{motherhood & escape} I’m a cleaner, what are you?

thegreatescapeIt’s time for more Mama Mania (and inspired by the book Desperate, hope for the mom who needs to breathe)

Have you:

  • sat at the computer all day (or way too many hours than you should have)?
  • read your book a lot longer than the quiet/nap time hours?
  • cleaned your house when it wasn’t really the priority or maybe chose to clean instead of choosing to play with the kids?
  • watched your dvr’d shows but knew you would be able to watch them after the kids were asleep but chose to watch instead of crafting with your babes?
  • decided it was 5 o’clock somewhere and cracked open the bottle of wine one too many days this week?
  • caught yourself day dreaming about someone other than your spouse ?
  • done anything to avoid, escape or retreat from being a mother/father and can say that it isn’t an isolated activity?

To all the Mom’s (or men who’d like some insight into their wives)  who have answered yes to any of those questions, Desperate authors Sara Mae and Sally Clarkson write ch. 8 for you (and me!).

But if you haven’t read the chapter, the premise is that sometimes escaping becomes a vice or addiction. At first you just need a little escape from the reality of the difficulties of motherhood but then you find yourself seeking out the ‘escape’ more often than you should.

Here are some great quotes to get you thinking:

  • one of the most potentially destructive forces in a woman’s life is when she begins to look for fulfillment in something or someone else- a fantasy relationship, drinking, addiction to attention.” pg 97
  • I think the most painful part of turning from addiction or an alternative reality is that if we’re really honest with ourselves, and with God, we know we like the sin or the false reality.”pg 94
  • “It’s not a sin to be tempted.  All of us are tempted.  And all of us are weak and vulnerable.  We must recognize this, so that we can look to others for help.” pg 97

My Escape

A clean house equals a happy mom” (my former motto).  I can say that I’ve chosen to clean my house over being a mom. I used to say that I had one day a week where I just needed to clean the house top to bottom.    I felt guilty about it initially (actually- for years….) because I would sit the kids in front of the TV and let them waste away ALL DAY.  Then one day I rationalized it. I said that they watched educational programs.  I said that it was just one day out of 7.   I said that I shed my guilt and decided that the kids would be fine.  They’d survive.  Absolution my friends… this is what I told myself.  Zero concerns-

The number of children multiplied and now there are 4 so they can have their own play date and call it happiness (except the play date consisted around silent staring at a TV).

But this year I chose to homeschool and every aspect of my day changed.  I no longer had any hours in the day for household chores.  No laundry, no cleaning.  Not unless I called it home economics for the 2 oldest girls and even then there would be no way to justify cleaning the house all day and counting it as education.  I had MINUTES for chores.  I started teaching tiny aspects of home ec. (like laundry and bathroom scrubbing) to the girls.  But there was no time for a day of cleaning. —So I enlisted my Mister to help in the evening hours.

Another blessing from homeschooling….

I’ve always struggled with the  Mary-Martha thing.  But somehow I started to become Mary (and I say started because I’m still working on it).  I’m becoming a mother of integrity.  One that chooses to spend time with the kids (even when there are 8 loads of laundry waiting in the wings) because that’s what feels good and right.  Perhaps this is a personal conviction for me and that’s it, but it struck me funny to read the chapter and see one of my vices that I washed away with excuses have special dedication as ‘an escape’. I think it was because I hadn’t really viewed it as a vice (and I needed to be made aware that it was indeed a vice).   If you’ve felt that gnawing or guilt, perhaps it’s really God trying to tell you something.  I lost way too many opportunities because I chose to clean in excess.

Always Learning

I’ve learned how to engage in my children’s lives with a happy heart.  This morning I played hide and seek, built a castle about 100 times so that a 20 month old could knock it down 100 times, and wrestled with my littlest two while the Bigs practiced piano and had silent reading time (totaling 1 hour).  I had ONE HOUR and I picked my Littles instead of picking the Magic Eraser and Soft Scrub!  This is an accomplishment.  A God-sized accomplishment.  no snarky comments 🙂

I don’t even know when this freedom (of bondage) happened because, as I mentioned, I had lost all guilt in seeking an escape to clean (and I love to clean so it really is an escape for me).  God worked in my heart and I didn’t even know it. I believe He had been gnawing at me for a long time (i.e. the guilt) to show me that I wasn’t choosing correctly.

So- what does all blabbering have to offer… it reinforces that we are all human.  We need help and support.  We need girlfriends and sisters, mothers and mentors.  We need a community because if we are alone we will search out an escape at some point.  Motherhood is a great and high calling.  It can’t be done alone.  We need to be uplifted and supported as a woman so that we can be a better mom.

My husband encourages me to get out and exercise once a week.  He supports my once a month coffee nights with my besties.  He lets me grocery shop by myself.  These are just little things but they allow my brain to rest from all things cheerios and laundry.  These aren’t escapes.  They’re support.  What is your support?  Do you meet with friends regularly or occasionally splurge and get a massage?  Is your spouse on board with finding time to be a woman (separate from being a mother)?

Book Talk  desperateThis post was inspired by the book. Join me in reading and share your thoughts!  I love reading every comment. 🙂

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