Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dear Flourishing Mother,

Hi Flourishing Mother,

I've been reading your blog for a long time (about 2 years).

I started reading when I became a new mother and was a stay-at-home mom.

I started to feel a lot like the emotions you posted about.

I had never really felt that way before. Before I had my baby, I worked in my career for 8 years.

Now I've returned to work.

And I have to say, your posts are recurring themes. They're always about finding time for yourself and I noticed you even labeled/tagged the post burn-out.

I'm really curious what your job was before kids? Have you ever thought of going back to work? Either in your previous field or something else?

You seem burned-out and like you have too much time that is taken up by housework and kids, and while that is really rewarding in and of itself, your search for self might be looking for something outside of the home.

Good luck! :)

I received this anonymous comment on my post Me time. First of all, my M.O. is to immediately delete any anonymous comments. If you can't at least leave a name, then I don't feel respected. And furthermore, anonymous comments usually fall into the "What the What?" category. 
This particular anonymous commenter stated they have been reading my blog for over 2 years.....
Because if you were.....then you would know that my blog has many, many, more themes than finding time for myself and burn-out. 
But.....when I think about it, the past two years have been a lot about that for me.
In the summer of 2008 I experienced a time of deep anxiety and depression.
I am extremely, extremely scared to ever go there again.
I never want to be in that place.
With biblical counseling, learning to trust the Lord, and learning how to care for myself better, I have come out of that place successfully and learned so much about myself, others, and (Praise God) the Lord.
It has given me a heart for moms in the trenches.
Moms who give, give, give, and do not think about themselves.
Moms who push their own needs aside again and again--so much that they lose themselves--who God made them to be.
Moms who desperately love their family, but are unhealthy under their own yoke, and cannot care for them wholly.
So--that is why I write about these things. If I can make one mom realize that she is suffering and it causes her to ask for help, then I am happy.

Dear "Anonymous",
I am doing the job I love. I have no desire to work outside the home. I got married right out of college and never worked at a job. My job was always 
house holding and I am fully satisfied and blessed in that endeavor, despite the many, many challenges.
But thank you for caring.
And next time, at least leave your name.
"Flourishing Mother"


Karen said...

Wow, isn't it amazing how two people can read the same thing and derive such different meanings? I have been reading your blog for quite some time, at least a year, and I never thought your were burnt out. I never thought you needed to find yourself outside of the home. I just read that you are a momma with littles and you were openly sharing your heart, struggles, and thoughts in a very open and vulnerable way.

I have often related to your feelings that you share. That includes the exhaustion, weariness, and fatigue. Sometimes, I think I have moved into a crazy house. But it is more than worth it.

For many years, I had a successful, corporate career with all the accolades and self esteem boosts. Now I am up to my elbows in finger paint, big emotions of little people, poop, laundry, homemaking, and did I mention poop? And with all that, I am more blessed and more content than I ever was in the fancy corporate career. With all my dealing of poop, I hope to never work a paying job again.

I just wanted to tell you that I read your posts completely differently. Not only that, I look forward to your posts because they often give me more words and vision for my own feeling and situation. I see you as intentionally living your life and striving to balance it for the best of everyone.

Much love and I hope that you continue to share your hopes, struggles, and live so openly and honestly.

Christine said...

You are very careful to hold the tender jobs of mothering and homemaking in high regard, even with your posts about caring for yourself. I am always encouraged here and can relate to a great extent to just about every post. You and I were going through deep depression at the same exact time. Had I know, I would have called you and we could have crawled through together! You're right, it's a scary thought that I might ever have to deal with that again. But my witness and my faith are so much stronger having been through it. It was great of you to build a post out of that comment, which I'm sure wasn't meant in a negative way. I, like you, couldn't bear to be away working, even on my WORST days as a mom and wife!

Love you!

Anonymous said...

The above poster is correct. My comment was not meant in a negative way, and I am sorry if it was.

I have read your blog since 2008. I was just reacting to the most recent post and the recurring themes of burn out and finding time for yourself, something that I have felt myself very deeply as a mother.

I do hold motherhood/parenthood in the highest regard and I, too, stayed at home with my children for a time.

It was easy to get burned out always caring for others' needs.

But it's also easy to get burned out working outside the home while caring for others' needs. Self-care is important either way.

Whether I am home full time or working out of the home, I personally get burned out from time to time and need to recharge. One source of recharge, though, is some elements of my career.

I thought perhaps you had worked out of the home before motherhood and that maybe that was something you were missing.

I hope you won't take any negative meaning from that.

Thanks for posting. :)


Andrea said...

Anonymous--no hard feelings, whatsoever. i appreciate your response.

Mainly, I just prefer names, not "anonymous", especially if you are someone who is giving a different opinion or suggestion--I expect that respect. so, yes, I was a little annoyed at that.

Also, your post was a little off: I feel like anyone who has read my blog for an extended amount of time would know that I love my role at home and have no desire to work outside the home. (as Seinfeld would say: "not that there's anything wrong with that!" ) I believe I've been clear about that...
so, to me, it was an odd suggestion.

I didn't think it was negative, just odd. And if you are uncomfortable posting your name, why don't you just email me your thoughts next time?


ashley said...

I'm in a season where I would definitely consider myself one of those "moms in the trenches", and have been very encouraged by your writing...just to know that I'm not alone. So thank you :)

Mac an Rothaich said...

Many times I have appreciated your posts for 'moms in the trenches'. It is amazingly helpful to have honest people sharing their experiences! I started the mom thing thinking I had to be perfect like my mom and give all of me all the time and well I burned out a few times over the years... I also didn't understand my mom very well... Your posts have really helped me as I learn to balance my family better by taking better care of myself. I struggle with depression and would whether at home or at work but I am so thankful I am at home with my kids. I have found your blog very up beat:)

Anonymous said...

Hi again,

Again, I'm very sorry to have my post misinterpreted. I usually comment on any blog by choosing "anonymous." Anyway, I'm glad to read your response. I feel bad for the time you went through that you described. I hope things are better now. It can be so draining mothering children, especially young children. My energy certainly was tapped, my spirit drained, and it was very tough for me when I was mothering full time and my children were very young.

Is that what "in the trenches" means? Mothering in the trenches?

I've been thinking about what you wrote about my post being odd. I do know from reading your blog that you stay home to take care of your children, and that you enjoy it. It's why I started reading your blog! I, too, was a stay at home mother at the time. I didn't know that you hadn't worked outside the home and had no plans to in the near (or far?) future. I thought maybe that was a possibility for you and that it might be something you enjoy and that could bring balance, which is why I wrote.

I do have to say that I have read your blog for a while, hoping to find ideas and inspiration to flourish as a mother myself. But my impression has been that you write more about ways to cope and recuperate (rejuvenate) from being a mother. The burn-out...and how to recover from it.

That is why I thought maybe you were interested in doing something different than 100% at home which can become never-ending.

I want to find ways to avoid the burn-out from the beginning, not escape from it and recuperate.

I would love to see posts on things done with children that make us as mothers find energy in ourselves and flourish.

I can't spend a lot of time away from my children when I'm at home (actually, almost no time) and I think that is how it is for most mothers, and so the idea of flourishing and energenizing with them along side me is something I am hoping I can find.

I hope that makes sense. :)


Andrea said...

"in the trenches"--all "fighting" together....

I guess what I meant by "odd" is "misunderstood"...

It's so hard to completely understand tone and words on the internet. I much prefer face to face. =)

my impression has been that you write more about ways to cope and recuperate (rejuvenate) from being a mother. The burn-out...and how to recover from it.

yes..cope, recuperate, rejuvenate from being a mother..
burn-out, yes--i don't want to see a mother burn-out. it's a scary place. (but a place where God most definitely is.)
I want to find ways to avoid the burn-out from the beginning, not escape from it and recuperate.
Yes!! That is what I am trying to express!

I would love to see posts on things done with children that make us as mothers find energy in ourselves and flourish.
It's all here....you can only flourish with Him....

I can't spend a lot of time away from my children when I'm at home (actually, almost no time) and I think that is how it is for most mothers, and so the idea of flourishing and energenizing with them along side me is something I am hoping I can find.
I feel like I address that......
I don't get a lot of time away from my children when I'm at home, either....
My husband works long hours....
no family nearby....
But i make it work--in and out the home.

Thanks, L for taking the time to clarify yourself. I know you have good intentions. God bless you on your journey! Would love to talk more--just email me at flourishingmother@hotmail.com
love, andrea

Anonymous said...

I know when I originally read this comment by L. I was struck too by its discordant tone w/ your blog. I do get that some moms find refreshment in their careers. That is *most definitely* not who I am. (Oh.My.Word...if I had a career and my 4 kids I would explode! :)

For myself, being an introvert and entering the teen years were part of the impetus of my burn out. My kids take more out of me now, (and they are awesome! just require more of my mind and energy) Homeschooling for the past 10 years also has drained me (I am so thankful that we did it though!) I am still homeschooling our two youngest.

During the past year and a half I have only read Psalms and Proverbs because, frankly, I could not handle anything else. I was so comforted by reading about the depths of despair that caused the Psalmist to cry out to God. I was desperate for God and while I *really* do not want to go back there...it was not a wrong place to be.

I am so grateful for your honesty about burn-out. It can, and does happen to all types of personalities but I did not recognize it in myself until reading one of your posts.


Andrea said...

oh maddie!! thank you for your thoughts!
i am so glad you recognzied it in yourself! =) makes my heart so thankful to the Lord...
I love that you read Psalms and Proverbs in your depths. I understand that. And yes, it was not a wrong place to be....I am thankful for that time, but I am also fearful of that time....much pain.
love to you! andrea

tonia said...


i get it.

i would gently suggest that a person who "would love to see posts on things done with children that make us as mothers find energy in ourselves and flourish." needs to understand that our blogs are just outlets for ordinary people living ordinary lives, oftentimes written in faith right in the midst of the struggles, NOT a packaged product for their personal consumption.

usually, if i find i need specific instruction on a particular topic, the library or the bookstore is a better resource than a personal blog.

i think most people find your honesty very refreshing, andrea. too many people just want a pretty picture and not the grittiness of actual living.

love you!

Anonymous said...

thank you Andrea :)

I, too, am fearful of ever going back there and am grateful for some good counseling to help me to (hopefully) see the warning signs before full-burn out occurs again.

The list you posted on taking care of oneself first is helpful. I am trying to institute several of those things.


Tracey Monroe said...

Wow, there is a lot to absorb in today's blog and comments. Yet it is good to see that God is working in it and through it. I am new to your blog, Andrea, but have enjoyed every post. I was moved to write since it brings to me some sort of solace to know that I have not been alone in seeing those dark days of despair. My time began at the same time you were going through it, summer of 2008. Mine was after the birth of my first son. What is so hard for me to believe is how long it continued...for the better part of a year and then some. There were so many things the Lord used (family, friends, couseling, hospital) to bring me back from the brink. Now, there is so much more depth to my faith and God is using it to help others. Bless you that you are doing the same!

Andrea said...

Thank you so much for sharing, Tracey!! So thankful the Lord used it for His glory, despite the pain.
I appreciate you sharing your story, friend! =) I can't help but want to help others.....I know you feel the same.

Kristi said...

Hi Andrea,

Just wanted you to know the comment wasn't from me :) But it seems that has been addressed... You know I admire your love for family and the Lord and finding peace in your calling. I appreciate your friendship, too.

I worked 1 year before I became pregnant, and here I am, 4 kids later, working again because of my separation / divorce. It's hard. I think no matter what the "daytime" looks like, it's hard because personality types like us carry so much of the weight of our children's growing hearts on our own... it's taxing, but what a wonderful privilege. I wouldn't trade it for the world, and I know that when I look back on the years, I will wish I would have had more time and done this and that, etc. better.... I think that's just the limits of our humanity...and the reward we have to look forward to one day when we realize that God gave us what He did for a reason and allowed us to travel the paths He gave to grow and learn to love even more....

Just popping in, too, to say hi. I haven't been on any blogs in a while and wanted to catch up. So much love to you, Andrea!