete failure.
- Make him appreciate me by doing those million little things I don’t even realize I do but are the things that make him love me the most.
- Take and chart temperature daily for fertility purposes
- Take nutritional supplements and allergy medications daily
- Gym 2-3 times a week, walks on occasion
- Schedule personal time for blogging and writing
- Schedule get-togethers with friends, attend said get-togethers
- Take and edit photos
- Maintain this blog (plan future posts, edit photos, uploading photos, writing, compiling, tagging, publishing, updating networked blogs on facebook, maintaining blog facebook page, exploring other options for blogging purposes)
- Maintain a personal fb page
- Work on personal writing projects and journaling
- Talk with and encourage FB friends
- Constantly organize email inbox (reading toddler play blogs, keeping up with fb-friends-no-longer-but-i-still-love-them people’s blogs, responding to personal emails, sorting out junk email, saving recipes, printing coupons, reading news articles)
- Bible reading
- Shower, shave legs, dress, put hair in a pony tail, and do makeup on Sundays
- Schedule appointments, maintain calendar on my phone, print off monthly calendar for fridge
- Attend chiropractic, therapy, and allergy shot appointments
- Research and schedule vacations and trips
- Take (and make) personal calls with immediate family members on an almost daily basis, especially on holidays and birthdays
- Call grandparents once a month
- Work on reading one of the 10ish books I’m currently reading
- Work on personal craft and decorating projects like deployment scrapbook, hanging photos on the wall, etc
- Research things like healthy eating, recipes, personal health issues, fertility, etc
- Dream about the bazillion other things that I want to do
- Teach piano lessons
- Attend church weekly, choir practice when possible, sing in church choir
- Research possible places to live, jobs, and other misc stuff for possible future post plans
- Attend MOPS and PWOC during the school year
I’m sure I missed a lot of things.
When you have this much on your plate, and probably at least 30% of this stuff is on my brain at any given moment, I guess it’s easier to understand why I occasionally shut down, why I wonder why I can’t keep up. I definitely don’t give myself enough credit.
And I matter.
It’s just up to me to realize it. To look at what I have done, to look at what I do all the time, and to realize that I’m doing okay.
But even if I didn’t do things things I would still matter, and I would still be okay. I don’t matter because I do a lot. I matter because God says so. And to look BEYOND all of that, beyond what I do to who I am. If I just sit around “hopin’ someone … will realize” I matter, then I am literally burdening myself with someone else’s problems. I know that I must seek the approval of my God and of my husband, and the latter reminds me all the time that both of them think I am doing just fine. If this is so, then it is up to me to value myself appropriately, the way that they do. To accept their acceptance. It is hard for me to put a lot of value in myself, because most of the time I just don’t believe it. But if I don’t say that I am valuable when my God and my husband do, I am calling both of them liars. I can’t continue to grow in the sunshine of their love if I am always under the shade of my own low self-worth.
So to all the women out there who feel like you can’t keep up with your own life and you are barely holding yourself together…to all the women who are burdened down with diaper changes, therapy appointments, sick children, meal planning, and middle of the night skype conversations, I challenge you to make a list like this to realize how much you do each and every day. Take a second to pat yourself on the back. Then take the list and tear it up, and realize that no matter what you do or don’t do, you are valued and you are loved.
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels,
nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
[Nor potty training, nor fights with your husband, nor 100 degree heat, nor temper tantrums, nor hamburgers for dinner, nor Ezra watching too much Thomas the Tank Engine, nor lack of sleep]
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature,
shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.