Saturday, July 10, 2010

A true-to-life, not rose-colored-glasses type post...

So I have mixed feelings about this trip. I had two goals to accomplish at the onset of this family vacation. First, I was going to enjoy it. Second, I was going to acquiesce to everyone else's wishes and put my own desires last. After all, we are taught to put others needs before our own, right? Isn't that what Jesus did all the time? And aren't we supposed to be happy when we act like Jesus did?

Well, I guess I'm not enough like Jesus to feel all warm inside about giving and giving and giving. I know John is probably going to read this and be disappointed in me for feeling this way, and expressing it to the entire free world, but it's me, and that's why you come here, for the real deal, so I am... going to express it.

Not to go into too much detail, it's just that I don't know why I thought it would be fun and relaxing to vacation with 8 kids, including 4 four and under, with a 4-month-old baby. When everyone else is off having fun, like surfing, or riding amusement park rides or skipping down the street, or sitting on a balcony eating a quiet dinner with friends, I am hauling, bouncing, nursing, patting or trying to quiet a 20-pound infant. And it's not like John or my mom my sister don't offer to help, but there is only so much the non-milk-machine entities can do.

I feel like I recently complained about being a mom here on my blog, and that this post may lead you to believe that I truly loathe this job, but please don't think that. It's just that the baby years are hard for me, and sometimes I feel alone, and like no one understands, except maybe my mom. (Love you and miss you, Mom.), and I'm venting to you. Is that okay? I know it's a phase, and that things will be easier soon, but I'm in the trenches right now

I guess the main thing I wanted to share was this photo I took of a lone man feeding his baby a bottle in the Monterey Bay Aquarium yesterday. It seemed like the perfect depiction of how I feel. He thought I was taking a picture out the window behind him, but I really wasn't. I tricked him....


Thanks for listening, guys. There have been good moments, too, like the happiest time yesterday when I ate fried Oreo's with my mom, my sister and my teenagers, and I'll share those experiences soon. Thanks, again for listening.

Today on life in mexico {and other places} a picture a day: {santa cruz, ca: girl on a merry-go-round}


alessandra said...

First: love your neighbor as yourself in my opinion doesn't mean "love your neighbor MORE than yourself"
How can you enjoy anything if you put your necessity for last? isn't it a contradiction in terms?
Second: Be fruitful and multiply...multiply for how many times? is it said or it is left to you?
Baby years are hard, and if you have a baby after another, it's something you have to expect for many years to come.
Sorry for being hard, but I have this things that I want to say for a while now, and every time you've complained I've held back, now you triggered me.
Hope you still love me, I do.
And feel free to erase this comment if you want. :)
A last thing, if you want to give, that is a beautiful thing, you have to have first, if you are empty and without energy, what can you give?
I'm right, I know, haha ;)

Jessica Stier said...

Although you have way more kids than I do (I only have four), I completely understand what you are saying. It is good to vent sometimes and then you can move on.

It is often hard to be giving and giving and giving of yourself. Sometimes you need a break to give to yourself. Time for that is hard to find, I know. But it is necessary. Sometimes you only need 5 minutes, other times you need a couple of hours or even days. When you can't find the time for you, it feels harder and harder. Sometimes that time for you can even come in the form of a good nights sleep or a chance to exercise a little bit.

Even if you expect this time to be hard, that doesn't make it any easier. You are doing a very good thing by raising these beautiful babies. You are doing the right thing. I know that (I am sure you are thinking with sarcasm, "Great! Some random person thinks I'm doing a good job...) More importantly Heavenly Father knows you are doing a good job and loves you.

Anyway, hugs from that random person. I hope tomorrow is a little easier. :)

Judy said...

Nursing is hard work! You have to schedule your life entirely around that baby until they are weaned...I weaned my second a few months ago and the freedom I felt after was incredible. I nursed him for a year and would not trade that time, but I understand now why more women don't nurse.
Like Jessica said, sometimes you just have to get feelings out in the open and then they're so much easier to deal with.
When I start feeling overwhelmed or exhausted, I go out for an hour or two...I go to RS activities without kids so I can recharge...maybe go to a dollar movie by yourself? Good luck.

Jenna said...

No matter how many babies we have, all moms feel this way! It is a romantic notion to think that vacationing with kids (of pretty much any age, but especially young children) is ever relaxing. No siree! We do it for them, so that they can have the experiences. Of course you will feel overwhelmed and left behind. The burden of babies falls to the momma, and you've got your hands full right at this moment. But they won't always be full. You're doing a great job, and venting about your feelings never means that you loathe the calling of mother! You're one of the best!

Rebecca said...

Hmmm, that sounds a bit like our recent trip to Disney with 5 kids. Daddy got to go have more fun with the bigger kids while I got to hang out with the 3 year old and 9 month old. Still, I knew it would be like that when we went, so it wasn't so hard to swallow. Plus, he sent me off to ride some fun things while he did baby duty. If it helps, I do not like babies. I love my children, but babyhood stinks. These are not the best years for me and I enjoy my children more and more as they get older. And I am okay with not being a baby person. I have difficult, angry, screamy, non-sleeping infants, and I believe they are given to me because I can handle it, so I do, but I do not have to like it! Motherhood is tough and I recently read something that said something like- "When you are a mom, you give and give till you are empty; And then you give some more." You are probably empty right now, but someone will give you a hug and a kiss or will tell you how great you are and you will fill up enough to give some more. I know I think you are doing a great job!

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Ah, you guys are all so sweet. Ale, don't worry, I figured someone would feel the way you do and that is understandable. I'm sure many people wonder why I choose to have so many kids if I complain about them sometimes, but the sacrifice is definitely worth it. Sometimes it's just difficult! Don't worry, I still love you, Ale, and I appreciate an honest exchange!

BarbaraJo said...

Trust me.... you are NOT alone!! I think we all feel the same way at one point or anther. And remember, it is YOUR vacation too, so do whatever you want to do! Yummm....fired Oreos?! You'll have to recreate that one with me.

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

BJ, my sister DID recreate them last night! And I will share when I get home. Can you imagine? ME....eating fried Oreo's? Definitely a "happy" food in a very stressful time!

Elizabeth said...

Hello from a long-time lurker,

My family make-up is much different than yours, but I understand your feelings so well. I am at a point in my life where I feel like I do nothing for myself, but everything for everyone else. As much as I know that it's up to ME to balance this's still hard.

Anyway, I don't think I have any advice, but please know that your thoughts are important and I thank you for sharing them!

Lots of love,

alessandra said...

In Italy we have a said "if you are glad, we are glad", I would like to see that you are always happy :)

Heather H said...

I understand, we have three little ones with another on the way and having nursed them all there really is only so much the non-nursing help can do for you. And I dont like babies either, I love my kids but I could do without the little baby stage. I am sure someday I might look back and miss it but I kinda have a feeling I wont. I think it is good to share things like you did because I think a lot of moms feel the same way at least some of the time. And can I just share that when my second was about 6 weeks old we went on a houseboat for a week, I think everyone else had fun but I felt trapped on a tiny boat with a baby for a week, I have never been so glad to get back to solid land. ;)

RhondaLue said...

I don't think a complaint or "vent" here and there means you aren't happy with your choice for a big family. I sort of equate it (for those that just can't fathom having more than a couple of kids)working really hard and going to college for a long time to be a Dr. You've always wanted to be a Dr and you are happy when you graduate & get to practice medicine. Doesn't mean AT ALL that once you are a Dr you don't have hard days, difficult things that make your job or that certain part of your job VERY hard. Venting about it doesn't mean you'd change being a Dr. YOu're just venting.

Seriously, I give you props for even attempting it. I wouldn't. Because I remember all too well going on camping trips while everyone else visited and played and I laid in a tent nursing a baby or chasing after one or two or three that were eating sticks and choking on rocks. Seriously, it's not fun.

My advice WOULD be to get someone to stay with the little ones so you can enjoy it more but since you're nursing that would involve a lot of expressing/storing milk, etc, and that's IF they even take a bottle. lol But this too shall pass, as you know.

Sorry it was so stressful for you. YOu are my hero for even attempting it!

Christina said...

I'm only a mom to 2.5 children but I feel exactly the sae way sometimes! I think it's important to let our kids know that we need time for ourselves to enjoy sometimes too. That said, i don't do it enough either =o)

Luvmy9 said...

You always keep it real, Jen. That's one of the things I love about you. You remember I told you when I hit 50 that all of a sudden I asked the previously unthought of, unheard of question: "What about ME?" I'm told it's a normal stage of life for women. We all put ourselves last for so many years, but then we hit our 50's and we want/need to put ourselves first for a change. There are still so many years where we get to do all the things we always wanted to do (or at least the important, realistic things we always wanted to do) and it's F-U-N, FUN! I've enjoyed going back to school when I wanted to, quitting when I decided to quit, going on a cruise, going on a trip to Europe, taking little vacations by myself, and so on.

You are in the trenches right now, but it's not permanent, as you know. Vent all you want. We all know how much you love your husband and your kids and what a great person you are. You haven't made any big mistakes, except thinking that a vacation with little children (or teenagers) could be fun all the time. It's never a vacation for the mom because all the work comes along with you on the vacation!

Pati @ A Crafty Escape said...

First, I want to tell you that I really appreciate your honesty. I have to admit that I've stopped reading some blogs b/c they always made me feel inadequate with their perfect lives. It's nice to know that you are a normal mom, just like me.

Secondly, even though I only have 2 kids, I completely understand what you mean. I nursed both way past the recommended time and until they self-weaned, my son was 22 months. Neither ever took a bottle, making them basically attached to me for that time. Once in a while I would get lonely but tried not to mention because everyone's solution was "formula". I got so annoyed I stopped saying anything.

I am glad you feel comfortable enough with us to discuss it here. I will never judge another mom.

16 blessings'mom said...

This is YOUR blog, and you can complain here if you want IS hard sometimes juggling and bouncing and soothing, especially when with so many kids people look at you like you are crazy.....just because it is hard sometimes doesn't mean you don't love the kids to pieces....I have been through the same thing, I had six six years old and under, and so on, I have had many busy times having sixteen children, and there are very few people who understand how absolutely challenging it can be. It is the mom who bears the brunt of it, and I often had the thought: I don't want to be the Mommy anymore!, as if I were one of the kids playing dollies....thank you for having the guts to say how you feel, and John, rest assured that your dear wife still loves being a mommy and loves her kids plenty!

I really laughed when I read how you were going to be the sacrifice and let everyone enjoy themselves...that is the STORY of MY LIFE! Hang in there, and thank you so much for sharing!

Trisha said...

Someday you will look back and know it was all worth it. Somehow you only remember the good times and those "why me" or "what about me" moments seem to fade away. Your husband helps out way more than most, that is a blessing. Hang in there and enjoy the ride!

thorney said...

Your description sounds like me when I talk about my Mom, whom I vented about being the 92 year old toddler, only worse because we can't get a babysitter for her so we can go out alone on a date.

You need to take time for yourself. You are important. you can't possibly care for all your children when you have no time to devote to your own well being/healthy mind.

Your life isn't easy. You are a single parent most of the time. A single parent to 10 children--that is 4 less than Octomom and she has a house full of nanny's to help her out. You have just you.

Talk to John and let him know you need more help from him on this vacation. He needs to take all the children once in a while and leave you only with 4 mo old, or even take him too if he's just been fed giving an hour to yourself to wonder aimlessly and perfectly alone.

You must take care of your mental health in addition to the physical health. You are very intune with your physical health, now learn to apply some of that to your mental health. Then you care take everyone and be happier doing it.

Expat Mom said...

Every mom needs a break sometimes and it sounds like you don't get much of one with the little guys. Hang in there! The fried Oreos sound like a great way to treat yourself. :)

I only have two, and I wanted them ever so badly because we lost three before and when I find myself grumpy and wanting a break, or resenting them because my husband gets to go out to fireworks and stuff while I'm home watching them . . . I feel bad because I wanted them SO badly, and still do, of course. It's just normal to feel grumpy about it sometimes, it doesn't mean you love them any less! And venting really does help. :)

Jb said...

Sometimes you have to put the oxygen mask over your own face before you put it over the child's face. It won't do them any good if you are passed out. You need a little nurturing too. And it might make the others feel good if they can take care of you a little too.

Breezi@ Not Your Average Fairytale said...

I think every mom who is the sole food provider for the baby understands what you are going though.
It'll pass- probably too soon. (don't blink)

Have fun on your vacation! Try and get in a nap :D

Emily Heizer Photography said...

WHAT on earth is a fried Oreo and what is it like???? :-O

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Emily, a fried Oreo is an Oreo dipped in batter, then fried, then sprinkled with powdered sugar, then dipper in dark chocolate sauce. It is to die for!