Friday, September 20, 2013

Relief Pitcher

What single-parenting looks like in my head...

In my life, I've had a myriad of jobs.  And, I have enjoyed all of them.  When I was 16 I started working at Ingles on Leicester Highway.  I really liked working at Ingles...I knew everyone who came in the door, I had 2 really good bosses (1 I didn't like at all), and I got to work with some of my high school buddies.  The following summer, I worked at Stein-Mart...I don't remember how I ended up with that job.  It was SOOOO far out of my comfort zone.  I hated having to count the drawer every night.  This was before the time of debit/credit card machines.  This was the day when you still had to pull out the big metal thing that made the carbon copy of credit cards.  I HATED handling money.  But, I loved when the snowbirds would come up from Florida and need to buy an entire summer wardrobe.  Let's just say, I was very entertained...because even at 17, I didn't care about clothing or fashion at all, but for some reason, I looked like the person to ask about what shade of pink best complimented an 80 year old woman's complexion.  Thank God for the wit He gave me.  The summer after my Senior year of high school, I started working at summer camp at Little Beaver Daycare...and that's when it all clicked.  I LOVED that job the most.  I loved working with the sweet kiddos, playing outside with them, dancing with them, and getting to know their stories.  I stayed with that job when I started Mars Hill College worked there until I got married  

My first job after I got married was as a Nanny for 2 precious kiddos in VA.  Oh, I loved that job...LOVED it.  I would spend hours on the weekend planning activities for the 2 year old and 4 year old who were in my care.  I spent so much time with those babies...I hated when we moved and I had to quit.  When Mark went out to sea, I moved back to Asheville and lived with my Grandmama and worked at West Buncombe Elementary as a substitute.  Best job in the public schools...time with kids without having to test them.  Next came working for a really cool elementary school in FL.  Aside from having to spend time in the cafeteria each day, I had fun with the kiddos and the adults I worked with.  After that, I worked in a Teacher's Supply store in GA.  That was a fun job because I got to into schools and make deliveries, I could take Cecely to work with me.  When we moved back to NC, I was blessed to go back work at West Buncombe.  I worked as an assistant in 2nd grade.  That job was challenging, but I had a heart for special needs kids.  I moved from 2nd grade to the Intensive Intervention classes.  That job absolutely loved working with those amazing kids...I was never bored.  I spent a lot of time one on one with a non-verbal Autistic child.  Everyday, he would try to choke me.  He would bite.  He would kick.  He would scream.  He broke my heart.  But, I loved him with all that was in me.  While I was working at West Buncombe, Cecely was attending and her developmental delay issues were becoming more severe and more evident.  That's when the next employment transition occurred...from public school to homeschool.  Of all the jobs I have had, that was my FAVORITE!  I loved planning lessons, activities, and events for my kiddos.  I loved being able to teach them on their level at their speed.  I found so much joy in our ability to serve together.

Homeschooling was an amazing season for my little family.  I miss it already.  I absolutely despise that our life changed without our consent, and that homeschooling was one sacrifice.  However, in the midst of that change, God provided me with my current job.  I am beyond blessed to work at my church.  What an honor and privilege to be able to do what I feel I was wired to do, to work with people who pray with me and for me, and who shares my vision of reaching children with the love of the Lord.  The kiddos are back in public school, I am working more, and it has been an amazing and positive transition.  I just know God is working in our lives.

All of those jobs gave me stories and experiences.  They helped me develop skills and to build a resume.  These jobs supplied me with an income and taught me how to be responsible for what I earn.  However, none of those jobs were as difficult as the scariest, most physically-demanding, emotionally exhaustive, spirit-sucking, mind-melting job that is parenting.  Being a Mom is by far the most painful job I've had.  I know I'm not alone in this.  I also completely understand why God designed families the way He did.  It makes sense that there should be a Mom and a Dad.  (I know that there are many families that are out there where one parent does all of the work, where grandparents are doing the rearing of kids, and many other types of families.  Please know that I'm not judging or condemning any of those.)  What I'm saying is, God knew what He was doing when He placed a husband and a wife together to raise kiddos.

Now, please don't misread this...I love Cecely and Titus with everything I have in me.  They are my biggest gift and greatest joy.  I am 100% sure that they have been God's plan as my saving grace during this season.  Cecely protects me.  Titus hugs me.  They both make me laugh.  My children are amazing.  I could not be more honored to be their Mama.  I am so undeserving of this task that God has given me.  I LOVE being a is the greatest job on the planet!

That being said, oh my goodness!  I am exhausted.  I would love to hire a relief pitcher.  I really need one.  In baseball, the relief pitcher does just that...he relieves the pitcher.  In parenting (again, I know this ideal in a lot of homes) one parent can relieve the other.  Right now, I feel like I'm drowning in parenting responsibilities.  I would love to have a guy come swoop in and pick up the kids from school because I am sick as a dog in the bathroom.  I would love another me to pop in to take care of the laundry.  On the nights when I can sleep (maybe 2 or 3 times a week), Titus usually can't sleep.  I average about 2 hours of sleep a night...and if he has a nightmare, I may not sleep at all.  And, that's ok.  I love that he comes to me when he can't sleep, and I want to be the one to get him back to sleep.  But, I'm exhausted.  I would absolutely do the happy dance if a relief parent would step in.

I know SO MANY of my parenting friends are also exhausted...with 2 parents  or 1...with help from grandparents, other family members or not...Parenting is hard, no matter how many parents there are.  It is an intensive job.  I know I'm not alone in this!  What are your parenting survival tips?  What gets you through the end of the day?  If you don't have a relief pitcher in the bull pen what do you to get through the day?  I'm just so tired.  I love my babies...I feel guilty for feeling tired.  I feel like I am not giving them my best.  I feel like I am selling my kiddos short.  I am so exhausted that I don't have the energy to be the Mama I want to be...who I'm called to be.  So, when you say your prayers, please feel free to lift me...pray that I can sleep, that Titus can sleep, that I can be the best Mama who my kiddos need!  I will do the same for you, friends...I pray for the families in my life.  I pray that God will empower the men to be the leaders He has called them to be.  I pray that the women will be the supporters that God made them to be.  I pray protection over the marriages of my friends.  I pray for the safety and health of their children.  I know God is good, and He has me and my kids covered...I just need a little boost! 
I do love my kiddos...So happy and blessed!

1 comment:

  1. Parenting is not an easy task. Just look at it like this, God saw you and how strong you are and said I am going to take Amber through some hard times to prove to her how strong she is. I know it can be tough. I married into a family where there are already three kids. God gives me a run for my money on a daily with these kids. Ha. Keep your chin up. You are doing fabulous.