For This Season is a place to discuss motherhood, homeschooling and the art of homemaking. Becky Marie is proud military wife and a stay at home mom to three little boys. She spends her days homeschooling and managing food allergies.
The internet is a fickle thing. So much is lost when we try to filter our real lives through a digital medium regardless if you are using words, pictures, or video. It will never be a substitute for real life. I have a love/hate relationship with social media, as I suspect most do. I love that it keeps me connected with friends and family, especially with how often we move. I hate that it so often feels like a competition. Or at the very least an ultra-filtered view of everyone’s lives.
Disclaimer – My dad is now my official blog editor to check for misspelling and grammar errors. He’s probably not going to edit this post before it goes live (we’re still working out a system where he can easily edit things for me). My writing will always have errors in it, and now I can say that’s just fine with me. It’s also a big reason why I’m so excited to have another mom teaching my kids grammar classes this fall, I don’t feel like I can do it yet.
Even blog posts with lots of photos and few words can take longer than you think to create. I take hundreds of photos each week, and post just a few. A handful are staged and shot with our good DSLR camera, but most are quick candid snaps with my phone. Either way, they go through a process to get transferred to the computer, photoshopped (even just to reduce the pixel size so they don’t take up so much memory, which bloggers have to pay for), watermarked (because unfortunately photos get lifted all the time), and uploaded to the blog or to social media.
I would estimate for each photo I post on my blog, it takes a good 30 minutes of work to get it there, and that is with using a batch process work flow. Social media photos can sometimes go quicker because there are less steps involved. My point being that I, and probably most other bloggers, don’t go through that entire process just to show you our low points. Most don’t even bother with mediocre every day stuff. We show you our best.
This blog, and my other blog, and my social media channels are all my highlights. I try to be real, but the editing process always smoothes out the rough edges. A few weeks ago I heard somewhere (probably a Netflix show that was playing while I was sewing) one of the characters use the highlight reel analogy to remind us that there’s no B side anymore. Since then, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about my own B side. What would be on it? What would I say? In light of yesterday’s comment here’s a few things that I think would make the cut.
The B Side Summer 2017
Despite a kitchen full of food and a dozen freezer ready meals prepped, at about 2 yesterday, after the above mentioned Facebook post, I seriously considered ordering pizza for dinner. Had the chicken we were supposed to eat not already been cooking, I might have caved. I have caved many times in the past. And with food allergies, we always paid the price.
A friend of mine, a good friend since forever, had a baby 3 months ago. I did nothing. No meals, no cards, no baby gift.
Two of my cousins had babies this summer too. I started to do something but didn’t finish. From my desk in the office as I type, I can see the box that has half a baby gift for both in it. I need to get my act together and finish the other half to mail. My goal now is to get it done before their respective first birthdays!
Just this morning, I saw a post on Facebook from a fellow military spouse at our last commend venting about deployment. This one really made me cry because I felt like I let her, and so many other down. I did nothing for her. I have done nothing for my three other military spouse friends who are going through deployments or long separation this year either. The thing is, even though I’ve been there I don’t know what to do for them. Everyone has different needs and I have been caught up in the fear of doing the wrong thing that I’ve simply done nothing. I will try to do better.
I also realized as I’m sitting here writing that I didn’t wash sheets this week. So much for my grand plan to get all the chores done before the weekend! Now I’m conflicted between trying to rush through stripping all the beds and washing everything before we head out to see friends later tonight or just waiting until Monday. Week old sheets aren’t that gross right? I think we’ll wait until Monday.
And the final piece to make the cut is the picture I put at the top of this post. I bet you’re wondering what a photo of the bottom half of a light pole and a fire hydrant has to do with anything? That’s the step in a random parking lot where one of my boys sat for over a half hour earlier this week. He was throwing a fit because he didn’t want to do what I asked him to do. I lost my patience and put him in time out. (My kids seriously underestimate my ability to find a time out step when we’re in public.) There were tears from both of us. There was yelling from both of us. There was an impressive foot stomp and “NO I WILL NOT GET IN THE CAR” was shouted for all to hear. Eventually he got in the car, we made it home, and the house was filled with giggles once again. I have no doubts this scene will be repeated with a different stage many, many times.
I haven’t written much in the past year. At first it wasn’t intentional, but the longer I stayed away from the keyboard, the more purposeful my silence became. As the year cycles around to the season of fresh starts with the new school year and a new job for my husband, I feel called back to write in this space. I have changed greatly in the past year, and I don’t think I can adequately tell my story moving forward if I don’t share some of those changes with you.
This was a year of great sadness and deep hurt. I learned a long time ago that I cannot write from a place of anger, or hurt, or rejection. I know many can, and I love to read the words they use which give voice to emotions that I struggle to express. But I am simply not that kind of writer. Much of my hurt is routed in my own selfishness and misplaced expectations, and much will be remain unwritten, close to my heart. I do not know how to fully explain why I was (and am) so sad and so hurt without casting blame, which is mostly misplaced, onto others. And I do not desire to hurt others with my words.
This season began almost two years ago when we found out that we would be headed to the DC Metro area for a year. I did not want to come. They were the first orders where I was truly disappointed. But I put on my big girl pants and threw myself into making the best of our year. I googled, and emailed, and called, and googled some more. I put every ounce of energy into finding a community, a tribe, a sisterhood that would carry me through what I expected to be a very difficult year. As I wrote a little over a year ago, I was not met with a warm welcome. That was the first of many misplaced expectations on my new city.
By November, I had simply given up. The three little boys and I were going to spend the month of December with my Mother-in-Law on the west coast (lets be honest, the best coast). It should also be noted here that the trip was to facilitate changing my legal residence to my husband’s home state. (Thank you Congress for finally passing the Military Spouse Relief Act!) Our month away had been planned for a very long time, and while a part of me treated it like running away from my problems, that wasn’t really the purpose. When we came home after the holidays, I put on a brave face and did everything I could to help my boys enjoy what I thought was our last few months in Maryland.
At this point, I’m sure you’re wondering what’s wrong with DC? Why is it so awful? The very short answer is that as a stay at home, homeschooling mom, I feel very out of place in a community where two working parents with long commutes is the norm. The very long answer is one that I can’t quite put words to but basically boils down to my own selfish wants and desires not being fulfilled and my refusal to see and embrace the purpose for which God has placed us in this place.
I feel let down and rejected by friends who live just close enough that I expected to see them often, but in reality we live far enough that is hard to get together. This is my biggest source of hurt. We have many friends also living in the DC area, and I though it would be much easier to see them all. And I know that relationships take work on both sides. I was really caught off guard at how hard the work would be.
I feel angered and annoyed that this community isn’t meeting my needs. That statement is a whole lot of unfiltered, ugly selfishness. And it is my biggest source of anger, from the military specifically. I do not have any kind of network or support in our immediate area. It took me months to find the small pockets I have managed to connect with, and still I feel like it’s not enough. Please don’t read that as commentary on military support networks in the entire National Capital Region, it’s simply what I have experience in my little neighborhood. There are some amazing organizations here, but as with the point above, I do not live in close enough proximity to take advantage of their help or volunteer to help others. It’s an expectation that I am working very hard to surrender. A very large part of my identity is as a military spouse. Without the military community, I feel like I’m alone on an island.
Our church does not do church my way. Could there be a more arrogant and condescending statement? Again, very misplaced expectations and a whole pile of selfishness. The work done in my heart and my spirit over the last year can only be explained as grace. It’s not about me. It’s about the work the Lord has before me. And I need to stop fighting Him and put my efforts into things that have eternal significance. I need to learn to do church differently. To do church the way this community needs. To do church the way the Spirit is calling.
I have about a dozen more points that I though I could make in this post, but the words are not there yet. I’m learning to truly embrace the Sabbath, I’m celebrating the wonderfully diverse neighborhood in which we live, and I’m again redefining my role as a wife and mom. I am finally feeling at peace in our home, and I am living out the purpose God has for me in this season of life. As I have time, the stories will come.
In conclusion, I’m back. I’m not sorry I was gone. It is the struggles of life that refine us most.