I have been a performer my whole life. At three years old I could smell a camera like a dog smells bacon. I was always “on”. Even in my room, by myself. I would pretend like I was the star of a TV show. As I grew older, I found myself getting parts in plays and musicals. Solos at church. Making the audition choirs. A lot of times it was probably because I was the only child that didn’t have stage fright. In fact, I had back stage fright. From the age of three to the age of twenty-three, I have been on stage.
If no one can see my talents, do they exist? If no one shares in my victories, did they matter? If no one hears my voice, why speak?
For the first time in my life, I am backstage.
Being a mom requires me to be behind the scenes, often alone, away from the makeup and beautiful costumes. Away from the applause. There is no standing ovation awaiting a successful diaper change. (She did it without getting poop on her hands ladies and gentlemen, and the crowd goes wiiiiiiiild.) There are no tears but my own after an emotional moody baby sucks out all the energy and joy I had. No roses. No “Break a leg!” before you go into the nursery to put the baby down for a nap.
I’ve been irritated with my darling husband lately. He is not as emotional as I am. So I often feel that I’m being ridiculous when I “lose it” after a hard day. He doesn’t spend as much time with Olson as I do because his role as a father is to be the provider right now. So he can’t understand all that I go through in a day no matter how much I flail my arms and raise my voice to express my stresses and frustration.
YET, I KEEP TRYING.
Trying to explain to him what it’s like to be a mom. What it’s like to talk to only a baby for hours on end. What it’s like to spend an hour cooking a meal and only enjoy eating it for 10 minutes. To need to exercise desperately but also be desperately sleep deprived. To want to enjoy your child but also enjoy a clean organized home. To sweep the kitchen 3 or 4 times a day because your baby keeps eating any and every piece of crumb on the floor. To want to quit it all.
And I’ve had to face a very difficult truth. I don’t like being backstage. I don’t like dealing with my frustrations all by myself. I want others to see the pain I’m experiencing and comfort me. Especially my husband. I want him to know and acknowledge how hard I’m working and think I’m amazing. I want to impress him like I impress audiences. I want him to know that what I’m doing is meaningful like when I sing to the Lord and move the hearts of those watching.
I need affirmation. I need to be told that I’m doing well. Maybe it’s not enough that I think I’m doing well. I must find worth in what others think about me instead of finding my worth in who I was created to be.
It can’t be just that.
I’ve struggled with caring too much of what others think of me my whole life. And now it’s seeped into my marriage and parenting. Mommies definitely deserve sympathy and comfort from their husbands. Don’t get me wrong. But we can’t expect them to understand every detail of our day. That’s just not fair.
And it’s not healthy to live for an audience. This applies to so many areas of my life in addition to motherhood. I have to live in such a way that speaks louder of who I am than my own words or the approving words of others. And I have to be content with who I am even when my accomplishments go unnoticed and I wade through my grievances alone. I know the Lord hears me. He sees me.
And that is enough.
Maybe there will be a part two to this blog. A post in which I list all the ways to fix this flaw. For now though, I’m in a learning stage. And recognizing those flaws is the first step, right? 😉
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