Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Move

This past weekend I spoke at a baby shower.
About a month ago, "Grandma" (i.e. the Mom of the new Mom) emailed me and asked if I would be willing to come and speak at her daughter's baby shower. And, of course, I agreed.
Because any time I am given the opportunity to share with mothers about the hope I have found in the midst of the struggle? I'm there!

As I thought about what I wanted to say to this new young mother, I was thinking back to how life changed after I had my first baby.
Do you remember?
For me, the biggest change was the move I had to make. Especially because I didn't even know a move was going to be necessary. Didn't realize Theory and Reality were such different worlds.
In Theory, I was a perfect mother. Knew what to do, what to say, and how to respond. Life was so easy in Theory.
*I read books which told me how to raise perfect children.
*I looked at my friends who were having babies - who seemed to drop off the face of the earth after their babies were born - and I thought to myself, I'm not going to do that when I have a baby. I'll be able to continue with a normal life when my baby is born.
*When I was living in Theory, I even thought I had the answers for other parents' questions.
Yes, life in Theory was so easy. I was sure this parenting thing was going to be a breeze.

But then I had my first baby and moved quickly into Reality.
I wasn't prepared for that!
No matter how hard a person tried, I don't think anyone could have prepared me for the world of Reality as it pertains to motherhood.

Because in Reality, all of my wonderful theories didn't matter much.
In Reality:
*I discovered I wasn't perfect.
*I began to wonder if the authors of those books even had kids. Or if they were just living in Theory, too.
*I struggled intensely - to the point of questioning God's wisdom in giving me children.

BUT, I learned that God lives in Reality, too. And out of His grace and goodness, He showed me how every single one of my struggles can be met by His strength.
It remains true, living in Theory is still much easier than living in Reality. But the fact is, I am in Reality and so is God. And I am trusting in His strength.

How was your move from Theory to Reality?



luvmy4sons said...

Well...having been raised in a dysfunctional home I knew what reality was. I had to go to counseling to even feel that I should have children. Working 3, 12 hour night shifts as a nurse while I gave birth to all four kept me blissfully unable to have enough energy to analyze it at all. Truly...the younger years were easier. It has been this shift to the teen years that has shaken me and awakened me and MOVED me to reality. My reality that hit me is that they are God's truly and not mine. That no matter what I do I cannot meet their need. Only God. I cannot pave out a perfect path. Only God. I have a whole new reality check for the meaning of "There but for the grace of God go I". Great post! Love ya sister! Thanks for encouraging all of us!

2Thinks said...

If only I'd had a theory. Or time to study up on one. Married. Baby. Reality. Pretty much all hit at once.

Ever since, it's been almost 100% reality. Even though I've often questioned, "Is this for real?!?"

Patricia/NYC said...

My road was a bit different as we adopted our daughter from China...as we waited to go & bring her home, I had no idea how old she was or where exactly she was in China, whether or not she was healthy,...so, that left a lot of room to "theorize"! ;) And theorize I did!! lol!

Once we met her & brought her home, I was plunked down into reality...there were many times when I thought there was something wrong with me because I couldn't soothe her or get her to sleep...finally, after much praying & soul searching, I realized that this child is not "mine"...we, as her parents, can guide her into being her own person...this is a child of God & He has allowed me to be her mother...he has given me the greatest honor & privilege to parent her...now, 4 & 1/2 years later, though we still have our "moments" (& they are mostly MY moments!! lol!), with God's good grace, she is one amazing little girl & the bond we share is absolutely solid! I know I could not have arrived at this point without HIM!!

Fabulous post, Karen!! Gave me lots to think about & be thankful for!!
Have a beautiful day!!

gianna said...

oh, how I went through the move. Oh, it was a painful one. I did not enjoy that at all, but it has made me a better resource for people with new babies. I have much more compassion and I am less quick to judge.
I totally did the "I will NEVER...." you can fill in the blank. And then I totally did that thing I said I would never do. Then, I felt even worse because I was a big hypocrite! OH, boy! But God has molded my heart and I love to be there for new mamas! and encourage them and hold their babies so they can relax. Because that in itself is a huge blessing.

Jerralea said...

Loved this post, Karen. As a mom that strugged with infertility, I had 10 years to perfect my theories. When our first daughter came and moved me into reality, it was quite a shock. But when babies #2 & #3 came, I REALLY saw the difference between theory and reality!

Amanda said...

This is such an interesting concept!! You should write a book on it! :)


Irritable Mother said...

Amanda - Must you really put such thoughts in my head??? LOL
I mean, I have been thinking about writing again. So I will surely play with this idea. *grin*

O Mom said...

I remember being pregnant for the first time and being scared to death.....What was I going to tell this new person? It was the first time I really read and searched the Bible, it was like I knew that whatever I knew was never going to be good enough. It was a reality check as to what was really important.

Irritable Mother said...

O Mom - So your babies sent you searching for God? That's awesome! *grin*

Angie Muresan said...

I was wondering how the baby shower went.
I grew up around a bunch of kids, so I had a bit of preparation before becoming a mom. Still, having my own was much more difficult than I anticipated.

Irritable Mother said...

Angie - The baby shower went very well. Thanks for asking.
Yeah, I had a little brother - born when I was seven (and a HALF - cuz that 'half' was important back then! *grin*) so I was big enough to help out quite bit with him. And that's one of the jokes I make in my Finding Joy talk - I thought having kids would be easy. I mean, I had a little brother, and that wasn't very hard!
Little did I know! LOL!

Sara K. said...

Karen, I'm so glad I stumbled onto your blog. I Googled "grace for moms" and voila... here I am!

My sons are 4-1/2 and 2-1/2 years old. To be very blunt, my move from Theory to Reality has been agonizing. I completely identify with your points -
- discovered I'm not perfect, not even close;
- wondering if the authors of those books are living in Theory (somehow I was deceived into thinking parenting would be a snap!);
- struggling intensely, wondering why God even gave me children.

I have been walking closely with the Lord for over 14 years, and motherhood is fairly devastating to me -- my failings torment me to the point where I can no longer see anything good in myself and my joy is gone. I don't feel loved/accepted by the Lord -- even though I KNOW what the Word says about His grace and forgiveness. How could He possibly accept me and love me after all the times I've yelled at my kids, and all the other ways I'm failing at training (the attitudes my oldest son has been displaying recently is surely evidence)? It is so painful.

These days I find it more comforting to read the Old Testament about the stubborn, rebellious Israelites (because God still loved them, although they did suffer severe consequences for their actions) -- where I find the New Testament condemning. How twisted is that?! I'm in a stronghold that I am struggling so hard to break free of... but I just don't know how. I just keep thinking/hoping I'll have one of those "ah-hah" moments with the Lord and He'll set me free by His truth... because I don't want to live like this!

In the meantime, I am so appreciative for moms like you who are honest & real about their struggles, and can show how God's grace has helped them persevere and stand victorious! I also appreciate your humor and I sense the grace of God in your writings. Yay God!

Irritable Mother said...

Sara - I am so glad you stumbled upon my blog, too! I can identify with your struggle on so many levels.
I hope you will continue to visit. Would love to walk this journey with you!