Oct 22, 2009


Musings of A Beautiful Mess

My MIL just sent this to me and I cried as I read it. I've had a case of The Grumps since last night. I couldn't quite figure out why I was being so pissy and having this inner dialog telling everyone to fuck off, but I was. I wasn't being TOO bitchy on the outside, but on the inside, I really just wanted everyone to leave me alone. Don't ask me for anything, cook your own damn dinner, don't talk to me about your computer game, don't have an endless conversation with me about your boyfriend, because really, I could care less about EVERYTHING! But if I talk and am not listened to, I pouted. I seriously pouted *sigh* last night and this morning have no been pretty.

Then I read that email and I was like "HA! That's IT! Nobody understands me, I'm being taken for granted" blah blah blah, whine, whine, cry, feel sorry for myself. Then I kept reading and was like "shit! I'm being crabby for no reason then just being crabby. Nobody has done anything to make me feel this way!" My family and the *coughmanycough* people that live here are NOT mind readers. If I'm feeling like things are getting to be a bit too much around here, I need to speak up. If I'm feeling crowded or being asked too many things, I can delegate! It really is OK! Dirty is MORE then capable of doing stuff around here, too. BUT...just because he doesn't do them like I do, doesn't mean it isn't "right". Hey, it's getting done, right? Right! Nobody runs this house like I do and that, my friends is just fine! This girl needs to speak up more and stop talking to herself so much. Obviously...is isn't working :-|

If you read the little story below, change the situation if you'd like to make it "work" for you. But it's a good read, it woke me up. Or just pass on it and tell me to STFU and quit being a whinny brat, because that works, too ;o)

Invisible Mother....

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store.

    Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'


    No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.

    I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

    Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

    I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated sum a cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going; she's going; she is gone!

    One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England ..

    Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in.

    I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself.

    I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.'

    It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe ..

    I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:

    My Dear Friend, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

    In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:

    No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.

    These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.

    They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.

    The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

    A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees'

    I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place.

    It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'

    At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life.

    It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

    I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.

    The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

    When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'you're going to love it there.'

    As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right.

    And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

20 friends have commented:

MoxieMamaKC on October 22, 2009 at 12:15 PM said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing this! This is so true and I think all of us feel this way at some point in motherhood...

Kristina on October 22, 2009 at 12:35 PM said...

Thank you for this. I needed to hear it too.

natalie on October 22, 2009 at 12:40 PM said...

This is powerful! Thank you! I needed to hear this too. Too many nights of wanting to say back, "I don't know, you tell me what's for dinner" and pouting about chores not done. I need to delegate more too. Chin up, girl! :)

Sassy Pie on October 22, 2009 at 12:56 PM said...

You're awesome babydoll, keep putting one foot in front of the other. Your case of the Mondays will pass. But when your children have children of their own... And they recall your hands - loving, giving, forever doing - and they do the same for their children? You'll know that every hair-pulling, stressful minute was worth it.

I loved this email, by the way. I'm going to steal it and sent it to some mommies who I think could use it's lesson. :)

MissMeliss on October 22, 2009 at 1:34 PM said...

oh, i love that!! i totally understand about feeling invisible sometimes. this makes so much sense, though!

so, enough of the crabby mood! :)

thanks for the kiddo advice. i'm waiting now to see if they will accept me due to the fact that i would need an additional bit of training yet... (medical training to be certified to have a medically fragile child in the home). let's see what happens!! :)


Sunny on October 22, 2009 at 1:46 PM said...

That is beautiful. The life of a mother can be thankless at times -- and looking back, how guilty I feel about telling my mom I didn't like the dinner she spent an hour preparing! But it's our choice as women to do all we do for our children, even when it doesn't feel that way sometimes... it's the end result of happy, productive children that is the payoff in the end.

Fertility Chick on October 22, 2009 at 4:32 PM said...

Thanks for sharing this - it was a beautiful story!

One other thing that has stuck with me is your words about the need for delegating - AND - that just because things aren't done your way, doesn't mean it isn't right.

As a total Type A I struggle with this A LOT! Irish Boy is currently out of work and as such is doing more around the house - but for the longest time it drove me nuts because he didn't do things "my way."

Asking for help is a good thing! Thanks for this reminder. :)

Jenn on October 22, 2009 at 4:42 PM said...

I have soooo been there....It's like there is this bitchy demonic loony tune in your head just yapping away.
And ooohhh the things that are said....NOT GOOD!

Sounds like you had a MUCH needed pout....after all, you are still adjusting to the new schedule!

Hang in there - and don't EVER apologize especially here for feeling what you are feeling. This is YOUR space for goodness sakes!

P.S. That story is absolutely freakin awesome! LOVED IT!

Many hugs and a few shots coming your way.

Rach on October 22, 2009 at 6:55 PM said...

Such a lovely post, thanks for sharing honey!

And trust me we all have blahhhh days!

WiseGuy on October 22, 2009 at 9:20 PM said...

Oh Oh Oh! I have my crabby days too...the days I think of how behind I am when the rest of the world is just passing by in great speed. But we all need our wake-up calls. Am glad you got yours.

Keep your head high, you are doing good!

Flying Monkeys on October 23, 2009 at 7:46 AM said...

I received that in an email a couple of years ago. I pull it out every now and then but I still have a hard time feeling invisible.

Phoebe on October 23, 2009 at 5:53 PM said...

It's kind of a nice analogy, but the truth is, a lot of poor people got exploited building the cathedrals of Europe. So go ahead and have your pity party!

Here is one trick I use. When the kids would ask me something, I turn it on them. For example, when asked, "what time is it?", I may reply, "what time do you think it is?" Eventually, they learn how to figure it out for themselves, and learn that I'm not going to just give them the answer.

When my stepson was young, he once asked me to get him a glass of milk. I said to him, "you know how to get it don't you?" And he replied, "I just like it when you do it for me!" It was sweet.

A Mom in Jacksonville, FL on October 24, 2009 at 7:45 PM said...

Here's hoping your Tuesdays are going bettter...

I had read this previously, but it is SO worth keeping for a re-read or "pick-me-up" now and then. I love the meaning behind it.


Aunt Becky on October 24, 2009 at 8:12 PM said...

Just what I needed to hear. Thanks, love.

edenland on October 26, 2009 at 4:16 AM said...

Oh shit. I'm a little ashamed of myself!! I don't take kindly to being everyones fricking womanservant. That's what it feels like in a house of boys.

I really really understand the overwhelming bit ... where everyone wants a piece of you. There must be a lot of people in your house too, huh?

Thank you for posting this. How amazing are cathedrals. Who knew!

Quiet Dreams on October 26, 2009 at 9:08 AM said...

Sorry you had a crappy day. Nothing has to be perfect--especially us. Much, much love.

JamieD on October 26, 2009 at 8:08 PM said...

Big hug for you . . .

I got this email as well. It is a good feeling to finally get the 'mom' forwards now.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful story. I know it's not always said, people really do appreciate the things you do. I get bent out of shape all the time because the b/f never thanks me for all my hard work, but when I bring it up he goes on and on about how I have to know how much he appreciates me. Sometimes it is nice to hear it tho!!

tomi on October 29, 2009 at 5:21 PM said...

Thank you for sharing this!


I should really start studying...

IF Optimist, then... on November 4, 2009 at 11:44 PM said...

Chiming in here, catching up after much madness to say that I absolutely loved this post. Thank you for taking the time out of your crazybusy day to write it.

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