Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Stockholm Motherhood

Wikipedia defines "Stockholm syndrome" as this:
"Stockholm syndrome, or capture-bonding, is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with the captors."

I think there is just a little bit of Stockholm syndrome involved in mothering. Yes, the majority of what we put ourselves through to raise our little ones and minister to our families is because of how much we love them. Love is how we can change the fifth blowout diaper of the day, clean up the highchair for the umpteenth time, and snuggle our little ones when the thermometer reads 101°. In my experience though, there are times when something else seems to be at play.

Case in point: several months ago (probably 5-6 months at this point, but it's taken me awhile to write this), there was one evening where Little Man screamed his head off the entire time I was preparing dinner. He had a clean diaper and was not hurt, just wanting to be held at a time when I was unable to and Daddy wasn't home from work yet to play with him. So I put him in his jumper where he could see me in the kitchen and went about my business. Even though I knew I was doing something totally reasonable and ultimately for my son's good by not giving in to his demands, it was SO. HARD. He can get LOUD! And part of my momma heart wants to rush over and sweep him up, but the wife and homemaker part of me knows that I needed to tend to other matters at the moment. And eventually, he settled down a little and only protested his imprisonment occasionally until Daddy got home and rescued him.

Later that evening, I was going to run out to deliver some boxes to friends that were moving and then run a quick errand. Little Man was getting his bath so I laid everything out that my husband would need to get him ready for bed. As I prepared to leave, I kissed my freshly washed babe and said goodnight. That's when the tears started. I didn't want to leave! Despite being in capable hands, my little munchkin that had terrorized me just a few hours previously was holding sway, not only over my emotions, but seemingly my logic as well!

Please don't misunderstand. I love my son dearly. And in not saying every new mother feels this way. But I think anyone will tell you that the first year of your child's life is HARD and that it doesn't get easier really, just challenging in different ways. Especially with a first child, there is a significant amount of adjustment and sacrifice to the point where I felt I was losing part of myself.

I'm slowly learning to not feel guilty about leaving him for the occasional date night or errands, to not feel like I'm abandoning him even when he hasn't had a difficult day. He now has a few babysitters that he absolutely adores and who love him too and for that I'm extremely grateful. At almost one year old now, I feel like I'm finally discovering more of the new me and seeing that she does still have glimpses of the old woman in her. Thankfully, God is not finished with me yet! Whenever I feel trapped, I know I can run into his faithful arms and remember who is really in control.

Philippians 1:6 ESV
"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."

Soli Deo Gloria,

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