Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Last Few Days

Thursday:  Bill and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary.

***pausing for claps and cheers***

The Day Before Thursday: I cried.  I cried because as I looked back on the last 15 years I felt as if I haven't accomplished much.  Oh sure, I gave birth to five children.  Big whoop.  If you only knew how grumpy I was in the early years  the first 10 or 11 years of our marriage, you would cry, too.  I thought about how nice Bill has been every day of the last 15 years and I felt guilty and unworthy.

Thursday Night: Bill gives me my gift.  It was gooooood.  Like, "bling" good.  (now would be a good time to mention that I am not usually materialistic, but I am a girl and all girls like bling.  Ok, moving on.)

Saturday: I was able to forget about my self-loathing feelings for a while until I watched an interview on Fox and Friends Weekend that drudged up what I think has been bothering me a lot lately.  The woman being interviewed said she was regretful for not keeping her hands in the corporate world while she stayed at home raising her children.  She is now an empty nester and has lost her ability to easily get back into the work force.

I completely understood where she was coming from.  I had a career I enjoyed once B.K. (before kids)and it may be impossible for me to go back to it; but that wasn't what bothered me.  I couldn't quite figure it out because she seemed nice and I felt bad for her predicament.  I couldn't get her out of my mind.

Sunday: "Take up your cross" was the message of the mass.  I sat there with tears in my eyes as I looked at my good friend a few pews in front of me.  The very friend who spent the last 15 months getting diagnosed and treated for cancer all while being pregnant, mothering her other two boys, and delivering a healthy baby.  None of that was in her plan when she left the teaching world to get married and start a family.

After Bill's mass (we went separately) he mentions that the choir sang the song "You Alone" and makes me listen to it on Youtube.

Sunday Afternoon: Flipped through a book a friend of mine left at my house.  The book is called, The Domestic Church: Room by Room by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle.  I hope I am not breaking any copyright laws by writing the following lines, but I had to share these beautiful words from the page I stopped on.

It would be a lie to convey that a mother's daily life is only one of blissful loving embraces and constant "warm fuzzies."  Motherhood is intrinsically beautiful, but while she is in the trenches with whiny demands, diapers, overflowing hampers of dirty laundry, and the constant refilling kitchen sink, a mother knows that the feeling of love for her family may not always emerge easily in every circumstance.  It will, at times, come through the sacrafice of giving of herself and her decision to remain faithful to her vocation.  A mother decides to love and to continue to love her family in God's plan for her salvation and the salvation of her family.   Through a mother's loving service, God is at work sanctifying her soul when she thoroughly surrenders her heart to his holy will.

Monday: That lady is on Fox and Friends again!!  She looked sadder this time.  Maybe it was because this time another woman was alongside of her also being interview and patting herself on the back for staying at home and starting her own business while doing it.  I'm sure that made the first woman feel just great.

I googled this first woman and read her post where she listed 9 reasons why she had remorse on staying home and losing herself.  It was then that I realized what bothered me.  All the reasons were selfish. You can find it here.  I wish I could paste the above book excerpt next to each one of her reasons.  Maybe she would feel better.  I should send her the book.

I was trying to formulate some kind of cohesive post relating all of this and get a good "meaning of life" lesson in here somewhere, but it didn't come.  It is all over the place and probably doesn't make much sense.
Tomorrow: Change latest blog post title to "Random Thoughts."




  1. Kathleen, I get this and I've had regrets too. Maybe it is natural, but there is great joy in accepting and wanting what I have. You are an AWESOME mother - I've told you that before. You and Bill make a GREAT team. God's plan for our lives doesn't always turn out like our plans, but his plans are good. And he DOES have one...right down to the day, hour, minute and second. I love you, Kathleen, congratulations on 15 years!
    Picture of the bling, please! :-)

  2. The greatest gift I have ever received is motherhood. I am a working mom but not by choice. I do have the best of both worlds and I count myself lucky. For 14 years, I have packed up my kids and recounted to myself all the positives my kids earned by me working. ( this is what I do to make myself feel better). Last December, while on medical leave from my job, my kids came home from school and curled up next to me on the couch. I love my girls and thank God for them and Mary for her guidance to be their mom. Other girls I work with ask me if it gets better as they are just having their babies and beginning a life of babysitters and daycares. I filled them in with my list of ways my working has been good for them. Then that day in December fills my mind and I hear my little girls say to me, "it is the best that we come home and you are here." UGH! I told those moms at work that I lied and it never gets easier. Yet, I have a wonderful family and a job I love but there are MANY days when I feel just as you described. I was not granted the gift of a large family but I love what was given and I pray every day that our decisions were the fit ones. Do I feel alone and like I want to run away and lead a different life-absolutely. So I pray and I receive gifts like a sermon meant just for me or a note/phone call from a friend and I search for peace within.

  3. I share this with you so you know you are not alone. I pray for you to find your peace. It is a journey...take Him with you 😊

    Love ya babe'

  4. Kathleen, below is a poem that hung in my mother's kitchen all the years that she raised the eight of us. She gave up a lucrative career because she believed that the most important thing that she could do for her family was to be the loving, anchoring force that prepared us well to meet the challenges of the world when we were ready to make our own choices and to help our Dad be the best he could be as he went out each day to meet the stresses of the world. When it came time for Dad S. and me to make our own choices, Dad said that it would not be the same kind of family if I was out all day instead of focusing on the family and the needs of the family. I agreed to stay home after Bill was born - even though it took me multiple years to accept that decision. It was not easy, but I completely agree with Dad that the family would not have been the same if I had been out every day pursuing a career. It is a big sacrifice but, in the end, it is very worth all the time and effort that hopefully results in good people going out into the world and contributing their own positive influences. You might or might not ever return to the work force, but you will have that option, if you wish, once your current career achieves its goals. I will never be principal of a school (a once upon a time dream) but I do have the joy of teaching young ones, and all that I learned by being with my children has made me able to be a better teacher in my current position. It is an ongoing temptation in life to always be second guessing oneself. You are raising five wonderful children who would not be the same at all if you were not there giving them a secure and loving home. Someday you will reap the joys of your decision. Hang on! Enjoy the poem below. xo

    Lord of Pots and Pans

    Lord of all pots and pans and things
    Since I’ve no time to be
    A saint by doing lovely things
    Or watching late with Thee
    Or dreaming in the sweet dawn light
    Or storming Heaven’s gates,
    Make me a saint by getting meals
    And washing up the plates.

    Although I must have Martha’s hands,
    I have a Mary mind,
    And when I black the boots and shoes,
    Thy sandals, Lord, I find.
    I think of how they trod the earth,
    What time I scrub the floor:
    Accept this meditation, Lord.
    I haven’t time for more.

    Warm all the kitchen with Thy love
    And light it with Thy peace;
    Forgive me all my worrying,
    And make all grumbling cease.
    Thou who didst love to give men food,
    In room or by the sea,
    Accept this service that I do–
    I do it unto Thee

    Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

    1 Corinthians 10:31

  5. Happy Anniversary !

    I have to say I totally get both sides of this struggle. I think many working moms wish they could be home. Many moms who stay home wish they could be out in the workforce. I think it's a normal feeling. I always wished I could be a stay at home mom, but we knew sending the kids to Catholic and private schools meant sacrificing lots of things. I do find myself at times wishing we could do more , have nicer things, etc.
    Whenever I find myself feeling that way, I pray about my attitude and remind myself this is what we chose and would not do it any differently, after all, all the things I may wish for are just that.. things .
    We will never have really nice stuff ,but we are rich in other ways . I am thankful that my job allows me to be flexible, to work a few long days but be home more. I am thankful for when I work, my husband is home and my kids have always had one of us here all the time. It's often chaotic and maybe not as organized as other homes, but , I know our situation is the best of both worlds.
    I have always told you that you make it look so easy . I realize it's not all flowers and rainbows all the time, but your children are really good. You are making the world a better place by raising up these kids . Think of how many lost, misguided people are out in the world, how many people who don't know love, faith, or feel they belong .. So much comes back to how people felt or what they experienced as children . You have five beautiful children who have endless possibilities to make the world better.
    Think of throwing a pebble in a lake and how the water ripples far, far out.. Your children are like those pebbles, they will grow and spread the love and faith and good values they were taught and shown every day to so many people.
    So, while you may have these feelings again,you will see your kids grow and you will know you made the choice that worked for your family

  6. Oh I so understand this post. I went back to work full time after I had my first child. I loved working and thought I would never stay home...well the second came along and I did not really make enough to put two in daycare. I love being a stay at home mom but I feel like I don't really do much. Sure I cook, clean, drive kids around, work in the class etc. I know one day this will all be over I will miss it. That is when I know what I did was so worth it. :)

  7. Hi Kathleen,
    I read your "Day before Thursday" and can relate. Yesterday I read an awesome quote on the blog Imprisoned in my Bones and after reading your post ran over and copied it for you. It touched me and I hope it does the same for you (it puts family life in a new light, that's for sure):
    From My Monastery is a Minivan by Denise Roy regarding her childhood dream of becoming a priest (much like St. Therese of Lisieux):

    "Here I sit, twenty years later, no longer wondering what I'm going to be when I grow up. I've arrived. And guess what? My childhood dreams have come true.

    For two decades, I have broken bread, poured grape juice, preached, prayed, told stories, bestowed blessings, taken care of the sick, heard confessions. I have been a parent. These have been the sacraments of my daily life and, I suspect, of yours. These are simple, sacred acts. These are how we mediate love, as we minister to our own little congregations-children, spouse, family and friends.

    I have discovered that it is a great vocation."

    Happy Anniversary!