Being Tapped Out and Right Where God Wants Me

11

I’m creatively constipated. My husband reminds me that I have a bunch of stuff swirling in my head. “Why don’t you just write on one of those ideas?” he asks as I sulk about not developing my blog more. But for some reason I can’t get them out. I’m not even sure if it’s stress or exhaustion or laziness or genuine writer’s block or just classic insecurity.

You see, I have to admit, I have started blogs in my head while standing in line at Wal-Mart or driving in the car or lying awake at night. Before I have a chance to make it to the computer, the doubts creep in:

  • “Who cares what I have to say?”
  • “Hey, lady, you don’t have time to write blogs — you don’t even pluck your unibrow anymore.”
  • “That’s not as funny as it sounded when your inner voice said it.”
  • “You really suck at this.”
  • “Oh, this would be such a good blog post if my reader was interested.”
  • “You make too many typos.”
  • “You’re going to piss somebody off with that blog post.”
  • “Oh, forget it. It’s not worth your time. Just go sweep the floor covered with all the organic Puffs that baby dropped this morning.”

And with that, I’ve talked myself out of writing anything, blaming my desire to stream another episode of Downton Abbey as my excuse for not pounding out a post on a blog I think isn’t all that followed anyway.

Now, granted, it isn’t like I only back down because I get cold feet or a tired muse. I really don’t have a lot of real time to mull over deep, profound, well-researched posts on controversial topics — you know the juicy stuff that sends me into long PSAs to my husband about how I plan to show up at Victoria’s Secret and breastfeed my baby without a cover after hearing a nursing mom was banned from the store (my husband is sure he will be bailing me out from jail before he dies, and I can’t say I necessarily disagree with him).

It takes a long time to write some blogs, which is why I often go weeks in between posts. I’m often pulled away by a screaming 3-year-old who has emerged from the bathroom sans underpants or two boys who haves shaved some patches of hair off their heads after finding a razor in the shower. “I wanted my head to be cool under my bike helmet,” said my 6-year-old as he defended his choice.

Never mind the baby who is protesting naps, has taken to using my nose as a teething ring, and is sending me into daily panic attacks as I remove everything from cat food to granola bar wrappers from the back of his throat. I’m getting very good at those finger sweeps. Yeah, I know, I should sweep the floor, but…

I am pulled in several different directions at once from piles of dishes to piles of laundry to piles of bills, never quite finishing anything I start thanks to a litany of distractions.

To give you an example, there are about nine tabs open on my computer as we speak. I was looking up astronomy lessons for the boys earlier but had to break away because the baby got stuck trying to stand up under the chair whilst he gagged on some old broccoli. I had Craigslist open because I was trying to list some items to sell for babysitting money so I could potentially go somewhere without children, but then one of those children started trying to pull the lips of another one of those children off his face, so I had to break away to deal with that.

I have my blog tab open, but we know how that’s going. I had two presentations open. I had a couple of emails open, including one I started writing to my husband, complaining that I was totally alone, sitting in my noisy home with kids whining and cats barfing and my mind racing with assumptions that everyone is buddied up and getting together for some quality  socialization while I sit at home and scrape dried banana off my jeans.

Oh, what my poor husband has to endure when I get gloomy and caught up in Ally McBeal mental trips about feeling friendless and lacking babysitting options and having sons who use my breast pump as a pretend gun!

I try to feel good about the fact that I got a shower in and made it to the chiropractor for a much-needed adjustment, and then survived a shopping trip to Trader Joe’s where my three oldest ram their individual carts into, well, everything. But then I get home and stare at the mess and think, “I plucked my grays for this?!”

There are dinners that need to be made and homeschool lessons that need to be planned. There are radio show segments and presentations that need to be prepared for. And right now, there is house hunting amidst a ticking clock.

And it’s really loud. It’s just really loud in my home… and in my mind!

And of course, every time my 3-year-old succumbs to another melodramatic meltdown or my sons barely do anything but drool over their math books while I spend an hour trying to get the baby down for a nap, I am sure I’m neglecting my kids. I only emerge so I can snap at them over the milk left out on the kitchen floor or to tell one of them to get his hands out of his pants.

I know I need to speak more lovingly and gently. I need to try the expressionless face and the calm speech. I need to just breathe. Because there are days when I’m wondering, “Have I inhaled any oxygen recently?”

My kids are so… present and electron-like — just bouncing all over and causing mini destructions in their wake, and I have to yell just to get anyone to hear my voice. I’m not even mad about anything, but nobody hears me speaking! “IS THIS THING ON? AM I TALKING IN A CONE OF SILENCE RIGHT NOW? WHY DOES NOBODY HEAR ME!!!!”

And then it hits me.

Oh, God, you must feel this way sometimes, desperately trying to get through to anyone who will listen but running up against deaf ears. You must hope that someone will invite you to be a part of their group. You must want to quiet all the clanging cymbals that have drowned out Love’s voice. You must think our atomic-like anxiety is gruesome and spastic and completely irrational. You must wonder when we — when I — will just calm down and focus… on You.

You keep reaching out… or should I say reaching in? You are both the source and the aspiration of my being. You are both my first line of defense and my final refuge. You designed the beauty of womanhood and so You are where my maternal heart must be fixed.

Thankfully, even as You’re ignored, You don’t ignore. You hear me. You see me. You know me. And when I stop and just welcome you into those moments — whether it’s a feeling-sorry-for-myself moment, or a mad moment, or an overwhelmed moment — you are there to offer peace and guidance.

Motherhood. Is. Hard. despite what a fruit loop named Amy Glass says about it.

So I must say that after a day of moping and feeling a little frazzled, after a day of staring in the mirror and not being all that impressed, after a day of hamster-wheeling through the chores and childcare, after a day of trying desperately to name something I accomplished on my to-do list (yeah, I called the City of Chandler and got a bulk trash pick-up scheduled — woo-hoo!) or something I just do well in general (it’s not meal-planning or organizing or keeping a clean house in case you’re wondering), I can actually say I’m at peace.

I am where I am supposed to be, under-developed blog and all. Those bundles of chaos snuggled up in their beds are part of my daily purgation, and they need me! Dare I say that I am “working out my salvation in fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12-13) through the help of several peanut-butter-smeared faces? They are demanding more from me than I can give, tapping a well that would have long ago dried up if I were to rely only on my own strength… and frontal lobe.

So I turn to my Creator and beg for Him to take my dirty, finite water and transform it into an unending flow of life-giving wine — the kind that will quench my thirst and the thirst of four beautiful gifts who depend on me to be better than I am so I can become who they deserve: a mommy whose well runneth over.

Are you ever tapped out? How do you reconnect with God so you can serve your vocation better?

Copyright 2014 Becky Bowers-Greene

Share.

About Author

We welcome guest contributors who graciously volunteer their writing for our readers. Please support our guest writers by visiting their sites, purchasing their work, and leaving comments to thank them for sharing their gifts here on CatholicMom.com. To inquire about serving as a guest contributor, contact [email protected]

11 Comments

  1. Becky, I absolutely love your humor. I think that is what is lacking in my own life right now. I have become too heavy-hearted and, like you, it has caused some of my own “creative constipation.” Though I am reading a book right now about how writers tend to use all of the said excuses you listed (and more) in order to avoid the one thing they really were called to do – to write. I myself haven’t blogged in ages and haven’t felt the inspiration to do so lately. And it was kind of creepy when you said you had about 9 tabs open as you typed your post, because I do, too, right now. Well said, well said!

    And, yes, I am tapped out right now. I’m in the process of discerning how to get back in the game…

  2. What a great post! I needed to read this today! When I don’t get my morning prayer time, everyone in the house knows it:) Thanks for your words of inspiration!

  3. Jeannie and Dawn, it’s good to know we can all take comfort in knowing we’re not alone in how we feel, especially when it comes to being overwhelmed as we seek contentment and God’s will for our lives. Blessings to you ladies!

  4. I feel the same of late…all tangled up inside and yet desperately wanting to get something out, in writing, in the world etc. I have no energy to do it, or do it well, and I just realized that the two ‘things’ I’m getting out there everyday are two souls–my children are and should be my focus for now. It’s hard to quiet the mind and rest in that knowledge, but when I do it is a peaceful balm on my heart. Today, I listened to Gregorian chants as I did my morning chores…it made all the difference. Blessings to you!! I feel better knowing I am not alone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. I first read this post at 9 am; it is now 7 pm. When I had young children and worked full time I thought I was tapped out on a regular basis. I thought, once this happened or that occurred that would change. My kids are adults and I still get tapped out; still don’t have time to all I want. But I do pray that I am doing what God wants to be doing. I think, we all have to lower our expectations and stop comparing ourselves to others and know that God is present in the messy, hectic, and crazy lives we have at times. To answer the re-connect question – adoration, time alone, prayer.

    • Great advice. Good to get some wisdom from a mom who has traveled through the tunnel of motherhood and arrived on the other side in one piece. Thanks, Deanna.

    • Sherry Boas, as always you pay me too high a compliment, but that is surely what it is, especially coming from you — I admire you so much and am always inspired by you. 🙂 Thanks for reading, my friend.

  6. Hi Becky, I love this post! Thank you for sharing. I feel like someone on the planet shares my world. I also homeschool my children. I love it, but I’m also very creative, and I need to let my creative self be free sometimes. I’m just missing the feeling of creating. My daughter keeps asking me to create something I really wanted to make. They just left with my husband. I think it would really help me feel better to just go work on it right now. It’s not like I ever get time alone. I just have so many books I want published and little toy, game ideas, and arts and crafts. I’m thinking that as the girls get older maybe they can help create these things with me. That’s one thing I love about blogging about arts & crafts and lesson plans. The kids can be a part of it and it somehow gets done more easily.

  7. You just described my life too–the frightening finger sweeps, the neglected blog and self-doubt as a writer, and the poor, enduring husband. I loved your culminating insight on how we are called to seek God in the midst of all that. Thanks for the reminder. I’m bookmarking this post!

  8. Went to the Phoenix Catholic Women’s Conference last week. Loved your talk and had to look you up. You are insightful, funny and thought-provoking. As an “older mom” of 47 who has an 18 year old, 17 year old, a three year old and one just over a year, I understand and identify what you have say. As I tackle housework, cooking, errands and babysitting duties for my sister’s five year old, I beg for time to read…my bible, a book to enrich my spiritual life or say a Rosary… I think, I will just get up a little earlier…so of course the baby wakes up at 5:30 am and is ready to run and play…really? Thanks for your work!

Leave A Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.