April 21, 2010

What doesn't come naturally

Can I share something with you?  I'm a little down. I have been for a couple weeks.  Even to the point of having a hard time blogging with any real passion.  Because I've realized something that has sort of hit me in a hard way.  In a hurtful way.  Something that never really occurred to me until now. 

Here's what I think. 

I think some people are naturals.  Just naturals.

They wake up in the morning and they just step into the water, like ducks, and swim around...comfortable, knowing, casual...calm...collected.  A sixth sense...an innate sense of what to do, when to do it, and how to make it wonderful. 

And maybe they do have their "moments" - but they're few.  And even those moments are met with steady gaze and togetherness within, which in turn breeds peace and then happiness to those around them.  A gentleness that begets more gentleness.  

I'm not a natural.  No.  Not one bit.  

And I'm ashamed of that.  A lot.

This does not come easy to me at all.  The swimming.  It's not gentle or collected.  It's chaotic.  A constant struggle to get it somewhat right.  To make it better.  To get from one day to the next.

I wake up each day and waddle into the water...running back out because it's cold, easing in a minuscule portion of my body at a time...clumsily spilling myself into the murky unknown.  Shivering.  Miserable at times.  Afraid.  Cold...

Everything in me sometimes cries to get out and find another pond, but it's too late for that.  And anyway, this is the pond I wanted.  Want.  ahem.

But it's easy to forget that when it's still dark out and I'm being forced into the water before the sun has come up, and wading out waist-deep like a buffoon who has lost her way.  Scrambling...feeling around for something to hold onto.  Watching all the other ducks, even swans, gliding past with ease and peace.  Envy engulfing me.  Anger and jealousy.  Share the wealth, why don't you?  Throw some of that my way?  At the very least, try not to stare.  I know I'm a mess.  I know what this looks like...me sinking in my own mud.  But look away...please.

Still struggling and getting myself caught in the thickness of my own struggle.  Pulling and pushing myself to make progress and to be like the others.  

But I'm not.  Not like the others. 

Instead I'm frustrated.  My mold doesn't fit.  It's all anxious and irritated and tired.  All the time.  Stretched.  Worn down.

And it's young.  New, even.  But still...fragile and tired.  A disappointment.

Not natural.  Instead like forcing a horse to drink...finding that needle in the haystack.


What happened?  Did I miss it?  The boat?  

Where is my own innate sense of what to do, where to go, when and how...and all that goodness and calm?

I'm feeling like a big let-down.  A big clumsy bird in a pond of swans and ducks.  Standing out everywhere I go because I'm stretched and cold and tired.

No one is more disappointed in me than me.  No one could be.

I thought all along that I would be a natural.

I'm not.

It doesn't come easy.

I'm in the water...it's cold, it's murky.  I don't know what to do or where to go...it's just dark and lonely and the other ducks pass by and look over at me with pity because they don't understand how you could want to be a duck your whole life, practice for it and work so hard for it...and yet

not be a natural at it.

If it walks like a duck...and quacks like a duck?  It might just be trying really hard to be a duck...

And for me?  Trying to be a good and natural mom duck is making me weep...


Kim said...

BIG HUGS girly..
First of all I have to say you need to not be soo hard on yourself..
you have went through a lot in the last couple years.. not everyone has everything handed to them.. and nothing great in life comes easy..
Keep your chin up and do what you think is best.. you are an AMAZING lady..
Love ya..

Sarah said...

Wow! I love your honesty... but I can assure you that you are not alone... even the ducks who make swimming look easy and fun and carefree have their hesitations and clumsiness too. I often feel like I am playing in the real world and as much as I LOVE being a mom, it still amazes me that He entrusted me with my three children. I have no idea if I am doing anything right... all I can do is the best that I can... and pray that my kids dysfunction is less than others and that someday they will tell me that I did a good job. Boy, because this is the hardest job in the whole universe, hands down.

Add to it that you have to build a relationship with a duckling who has just been relocated from another pond and must learn his new environment and how to navigate all over again and it is a wonder us mama ducks receive that "look". The look from our babies that show us that we ARE their world... now and always. What an awesome responsibility.

Hang in there... as Dori says... "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...".


Valerie said...

I am sad to hear you are seeing yourself through murky duck water lenses.

Human nature seems to cause us to magnify our weakness and contrast it with other's strengths.

Whatever kind of bird you are, as long as you are out there doing your best, what more can be asked of you?

If you look beneath the water, they are all scrambling their feet to stay afloat and wading in their own fecal matter!

To be a mom is not to be perfect; it is to give all you have to help perfect another person.

Will we flounder along the way? Inevitably. The important thing is to keep getting up, some days you will excel - Great! Some days you will get by - OK! You were not raised perfect, and you are not capable of achieving perfection, but you are completely capable of doing just fine and that is an amazing thing.

Love V

Marie-Claude said...

Just read your post, went about my things to do this morning (early I know) and had to come back to write you a comment. I do not know realy what is a natural mom. From the outside, we look at other moms and think it looks easy. But maybe they are struggling as much as you, as us. The first year after I had my bio daughter (12 yo ago) I felt like a fireman. Going for the emergencies (she was a premie and very sick) and had no real time to take in the ''hapiness'' sense of the ''natural''mom. Eventually, less emergencies, less tired, a routine eventually got in a grove. But overwhelmed I did feel often and I realized something had to give. Martha Stewart, I was not. I was a good mom, a great mom, but I COULD NOT DO IT ALL, AND DID NOT WANT TO DO IT ALL because that would mean me going insane.

Decided what were my priorities, made the changes and lived very well with my life. When my little China treasure came in our lives, we had to readjust, oh boy did I readjust! Do I sometimes feel I can do more, yes, do I sometimes feel other moms can do better, sometimes I think so, but I make sure to have the time to talk to my girls, and that mean leaving stuff out. So now they are 5yo and 12 yo., and last night I had the most wonderful talk with my 12yo, about school, about her going in a new high school next year, her fears, her dreams, boys.., friends, you do not know how much I had to do inorder to get ready for today, but I saw she needed to talk, stopped everything and talked. I do not have a real recipe for being a mom, I go with the flow and sometimes the flow is crazy and wild and disorganized. But one thing is clear, I meet their needs, I try to educated them with respect, love them endlessly, give them hugs and kisses until they are sick of them, let them know I'm there...the rest, the schedules, the house, I do it, sometimes it's not easy and I'm overwhelmed but I remind myself that I'm only human and TV moms are just that tv moms. We are doing the real thing, you are doing the real thing, you are doing are GREAT job even though you don't think so, and you are tired, and you kids are little. Give youself a break. Breath. You are doing a great job even though you think you are not. Do not compare youselves with others. Do your thing. Your kind of motherhood, put your stamp on it. Be yourself, and your kids will love you for it, and thank you later on. Hang in there. We are not perfect, us non natural moms...what ever that means. We are moms, and we are doing one heck of job!

Jodi said...

Hon, you are a good mommy! Don't expect so much from yourself! Having two is a whole new growing experience! I'm not a good toddler mom- but I sure love the teen years - and some mom's like the toddler years and not the teen years - give yourself a break! :) Your doing great! :)
Love ya!
come to the park with us today!

KO said...

I so love your honesty - I wish more Moms talked about how hard this job is!

It is the hardest job I have had, and yet I would not choose any other. I too choose on a daily basis to try again to 'fit' into my new role even though the fit still feels like itchy lace.

Anonymous said...

Quack! Christie, it sounds like post adoption depression to me. Haven't been there yet but boy did I have the other. After my second child, I was trying hard to think of someone who would adopt MY kids. Adoption is a build-up of anticipation and when it's accomplished, then comes the routine. It's natural to not feel like a natural. Big adjustments take time. I say, get out with some friends, get a break, then jump back in your own pond and swim for all it's worth. The challenges of raising children change every few months just to keep us needing God. He gave you this assignment so He will give you strength. Turn to Him.
Thanks for your honesty. I wish I could express my feelings so well.

Kayce said...

Others have said what I would as well...you are not alone. You are a wonderful mother and know that it is not easy for anyone, no matter how perfect they make their "swim" look. You're in my prayers Christie. HUGS and more hugs!!!!!

frogglet said...

At the risk of sounding cliche` the hardest things are sometimes the best things. I think there are alot more "ducks" that feel they are tripping thier way through each day than are willing to admit.
It is one of those secrets that no one tells you. I love reading your blog because it is so honest, it scares the begeezus (I know, not a word) out of me but mothers need to tell other mothers or mothers-to-be these things. We have enough to deal with, feeling alone and out of the loop does not need to be one of them.
Hang in there you are not alone and you have some pretty amazing ducklings.

Debra said...

You sound as though you may be dealing with post adoption depression. My advice, although you did not ask, is to check into that as soon as you can. So many people are afraid to go for help, but since you have written all these feelings out, I feel that you are crying out for help. PAD is real. There is help and hope.

Alyson said...

Thanks for being so honest because I think it's not spoken about enough. I think all moms at some point quesiton themselves and I think many of the comments before mine were right! A lot of people may look like they are gliding along but it's usuallly not always the case. I haven't adopted yet, so I can't say that I can relate there, but I do have a 9 year old and 6 year old. I've seen from the beginning how there are times that everything seems to "flow" nicely and then there are times that are really tough...and not just for one day...for weeks or longer and my motto has always been


Hang on to that! =) I'll pray for you!

MommaT said...

You are not alone in the way you feel. I have 7 kids with my last two being adopted. I have felt like a loser on more than one occasion as a mom, especially with the last two who came at older ages than newborns and having to figure out who they are and they who were are. You are an awesome Mom!!! Chin up, and remember that no one is perfect and our kids love us just the same...

Anonymous said...

Truly don't let this get out of hand. Maybe you should see about some help. Post adoption depression isn't something to sweep under the rug and hope it goes away.

a Tonggu Momma said...

Goodness, I didn't even have any FEATHERS five years ago. You? Are doing WONDERFULLY.

t~ said...

I don't thing it comes easy to anyone. We all struggle. So feel comfortable in knowing that you're swimming in a pond full of ducks looking for direction and help.

On another note, I told my neighbor yesterday, who had walked out and screamed from her back lanai and came pouring through my open doors and windows, "GOD HELP ME!"...as she struggles with a 2 year old and set of 8 month twins that usually a few times a month I see that glimmer of something that makes it all worth it =0)