Tuesday, August 9, 2011


This is one of my all-time favorite pictures. A friend snapped it as we finished the "Dirty Dash." Racing is one of the the things I've gotten into to help fight the never-ending restlessness.

I always knew being a mom was going to be hard. I never expected anything less. But what I didn't realize was that what makes being a mom hard isn't always just the kids. For me, I'm what makes it hard sometimes. The dizzying circles I run from cleaning poopy toilet seats, to wiping noses after those explosive sneezes, to filling up Lauren's "baba" with whatever I interpet the scream-and-point to mean (usually it takes a few guesses before I figure it out), to breaking up squabbles- that's all hard, but I expected it to be. What I wasn't expecting were the feelings of restlessness that never seem to let up.

Given the way I was raised, always moving every couple of years, change was something that became as much a part of me as my droopy puppy dog eyes.

The first few years of our marriage, I didn't notice it much because we were in school, moving apartments, getting new professors, etc. But within just a few months of having bought our house where we live now, I found myself scouring the internet for another home and pushing Dennis to keep job hunting. Trying to wrap my mind around the thought of living in the same place for the rest of my life was about as unfathomable as comprehending the size of the universe- that's no exaggeration. After reading a couple of books on "Global Nomadic Syndrome," "Third Culture Kids," and having a patient husband talk some sense into me, I would settle down for a few months before my next wave of restlessness would creep back in. Although I've gotten much better about controlling the impulses, I have to keep myself constantly in check on whether what I'm feeling is the issue at hand, or simply restlessness. We've lived here now for 5 years and that's by far the longest I've ever lived in one place.

Unfortunately, having kids, quitting my job, and doing the same thing day in and day out hasn't helped my plight. Today I went to the library with the kids and while they were running up and down the aisles squealing, earning me annoyed looks from the other library patrons, I was absorbed in the "How-To" section. There were so many subjects that interested me that I could have sat down, forgot the world, and lost myself in something new. Anything new. Heck, if it meant reading a "How-To" book on building outhouses, I probably would have been engrossed in the subject.

I find myself trying to fill the void from restlessness by signing up for countless races (last year I think I ran at least a dozen), travelling, and trying to pick up new hobbies. But when I honestly crack open the real intent of what I'm doing, I realize it all comes down to the insatiable need for change. That right there is most likely at the heart of the matter as to why I like to exercise and race especially.

I think to myself, probably naiively, that it would be easier if what I did every day was something I felt I was actually good at. I think sometimes how unfair it is that Dennis goes to work every day to do something that he does well. While he's getting praised out the wazoo on how fantabulous he is, I'm getting mooned by my four year old when I tell him to stop throwing sand in his sister's hair. How many hours have mothers spent laying awake in bed, going over how badly they screwed up that day and wondering why things aren't panning out as rose-colored as they thought it would be. Even the immensity of the love a mother has for her off-spring doesn't soften the feelings of inadequacy that follow her around just as surely as does her shadow.

I hear pat statements all the time from mothers who have made it alive through the trenches. "It will all be worth it in the end," or "There's a time and a season for everything," but for now that's about as helpful as a bandaid is on a headache. I have to remind myself that there's a reason God made me this way. And a good one at that. It's just a matter of making who I am and what I've experienced in life pertinent to what I do today and everday. Maybe it's a matter of putting on my big girl panties and realizing that life is bigger than me and my petty feelings of restlessness. I have a feeling that's probably it right there. As I have to constantly remind myself, "Get over it and get over yourself."


Trent and Julie said...

Your entry made me think a lot about myself and the things I do! I have many of those days where I feel the same way. Just know I think your amazing! I have to be careful not to get jealous of your organization and talents. Rita thanks for your friendship! Sending you my love!

Liz Johnson said...

You know, I have this same issue... I am constantly searching for change. In some ways, though, I think it's a good thing - it pushes us to try new things, learn new skills, and not get complacent. So I say - race! Try new things! Learn new skills! Do awesome things! Just because we're moms doesn't mean we can't be people, too, right? I feel like my children are important, and my priority, but I refuse to give them my identity, you know?

Cher said...

yeah, me too. of course, since i grew up the same way. i've been in this house going on 7 years! and guess what, i still haven't made it my own cuz i keep thinking somewhere in the back of my head we might move soon. i haven't painted any walls or really decorated how i like. ha ha. if we do move, it will probably be into a house we build and will settle down for good. weird.
p.s. i love learning new things too. have you taken community ed classes?