Sunday, August 14, 2011

Discouragement - the feeling of despair in the face of obstacles

Contemplating discouragement tonight. I guess we've been experiencing our share of it lately. DrOgg is naturally feeling a bit overwhelmed by his first year as a surgical resident combined with the research and other responsibilities. Me feeling rather inadequate in regards to my many responsibilities of housekeeping, of mommy-hood and of course trying to encourage my resident hubby. And poor little Annabel stuck in the middle of all our moodiness is just trying to live her toddler life...and now on top of everything she is getting her molars! Her crankiness, while we realize she can't help it, also does nothing to help the situation. I think that the definition in the title --which I found online-- is perhaps the best description of what we are experiencing. At least it is a rather self-serving one. Here is the dictionary definition:

discouragement (noun)
1. A loss of confidence or enthusiasm; a dispiritedness
2. An attempt to prevent something by showing disapproval or creating difficulties; deterrent

While the first dictionary definition may be becoming more and more true each day I actually think the second is more interesting. When I consider my preferred definition (see title) of discouragement I realize that this definition is rather vague. It depends purely upon my feelings which I guess that is all discouragement really is. And more specifically, my feelings about my "obstacles." Now I guess that is what it comes down to; are these obstacles real or perceived? Are we creating our own deterrent or creating difficulties in order to prevent our own peace and happiness? I know some very industrious moms who would probably say that I certainly am. In reality the amount of housework I have to do is not more than average. And while being a mom of a toddler is challenging, Ogglette isn't any more difficult than most. In fact, she is probably more on the easy going end of the spectrum. Of course me wishing I had more time to work my MaryKay business (which would take me away from Ogglette) probably wouldn't make very many childless women feel sorry for me.
I find this whole thing so confusing. It seems that all my life I was told what a blessing it is to be at home. Caring for your husband, home and children was the most fulfilling thing that could ever happen to a Christian woman! And I believed it with my whole heart. Then, when we found out unexpectedly that we were having a baby half way through DrOgg's medical school training I did everything I could think of to be sure I was there for every sweet moment with my new baby. We made big sacrifices in regard to our lifestyle (and IMHO to my career). Even getting by with just one car so that we could save money and some way, somehow I could be a Stay-At-Home-Mom!
So it's hard to admit that I am sick and tired of housework and get bored with the same routine each day with Ogglette. Sick of never having money and really tired of not being able to drive during the day. Now, don't get me wrong...I really do enjoy being with my Ogglet and love her more than anything. But, sometimes I do think I might be a better mom if I even went to work one day a week. Sometimes I just think the routine is killing me.
Sorry by the way if you were not prepared for selfish whining... The reality is that I am often torn between feeling discouraged and feeling sorry for myself (ha!) or thinking that what I'm experiencing in my life isn't that bad and I should just buck up and get with the program. Sometimes while cooking the same thing for the 100th time while Ogglette hangs on my legs I think of the mommies in places where they don't always have enough food to cook for their little ones. Or while doing laundry or procrastinating about filling the dishwasher... I think of mommies who don't even have clean drinking water let alone running water to wash everything with. Or worse yet, mommies whose little ones didn't live long enough to annoy them by whining and hanging on their legs. Then I think: WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?! Why can't I keep this perspective every day? Why can't I remind myself that not only are my stresses mostly temporary but, many of them are perceived obstacles as well? I feel like this is my eternal what I'm going through normal or am I just a big wimp? Please feel free to share your thoughts because I don't have a lot of answers.


  1. Yes, I think it is TOTALLY normal. At least for me and the Bible also backs that up. (1 Cor. 10:13)...discontentment, pity-parties, guilt for the aforementioned...I struggle with it too. Thank you for being honest about it. Doesn't mean we love our babies any less to struggle with that. I'm asking God for grateful hearts for both of us and eternal eyes to see the beauty of this time in our lives. Love you!

  2. I love your heart! Praying for you!

  3. Elizabeth--This stage of life is hard. I understand. God is faithful...and sometimes it still feels hard. I pray that God encourages you and draws you near in the difficult moments. I love that He is so faithful to love us day after day, no matter how often we forget His goodness!

    A friend gave me a book the other day called "The Mission of Motherhood." I'm just getting started, but I'm finding that I love settling down to read it during the times when Erik is away...and to grow in my understanding of what it means to be a mom and one that stays home. :)