Monday, May 20, 2013

Car Seat Chaos: The Emotional Roller Coaster of Being Homebound

I am not too proud to admit that I may have just finished crying.

I am also not too proud to admit that it may have been over a car seat.

And, lastly I am no where near too proud to admit that it had everything to do with the way I am feeling in this season of my life as a mother of two kids under 3.

It all began with expectations. You see, today was the day.

This was going to be the first time I was able to meet up with some awesome girls from my church who have been going to a group playdate since my second child was born 7 weeks ago. This was also going to be the only day in Seattle all week that was predicted to be sunny.

All signs pointed to, yes I am doing this! I finally felt confident enough to take both kids as well as rested enough not to fall asleep at the wheel.

I had just fed, changed and packed up my daughter, which was followed by cleaning watermelon stickiness from the crevice of my son's fingers, elbows, and hair follicles-- before taking him to the potty, washing his hands, putting on his shoes, packing his snacks, negotiating which snacks he could have in the car, turning the alarm on and then ushering him toward the car.

Going anywhere with multiple children is a process. It is something you prepare for the moment you wake up. Thoughts like: I better brush my teeth and wash my face at 5 am. That way between 1st child's morning nap and second child's first meal, I will only have to get dressed and run a brush through my hair.

My life wasn't always this way, but now in this immediate season, I don't have time to think about me. I don't have time to be vain anymore and I don't have time to be selfish anymore (although God knows I still try). And I rarely have time to connect with other women. But like I said, today was the day. I was going to enter back into civilization from the dark ages. (i.e.- newborn stage) I was going to get out, just for me.

That was until the awful truth unfolded in slow motion.

I rounded the bend of my walkway, reached for the car door-- and it just took one glance to recognize that an unpredictable seismic shift was going to turn my day into something else entirely.

 My son's car seat wasn't there.
Wait! I have a back up car seat! Yes! I will just go get it. Oh, no. Never mind- my dad took it and didn't bring it back. No, this can't be. Hmm...Can I strap him to the ceiling? Nah. Well, what about the front seat? Does he look old enough to be a 10 year old? He is tall for his age. Maybe if I put a couple of hats on him...

Um, no. Nope. Not enough hats in the world to make this happen. I'm going nowhere.

Tears began stinging my eyes and I realized this had nothing to do with the missing car seat.

Those tears then began to well and roll over the rims.

And I knew that not only did this have nothing to do with the car seat, but my emotions didn't even have anything to do with the frustration that I was feeling towards my husband- whom I wanted to blame for this problem. Whom I wanted to lash out at-- whom I immediately texted with a scathing message dripping in a disrespectful tone. (Let's just say that a lot of exclamation points were involved.)

It had to do with this reality: I'm not seeing anyone. I am stuck at home again. I feel trapped. I feel alone. I feel like I've felt many days before.

This is what I realized. All of this is about isolation. This is about this season of life for moms who stay at home, work, or are somewhere in-between. This is about the need for community.

OK, so maybe you are childless and beginning to feel like I am some kind of a loser. Really? The highlight of your week is hoping to meet up with some Christian church ladies at some boring kids park?

I know what it looks like from the outside: desperation.

But let me tell you what it feels like on the inside: desperation.

Because the truth about motherhood is that it can be lonely. The other truth is that it can also be the most fulfilling job on the planet. But that fulfillment comes at the end of yourself- when the cup is so empty that a single drop of blessing and perspective can become a tidal wave of gratefulness. It comes when you are invited to watch your kids play with other kids and you feel like you've been asked to walk the red carpet. It shifts your perspective from 'everything isn't enough'- to 'I don't need everything to feel like its enough'.

There will be many other play-dates. I will be a part of many of them. Not all is lost.

But today I got a glimpse of this truth: I really want to be in community with women who know Jesus and I really want to be in community with women who don't. I really want to be invested in the lives of others. Because wherever we meet, that 'X' in the middle-- whether it's some random sandbox or some cool wine bar, relationships happen. And those relationships spur us on to become better. To feel connected. To feel what God feels when we pray to him. To speak and listen. To ask and answer. To know and be known.

And while I still wish that car seat would have been in its place- I also have learned something today. I don't want to go at it alone.

And you shouldn't feel like you have to either.

By grace,

PS- I also don't think its a coincidence that this was one of the parts of Scripture from this morning's Bible Summer Reading Plan: Romans 1:11-12 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you-- that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine. And just in case you were worried, the car seat is now back in its place and my husband has been restored to rock star status.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Megan. A friend (Kimberly Topp) just shared your blog on FB and I love it. Thank you for sharing... I so know the feeling: desperation. :) Two girls under 3 equals meltdowns almost every day (every hour?!) I'll most certainly be back to read more. Thanks again! Ellen


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