Monday, May 15, 2017

Re-learning Reliance and Old Lady Backs

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I have an obsession with people who do their jobs well. 

I regularly monopolize entire dinner conversations talking about this. 

Last summer, I started taking barre3 classes pretty regularly. I quickly realized that Megan, the owner of the studio was one of these people. She graciously leads her classes with the perfect mix of encouragement and challenge. Every time I thought I thought to myself "oh this isn't too bad, I'm such a baller!" she would come move my arm or leg a quarter of an inch and suddenly I would be begging her with my eyes to make it stop while simultaneously feeling like I was getting the best workout of my life. 

Same with my newly loved physical therapist. I limp into her office once a week usually holding back tears from writhing back pain and within 30 minutes of her magic knuckles + stretches, I have a renewed obsession with how good she is at her job. And then I usually spend the rest of the day telling Mason about how she always knows exactly what to do and what is she anyway? Some kind of wizard? 

I always try to tell people when I think they're really good at their job because some people in this world really are NOT good at their job. (A certain employee at the Arkadelphia Walgreens with zero knowledge of the coupon policy comes to mind...) I've always thought that having the feeling of loving + owning your job must be the most rewarding thing ever. 

Last week I was sitting on a plane next to a Vietnamese man who was kindly making conversation with me in an effort to distract me from how claustrophobic my expanding belly and I were feeling in our 18 x18 inch box of cabin space. We chatted about how he and his friends wanted to take some time off work and go on a vacation and then he asked me the million dollar question. 

What do I want to do? You know? After I'm done staying home with the babies and stuff. 
(I don't know the answer to that question, by the way.) 

But really...I'm doing the job I want to do right now. I consider the SAHM life my job in this season and I don't want to look ahead and dream past it yet. Which brings these two trains of thought into the same station: I want to do this job well. 

So this is where things have recently gotten tricky for me. 

Today marks 31 weeks of gestating baby #3. At around week 25, I sat down on the couch one evening and starting having some contractions. On you know... every 5 minutes... over the course of a few hours. And then it happened again the next night. Oh, and my back felt like I'd been hit by a car or maybe a semi truck (not be dramatic). So I saw my OB (who is also REALLY good at her job, just FYI), and she told me to chill out on my life and cut out extra things. No unnecessary lifting, no exercising, no bathing the kids, basically she said get through your day as calmly as possible and when your husband gets home let him take over.

Well. This sit on the couch and tell your husband what needs to happen life might sound fun to some but I. HATE. IT. I don't want to be limited. I want to feel like I am pulling my weight and honestly, I want to go above and beyond and earn some kind of MVP award on this family team. I want to be good at my job. 

I probably don't even need to say this because I know most of the people who read this blog know my husband, but in case you don't... you should know that he is literally superdad. He can single handedly run this thing without my input. He dresses the kids in cute clothes and fixes their hair and takes them for donuts and he's just one of those people who seems to effortlessly do everything well. And he vacuums. So. 

So for the first few weeks after the stern face warning from my OB who scared me into submission, I sat on the couch. I watched him cook and clean dinner, bathe the kids, and take them outside to release the pent up energy of sitting inside with mommy lame-o all day. (I moved my buttprint from the couch to a lawnchair for observation.) I hated it. I mean, I loved and appreciated him but I was so annoyed because he was "doing my work." 

So you're probably seeing the pride issue here weeks before I did. 

A few weeks before all of this, I was feeling GOOD. I was over the hump of morning sickness and was feeling like I was doing this thing WELL. My kids were both in good swings of sleeping and eating (huge accomplishments in our home), and we were going on daily adventures. I was meal planning. I was just going to stroll through the rest of the pregnancy like one of those fake internet mamas with no cares in the world. 

And then before I knew it I found myself out of barre and into a group of automatic wheel chair clad old ladies sitting in a waiting room with a standing weekly appointment for PT. 

How just like the Lord to remind us of our humanity when we get a little too self-reliant. 

It's ironic to me how I - and we, as a human race- have to keep learning the same lessons over and over, just within the frame of a different set of circumstances. 

Being a "good mom" is not something we can earn by checking off a self imposed list of boxes any more than being a "good Christian" is. We can check off all of the good deeds on the Christian card and still be separated from our Creator. We can't earn our way to the top in the hierarchy of heaven. Life is not a point system. We know this. And we've got to let that go. 

I realize a lot of people aren't moms to toddlers and haven't been hit with the mommy wars of the internet comparison yet. However, I think this thread can be traced back through every season. 

We want so badly to be self reliant and earn a status that doesn't exist while forgetting the free gift we've been given at the foot of the cross where we all begin as equals with nothing to offer.  

So yeah, I do really want to do the job of motherhood well. But I also don't want to lose sight of what that means. It doesn't mean that we don't watch more tv in this season. It doesn't mean that we don't eat frozen pizza. It doesn't mean that sometimes its beautiful outside and I know we should be doing some sunshiney pinterest activity but my old lady back can't take were staying in. 

My sisters- be encouraged that there is no earning. 

We accept grace. 

We look up and remind ourselves that our strength comes from above, whether our floors are clean or not. 

We don't compare ourselves to one another, and we accept the help of our sweet husbands even if they load the dishwasher differently than we do. 

We model reliance on the Father and work hard out of the knowledge that our status before him doesn't shift up and down a sliding scale of how good we are. 

This is how we do our jobs well.  

I hope the Lord doesn't have to allow your back to blow out on this one. 

In case you're curious, here is a photo of my jacked back, taken 12 years ago.
Yes. Those are titanium bars and screws.