“Lately it’s been easier to put on the TV than put on being a good mother….I don’t want the dark to win. How do I overcome these dark days? Did you ever struggle with depression?” Sarah Mae
That’s how Sarah Mae opens chapter 5 as she writes her letter to her mentor mom Sally. I can so relate to this guilty mom feeling of “I want to care, but I can’t seem to get myself to care enough—so I feel guilty later because I’m not good enough and can’t seem to shake this dark cloud feeling”. But, nearly a decade later of mothering, I have learned to embrace “The Good Enough Mom Approach” and it’s helped me get through the dark days (mine seem to come as the winter blues)
Being a “Good Enough” Mom looks a bit like this: Sometimes the teeth don’t get brushed and “it’s good enough”. Sometimes you realized that the kids have had their pajamas on all day and you don’t plan to change them out of them until the sun sets and rises again- and “it’s good enough”. It’s good enough because no harm has come to the children; there is no need for perfection; everyone is happy and healthy; and no one expects perfection unless you have put that upon yourself.
But when you add in the dark cloud, things get a bit more complicated don’t they?
Depression: A friend of mine described her depression as looking out of a window that was colored with dry erase black marker. She could still vaguely see out of the scribbled on glass, and maybe she could rub little holes away and a ray of light would shine through but the glass was still blocking out most of the goodness on the other side.
“Understanding that God is God and embracing Him even in the dark places, can become the story of my greatest faith.”- Sally Clarkson
A Dark and Refining Place/Learning to Wait with Grace/Gaining Compassion
Learning to wait with grace has brought me through infertility, 2 miscarriages, and the nerve wracking pregnancies of 4 full term babies. I say I waited with grace but I should really captialize that “g”. Because I didn’t want to wait. But He gave me the grace I needed to get through it. Nonetheless, I didn’t want to go through the waiting, the pain, the jealousy, the envy, the refinement of understanding that I will not be privy to the Understanding, and the resulting gift of compassion for those women (and couples) who are struggling with not knowing what to do, where to go, and who to ask about why they can’t get pregnant or keep a baby to full term. My heart breaks for every woman out there who decides that she’s ready to start a family and realizes that it appears that the decision alone does not make it so. I have gained so much insight on the why you should never ask someone “when are you guys going to have a baby?” or “are you pregnant yet?”. I’ve also realized that every day I ‘waited’ I needed to be loved differently and that I can expect that of all those going through this kind of pain. Nothing I say will make it better but I sure can ask them how I might love them.I needed to be loved differently every day. And some days I couldn’t even tell you what that looked like.
Strategy: Sally Clarkson talks about having a strategy to get through the darkness, to lessen it’s impact and shorten it’s duration. Being in the Word is her #2 with Getting Enough Sleep preceding it. I’d say that most often my answer to getting enough of both of those is ‘no’ unless I have specifically carved out a time in my schedule. Otherwise, fitting it in just doesn’t work for me. Disciplining Yourself to Defend Yourself — that could be a chapter title! (insert my off beat humor).
How do you guard yourself from the dark?