You may have noticed that I’ve taken a little hiatus from blogging the past few weeks. It wasn’t my intention to drop the blog when I got pregnant, but then, I got pregnant. And let me tell you, the first trimester with two kids underfoot is a whole different animal. Mothers of multiple children have gained a new level of my respect. Nevertheless, I knew it was time to get back to blogging when, awakened by our nightly visit from Norah at 3am, I started writing this post in my head instead of falling back asleep.
I read on a blog somewhere (and I’m sorry I don’t remember where to cite it properly) that the first trimester pares down your life to two goals: feed your family and survive. Considering my gag reflex upon simply entering the kitchen, my mom’s incredible generosity in cooking for us, and Davy’s kindness in taking over everything else kitchen related, I’ve been able to focus on just surviving. Many other women have been sicker than me, and to them, I just want to say, Good job. You have survived well, and you kept your family alive too!
So, soon entering into the beautiful and glorious and wonderfully even-stomached second trimester will also mean entering into a new season of breaking the bad habits of “survival.” My kids have developed an unseemly love for saltines and TV. In fact, “Eat a cracker! Watch a movie!” has become Norah’s daily mantra, and Netflix’s continuous play feature is maybe one of the best loved inventions of the past year. I’m dreaming of a day of crafts and building and play, a day with no TV, and maybe fruit or veggies instead of saltines.
Now if you know me at all, you may know that this season of renewing my acquaintance with our couch has brought an ugly friend with it. That’s right. Mommy guilt. Especially as it is now December. Christmas time. The season of overwhelmingly nostalgic traditions and peppermint and chocolate. On a normal year I unintentionally hold myself to an unreasonable standard of tradition keeping, mostly because I love my family’s traditions and have gushy, fond memories of every single one of them growing up. So at the panicky realization that it was already December 1st, and I was still magnetized to the couch, and I hadn’t even gotten out our advent calendar yet, and horror of horrors, we were going to miss the first day of advent together, I decided to do what any sane person would do. I got out my phone and started browsing a home decorating website. This actually turned out to be a really good thing because I stumbled upon this article that really helped alleviate my mommy guilt. It was a list of pointers for the naturally disorganized parent to surviving the Christmas season, and one of the pointers was to Assess Your Conditions. Like, um, being in your first trimester of pregnancy. She said to use the phrase “not this year” to yourself, and you know, that made me feel so much better. Not this year. But there will probably be time next year. And honestly, my kids don’t even know that they’re missing anything.
So with that in mind, I swallowed my pride and my desire to make the best Christmas traditions and we did something everyone around here loves so much right now: we watched a Christmas movie. And instead of munching saltines, we drank hot chocolate (which is a bad choice for heart burn, by the way), and the kids loved it. It’s a good thing I let go of my advent calendar plans because as it turns out, my box of Christmas things seems to have been misplaced…
As I lay awake last night, I thought over and over about these last few weeks and my freak out response to being a pared down Christmas mom this year, and I realized it is really a pride thing. God is continually teaching me to shed my pride and this situation has been another opportunity. I’ve had to be helped so much, and I’ve had to admit to my kids my inability to be the mom they’re asking for right now. It’s been a challenge to not get frustrated with myself, or even with others who are helping me with the jobs that are typically mine. (Dear Davy, you are the most wonderful.) Even through hours of just trying to make it to my next nap, The Lord has been refining me and challenging me to sacrifice my pride.
See, the annoying thing about pride is that it paralyzes us. It keeps us stuck in a vicious cycle of how we think about ourselves and the world around us, and how they should all think about us. Pride confines us to its act-and-react rut, but humility brings freedom to our ability to respond with righteousness. It breaks the cycle and enables us to actually see circumstances and people and ourselves in a totally new light. It allows us to have fullness in a situation that is less than ideal. Humility brings a freedom to learn to enjoy, appreciate, and make the best of even a difficult struggle, without the stuff neck and offense that pride demands. I’m learning to shed this pride. Day in and day out, first trimester sickies or second trimester glow, God is challenging me to embrace the humility that is pleasing to Him.
And now, enough of this ramble. Apparently I had to make up for the time I missed by being long winded. To you, moms of multiple kids; to you, moms of one kid; to you, fellow pride shedders, may this Christmas season be filled with joy and peppermint and chocolate, and not even one dose of mommy guilt.