Saturday, February 23, 2008

Oh dear. I can be so horrible sometimes!

Ugh. Some days, I wonder about myself.

I stopped by the library this morning and picked up the book Alexander and the Wonderful, Marvelous, Excellent, Terrific Ninety Days: An Almost Completely Honest Account of What Happened to Our Family When Our Youngest ... Came to Live with Us for Three Months by Judith Viorst.

I'm sure EVERYONE has read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, no Good Very Bad Day to their children at some point in the game.

Is that not one of the funniest books written for children?

I can't help it. By the time I get to "I have to wear my railroad train pajamas" bit, I'm crying because I'm laughing so hard. Every time.

So I *really* wanted to like this book.

However, I found... ooh, how shall I put this?... I found myself getting irritated, then downright angry, followed by a heady stream of pride and self-righteousness as I read this book.

"SHE lives in a huge house in DC with 6 bedrooms, and she thinks she's CRAMPED?"

"SHE only has THREE little ones in her house for THREE months, and she feels "hard done by"?

God and I quickly had a chat, and I found out that I was not being noble, kind, or fair to this woman.

I've already decreed that this is the year I'm not complaining about the size of my house, so I'm not going there. One quick look through MATERIAL WORLD and I'll be shamed into complete silence. I simply need to acknowledge that it was difficult for her, and leave it at that.

Second, it was completely wrong for me to feel self righteous about her complaints about three children (over and over) as if that was an unreal number of children to try to watch.

I just needed to sit back and REMEMBER.

When I had one child, my world was turned upside down.

When I had two, my workload doubled and I was stressed out.

When I had three kids (3 and under) I thought I was completely out of my mind. I distinctly remember calling my mom, sobbing, that I just couldn't do this anymore. I had had very little sleep, and all I had eaten that day was a spoonful of peanut butter with chocolate chips on it (a mighty darn tasty snack, too, if I might add... but not the "breakfast of champions"... although some may disagree)

To slam her for feeling overwhelmed with "only" three grandchildren is grossly injust.

That I have been blessed with seven is nothing to be self-righteous about. "On-my-knees-grateful," yes.

While I would love to pump up my ego and suggest otherwise, there is nothing that makes me "super mom" because I can handle more. God has given me the grace to handle what I've been called to do, and (truth be told) it gets EASIER the more kids you have. I'd love to wear a "hero" button every now and then (especially on days when I'm feeling rather unappreciated), but I'd much rather hug each person who goes into an apopletic fit at the thought of having seven and assure them that I'm really not doing anything that they couldn't do. God is good!

All this is to say that while I did not enjoy this book, the ugly feelings that I got from it was more my sinfulness than her writing. She and I live in different worlds, and that is fine.


SuzanneG said...

Good reflections, as usual. Good points and lots to think about.

Abigail said...

Nice to hear some honest and encouraging words from a mother of seven. I've got 3 under 4 during a stomach flu season this week.