From the time I was little bitty, I remember longing to be a mother. That was the thing I wanted most to be when I grew up. My dream came true and I am grateful to be a mama to 5. I have always placed a great deal of importance on this role and longed to do it well. Parenting requires meeting a lot of needs, and making a lot of sacrifices, especially when you have multiple children, children with special needs, or a combination of both, parenting can be down right exhausting.
While sacrifice is necessary and beautiful, sometimes we can become overwhelmed with these sacrifices. We can get lost in meeting the many and possibly complex needs of our family while neglecting our own. When this happens our sacrificial spirit can shift to one of negativity and resentment. We may begin to feel weary, stuck, trapped, alone and responsible for everything and everyone. When this happens we might begin misdirecting anger, blaming, and resenting. We may feel like a victim, apathetic and frustrated, or even powerless. And if all of those feelings weren’t enough, the shame shows up and we want to run away and hide.
I was reminded this week that I am not alone in these feelings, after receiving a text from another adoptive mama of 5. She let me know that she was contemplating an appendectomy, because a hospital stay felt like the only way she might be able to experience any form of relief from the overwhelming responsibilities and weightiness of her family . She did not have appendicitis by the way… my response to her… “I understand”
Joyce Rupp, in Boundless Compassion, reminds me…
“No one can keep pouring out large amounts of compassion without eventually becoming emptied of mental, emotional, and physical energy – unless they are also nurturing and replenishing that love by attentive self compassion. Without it, persons whose work or life situation require them to tend to the suffering of others will find their motivation hindered by negativity and their ability to care trapped in what is commonly termed ‘compassion fatigue’ or ‘secondary traumatic stress disorder’.”
I found that paragraph very comforting. It said to me, “there is a reason you feel this way at times Tara, and it’s normal. It’s common and you can repair and heal.” So in this Mother’s Day bonus episode we will explore how we “nurture and replenish with “attentive compassion” so that we can offer our most loving, compassionate selves to our children.
Happy Mother’s Day my friends!