September 23, 2011

When mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy

It’s Plank Pullin’ time! The one day a week that we strongly resolve to ignore the multitude of specks and sawdust around us and pull one bona fide plank from our own eye. Matthew 7:3-5 style.

Life has been stressful lately.  My grandma is no longer able to take care of herself, and the past few weeks have found me scrambling to make alternate living arrangements for her.  Just this week, the plan changed 3 times.  Whew!  Lots of phone calls, faxes, letters mailed, cleaning, packing, etc.  Not to mention the emotional roller coaster that accompanies caregiving in general, and end of life caregiving particularly.

As exhausted and overwhelmed as I've been, I realize that I am lucky.  Some women do every bit as much as I do in addition to working full-time jobs.  I can't imagine it.  I thank God for His provision, and I thank Tree Guy for working so hard to support us.  Without my husband's support, I wouldn't have been able to be there for my grandparents when they really needed me.

My grandma moved in with my mom (GC Brawler, below) two nights ago.  She declined so quickly that it was determined the move couldn't wait until its scheduled date of October 3rd.  The good news is that my mom lives in the same town as I do.  So I can still be there for my grandma.  We will hire a private caregiver to help. 

I'd always liked the saying When Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.  It assumes that Mama is the center of the family, the emotional touchstone for everybody else.  But I'm learning that that's not such a good thing when she ain't happy.  I don't want to be the reason my son and husband are stressed out.  Tree Guy is blessed with the ability to stay calm in stressful times.  He has developed the survival skill(!) of disappearing into the computer room or garage when I'm on a rampage.  Nature Boy is more affected by my stress level.  That's hard to avoid because he spends a lot of time with me.  Quantity time is usually a major blessing that comes with homeschooling.  But at difficult times, it also means that my son is stuck with me and my moods.  I try to arrange play dates with his friends to give him a break from the medical appointments and meetings and endless errand running.  But often he just has to tag along.    

The plank I'm pullin' today is the fact that I don't try hard enough to spare my family from my own stress.  I "let my hair down" all.the.time.  I'm a get-what-you-see kind of girl.  There are benefits to that--but also some downsides.  A bad mood or high stress day doesn't give me a free pass to take things out on my loved ones.  They are my support system and my joy!  They deserve the best of me.

Whether or not my emotional state is excusable/understandable/legitimate, I need to make more of an effort to deal with it in a way that preserves the peace and joy that I want my family life to embody.


  1. Thank you for writing the plank I need to pull. I am excellent at the art of the short lived temper tantrum. I never wanted to be That Kind of artist.

    Blessings of the fruit to you in this very difficult time.

  2. Loved this post..I can relate to *spreading my emotions* all over the household.

  3. You are amazing to do all that your do! I'm guilty of the same thing lately. And I don't want to be that way. Thank you for this post! Prayers for you and Grandma.