I have always hated the saying, “You can’t win them all.”
In the interest of transparency, I admit that I am a recovering people-pleaser. I hate the idea of offending or upsetting anyone. I sometimes lay awake at night wondering if I could have phrased something better or if I should have handled a situation differently. Years after a negative confrontation, I can still feel my ears heat up when I think about it.
All this to say, I very badly want to win them all. I want everyone to like me, even though I know that’s not a realistic expectation, especially when I share my personal thoughts on a public platform. That’s just the life of a blogger.
I was curled up next to my husband under a blanket wearing my cozy pajamas, and I felt so good because I knew that I had loved my babies well that day. I had defused multiple meltdowns, managed not to lose my temper, and spent over an hour playing in the floor while my toddler filled the house with belly laughs and my baby cooed and gurgled.
That moment felt so amazing because of its rarity. The truth is that those days are few and far between. More often than not, I end the night frazzled and wondering if I expressed my love well enough.
When I was in college, I helped chaperone a youth trip to a Christian conference.
During a night of worship, one of the girls on the trip burst into tears. I walked with her outside of the room so that we could talk and, as she began telling me some of the heavy things she was struggling with, I asked, “Lord, what do I say?”
You know who might not be the best candidate for spreading the Good News? Someone who is perpetually expecting bad news. I’ve been there. I prefer to call myself a realist, but the truth is that I am often cynical, expecting the worst from people and situations. I let my past hurts and disappointments color the way I see the things around me.
Most recently, as I prepared for the end of my maternity leave, I found myself stressing out over all of the unknowns and coming to the worst possible conclusions: We aren’t going to be able to find a good daycare. He’s not going to take his bottle. There’s no way we are going to pay off all of these medical bills.
A few days ago, while I was in the middle of one of my pessimistic breakdowns, God revealed something to me:
Pessimism is viewing the world through our own scars instead of His scars.
Life with a toddler is always interesting. It’s the age where children are learning to express their thoughts and emotions, but don’t always understand how to reason through them. It’s the age where the wrong sippy cup can lead to a meltdown and every simple yes or no decision can take half an hour.
Last week my two-year-old told me she was starving, so I laid out a spread of her favorite foods: turkey, apples, cheese, sweet potatoes, peas, and blueberries. Naturally, the “starving” toddler took three blueberries and one piece of cheese and decided that was all she wanted. Not ten minutes later, she looked up and said, “Mommy, I’m still hungry.”
When my daughter was born, my mom told me to soak in every moment because one day I would wish I had them back. I started writing this poem that night and have added to it over the past two and a half years. Our son arrived two weeks ago and as I watch his big sister hold him and love on him, I can’t help but read back over this and remember the night I first became a mom.
Two and a half years ago when our daughter was born, it was like my world collapsed. I assumed the extreme highs and lows were just part of being a new mother, and I had no idea that I was suffering from postpartum depression.