You Blutiful

My three-year old sidled up to me today, sticky fingers running through my not yet brushed hair.  ‘Mummy, you blutiful.  So blutiful.’  I smiled as I reflected on my girl’s words.  She looked at her mummy, probably the most precious person to her in her tiny world, and saw beauty.  There I was, not yet dressed, hair not yet brushed (but now fairly sticky), teeth not yet cleaned, church looming in less than an hour and my gorgeous girl thought I looked blutiful.

I didn’t feel blutiful.  Not on the outside or on the inside.  In fact I was feeling distinctly un-blutiful.  The morning had been on the stressful side with said youngest locking herself in the upstairs loo and proceeding to eat the toothpaste under the guise of ‘brushing her teeth’.  I managed to get the door unlocked to a room full of toothpaste everywhere with copious amounts of loo roll over that and a very proud three-year old who was oblivious to the chaos she had caused and justifiably proud of the fact she had brushed her teeth (and every other available surface).

Yesterday we had spent a lot of the day trying to rid our chimney of a bee’s nest, so chores which should have been done the day before were needing to be done today.  T and Gary had left early this morning to play a round of golf.  As T was unavailable for chores, the girls had assumed that meant they didn’t need to do their chores, much to the dislike of all seven of our animals.  So very unusually I had to cajole (read nag) them into action.   Gary arrived home, dumping shoes and the like in my newly cleared hallway.  I nearly cried.  Gary looked at me astonished.  Where on earth had his normally cheerful Claire gone.  It was only 10am but I felt like I’d been on the battle field for days, rather than spending a morning with my four girls.

I have been questioning my worth of late.  Not my worth as a human, but my worth as a stay at home wife and mum.  It is the first time in twelve years I have wondered if I might just be a better role model for my children if I worked and surely a more interesting wife if I had something other than children and school to talk about.

I am not enjoying the questions that come from the back of my mind, unwanted, unasked for.  I have always felt incredibly blessed to be at home and have found marriage, parenting, home schooling and being around my five fabulous children to be fulfilling, 100%.  And yet I have niggles right now, unbidden, poking me, taunting me.  What if…..

For a long time I didn’t share how I was feeling.  For a long time I wasn’t even sure I knew how to put it into words.  I thought maybe I would sound ungrateful.  Or something.  Last week, I happened to mention how I was feeling to a friend, who very wisely told me it was healthy to question, as often the answer will affirm that which was already known and renew a flagging vision of all that could be.

I made it to church this morning.  I even managed to get dressed, and brushed both my hair and teeth prior to going.  The sermon was about living an authentic life, a life which reflected what was truly important to you.  It made me ponder and also gave me some clarity.  I realised as I listened, that what one person’s authentic life looked like could be entirely different to another person’s and yet be no less authentic.  No less important.  I may have been sitting there in church having got ready in 5 minutes flat and with some sort of sticky stuff in my hair over which I did not want to dwell  (putting up one’s hair covers a multitude of sins).  I may have spent my morning wiping toothpaste off various surfaces in our tiny upstairs loo (who knew there were so many surfaces to cover?), followed by cleaning the downstairs one, all in my pyjamas.  I may even have felt a (tiny) bit annoyed when Gary messed up my lovely clean hallway.  I realised though, that all these things reflected well the life I wanted to lead.  The life I thought was important.  A life of being there for my children and for Gary.

Realising that and keeping it in my mind throughout the rest of the day, seemed to be multitasking of which I was incapable.  We arrived home and I made lunch, lay the table, got drinks….no offers of help.  Again this is unusual.  To be honest, I can truthfully say I often have more offers of help that my small kitchen can cope with and I have to shoo everyone out to make room to actually be able to achieve anything.  Today was not one of those days and at the table I was asked why I was so quiet.  How could I reply that I was questioning my very self.  That serving them all felt like one chore too many.  That I wanted to sit and read a book, have a hobby, take classes, see friends.  All the things they take for granted that sometimes  I find so hard to fit in myself.

Once the meal finished I retreated to my room quietly.  I wanted to have a pity party and no one else was invited.  I had forgotten to tell everybody else it was a party for one, as each and every member of my family wandered into my room to enquire what on earth was going on.  L did what I do to them when they are feeling sorry for themselves.  She reached up and gently formed a smile with my lips.  ‘I want to see a smile’.  I did exactly what they do back to me and gave her a fake half-grimace half-smile.  ‘No mummy, I want to see a proper smile’  Gary came in and took my hand and told me with his eyes and mouth how much he loved and appreciated me.  A5 poked me in the back, whilst T half lay on top of me anxiously asking if I was alright.  B3 clambered in-between Gary and I, her squidgy little body cemented down the middle of us, as she held my face.’ I love you mummy’, she said.  ‘I love you too, sweetie’  I answer.  A small, very real smile starting to spread across my face.  ‘I love you mo-wer,(translation – more)’ she counter replies.  I now have a big grin on my face, much to L and C’s delight and T’s relief.  I know where this is going.  ‘I love you mo-wer tooo’ I giggle.  ‘Not poss-ible’ she laughingly says in her lilting little voice.  She clutches my face and gives me a big sloppy kiss.  Gary and I laugh.  Everyone leaves, happy that all is right in their world.  Mummy is smiling.

And in that moment, I realise it is not about me.  It never has been.  Pity party over.  I am too blessed to feel sorry for myself for even one minute more.  I have my family.  They are enough.  And I, too, am enough, just as I am.

30 comments

  1. Thank you! Thank you for being vulnerable and honest! I could totally see myself and my family in your story! Many many time I have been there… and they, both my dear hubby and my sweet children remind me why I do what I do. Thank you for so elegantly putting it into words. Thank you for explaining the feelings and voicing the questions!

    1. Thank you for your response Shannon. I okayed the post with Gary before I published it as I wasn’t entirely sure I came off terribly well! Thing is, life sometimes can look all too rosy through the blogging tinted spectacles and I wanted to record the difficulties as well as the wonders.
      Thank you for reassuring me all is normal!

  2. Claire

    If it helps I constantly find you an inspiration and I too thought you looked beautiful today even if I only got to see you from across the church. We all have those questions and I often double check myself to see if I am on the right track if only God would do more of those big neon signs 🙂

    Anyway happy to offer any help to allow you for any me time it is totally healthy and definitely not selfish to want that!!!! How r the date nights going? Happy to come and sit with the kids for you any time Neil is home to be with ours.

    Loads of love

    Lx

    1. Yes, big neon lights would be so helpful, wouldn’t they?
      Thank you so much for your offer, you are very sweet! I wouldn’t dream of taking you away from Neil when he’s at home – that’s your special time!

  3. A beautifully honest post, Claire. Thank you for sharing.:-) I’d just like to add that I think it’s perfectly fine to feel less-than-blissfully-happy from time to time. It’s quite unrealistic to assume or expect anyone’s life to be one of rainbows and unicorns all of the time. Even saints have their own trials and internal struggles! The important part is how one faces these struggles and then gathers oneself up for another day, which you’ve done.

      1. It is so true that times of struggle are also times of growth. And you are right, no one’s life can be rainbows and light all the time. It would be nice though….!

  4. Hi blutiful Claire, you truly are blutiful, your post made me cry both because I could feel your pain and because I have been and still am sometimes there, Thanks so much for sharing you make us feel normal and we can pray for each other in this way,thanks for affirming that we are indeed really essential in this world that always want to send us to work instead of taking care of these precious souls, it is worth doing our best believe me , I am a little bit further than you and I can truly say it , much love to you and your family Myriam from blutiful switzerland!!!!

  5. ‘Nice to know that someone besides me has moments like this. Thanks for being so transparent. ‘Made me cry a little. Kids have such a way of helping us put things in perspective sometimes.

    1. Yes, the children all put a stop to me feeling too sorry for myself fairly promptly! Out of the mouth of babes…A3 somehow knew, all I needed was a bit of love!

    1. Thank you Ticia. I think you’re right, everyone probably does have their moments. I’d just never had that particular moment about being a stay at home mum. I’d never questioned it before. I still wonder where it came from? It seems to have gone now though, so I’m a happy mummy!

  6. I have tears rolling down my face. If I wasn’t on the other side of an ocean I’d come over and hug you!!! I think we all feel this way sometimes.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave the link. I will definitely listen to it tonight when Gary gone to bed (he goes early because he gets up at 4.30am).

      1. I listened to it! Thank you Qwen. It was perfect, I really, really enjoyed what she had to say. Very uplifting and just what I needed!

  7. I guess we all have days like that. So glad your family came in and gave you just what you needed. It is so easy to get discouraged and then to start feeling sorry for ourselves. It seems like all we do is for others and we find ourselves needed more than what we get. I have had a few, well more than a few, pity parties myself. Then I get over them. Thankfully.

    This is a beautiful post, Claire. You really have a way with writing. When you share such a personal story, I feel like I am right there with you. If I had been there, I would have given you a big hug and told you that you are an absolutely amazing wife and mother. Then I would have given you a big chocolate bar and your favorite soda. It always works for me!

    Hugs to you today, my over-the-ocean friend.

  8. Such an honest post and something that we all need to know and think about sometimes. I have miniature pity parties sometimes because of my daughter’s very restricted diet it feels like I do everything at home. But really, I earn no money so clearly I’m not doing everything. It’s just that my job doesn’t have set hours, but my job isn’t really a job. It’s a life with my family. I forget this sometimes and lose sight of how blessed I am.

    1. Looking at all the responses, I think everyone feels like this sometimes. And you are right, we do sometimes lose sight of what a blessing it to be at home with the children.

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