Bitter mothering: longing to work

I thought I’d dealt with my bitterness about taking a few years off design & academia, and had moved on to my next set of challenges.

But then TED came to Cape Town, shortly followed by the Universal Design Africa Conference…

I missed TED due to a kids birthday party & a family dinner, and I missed UDAC due to being the only one available to care for my kids during the week (& probably also the limited seating, but not sure if they were full).

To add insult to injury, two of my friends got to attend TED (one as the photographer); 3 of my former colleagues & friends, and one past student were presenting at the Universal Design Africa Conference. And Universal Design (along with Socially Responsible Design) is one of the topics that really excites me!

And then to aggravate me further, so far I’ve been unable to attend the Open Design CT exhibition at the city hall. It is on until Saturday 23rd so I am still hoping…

But all this has combined to make it really hard for me to rejoice in my role as stay at home mom this week. Instead, I feel bitter & sulky. Left unchecked, I find myself resenting my friends who could attend (or even present… Oh I miss that), my husband who gets to go to work, and my kids who are ‘holding me back’.

I know that I am being silly, and that we would all be better off if I can get control of it & not only rejoice in the work before me right now, but also for those I love and the challenges & privileges that face them. (I do not in any way want my husband to stop working, cause the world I’m hankering after would not be able to support our family, and I don’t think I could hand the kids over without stressing about them.) God has put me here for a purpose, and resisting it is futile. Nothing I attempt without Him could ever be good enough, or satisfying enough.

And yet the hankering continues.

Weeks like this, it is hard to forget the sympathize with those who count me lucky because I am with my kids. Visions of hugs and good times, are replaced by visions of smelly bottoms needing wiped, tantrums to calm, spills and blatant messes to eliminate, curtains to re-hang (again), toys to fix again… The things that people don’t think about when their kids are off at a carer while they work.

I know that my role as mother is a high calling, even if it goes unpaid & unthanked, but sometimes knowing & feeling diverge. I need to get them back in kilter, before they rip me apart, and cause trouble for my family.

Eccl 5:18b
… find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot.

Ecclesiastes 5:19b
… to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil-this is the gift of God.

Lord, please help me to accept my lot and to rejoice in my toil as caregiver and nurturer again.

Thank you.


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