You should purée your baby’s first tastes, save the world and your baby’s butt with cloth diapers, and put your baby to sleep on her back by 8. Thank you, parenting articles everywhere! But where is the 10-step list to holding it together when your life is in shambles?
I am doing my best to navigate being a mom of a two-year-old who needs holding, snuggling, chasing, tickling, laughing, singing, spanking, and loving. Mom of a two-month-old who needs nursing, rocking, sitting, praying, and special care taking. And wife to a husband who is facing the most difficult days of his life and needs hugging, listening, supporting, and encouraging.
All of this thousands of miles from home. Countless days from familiar faces. Memories away from comfort. And too many sandwiches since a home cooked meal.
Undoubtedly, I am leaving many things undone. When I choose to take Audrey to the zoo one morning for a special treat, gnawing guilt takes over that I’ve left Annie lying in a cold hospital bed. When I sit with Annie till late into the night, gnawing guilt whispers to me that I’m missing Audrey’s bath and bed time. When I sleep comfortably through the night in my Ronald McDonald house bed, gnawing guilt haunts my dreams of Annie being bottle fed every three hours by a stranger because I’m not there to nurse and nuzzle her back to sleep. When I haven’t hugged my husband at the end of the day, gnawing guilt tells me it shouldn’t be this way.
And then fear jumps through the door that guilt left gaping open. I fear I’m not brave enough to mother a heart child. I fear I’m not strong enough to bear the burden for my family. I fear I’m not energetic enough to raise my toddler. I fear that this life, this story that God is writing, would’ve better been anyone else’s.
“You may feel unqualified, uneducated, untrained, and even unworthy. Yet those are excellent qualifications for God to do a mighty work.” -Charles Swindoll