Monday, 25 February 2013

Shameful Sunday

Yesterday was not one of my better days. Sometimes, I really suck at this whole Catholic-wife-and-mother thing. I'm insular, impatient, terrible at communicating, etc, etc.

One of our goals for this year, is for my husband to pass his test to drive in the UK. He doesn't think we can afford formal lessons, so I'm the 'instructor'. I'm crap at it. He tells me that all I have to do, is be calm and patient with him, but I don't know how in that situation. He asks why, in the UK, you have to do X, Y, or Z while driving, and I get flustered, because the 'why' doesn't matter. A driving test is an exercise in following the rules, to the satisfaction of an examiner, to pass the test. That's it. But, I will work on being calmer.

So, we arrived at Mass. I was in a foul mood because of our argument about the driving, and because I was anticipating the kids acting up. Usually, because we sit right at the back, the nearest people to us are other parents, at the opposite end of the pew. That suits me. I don't know why, but I hate sitting in close proximity with other people, it makes me very uncomfortable. Of course, yesterday, Mass was busy, and 2 women came and sat beside us. I know that I should be happy when Mass is busy, but I find it hard to balance that knowledge with my own discomfort. I kept trying to move further and further away, until my husband chastised me because he was half way off the pew. He indicated that he needed more room. I moved away from him, towards the other woman, folded my arms across my chest, and snarled 'happy now?' First impression these women got - Bad Wife.

Then as Mass progressed, Gareth got more and more restless and noisy. So Tommy took him out of the stroller, which, of course meant Molly began to protest at the injustice of it all. I didn't want either of them out of the stroller, but knew we couldn't let one out and not the other. My heart was dark, and I was filled with resentment. Once again, I was That Woman who can't keep her kids quiet in Mass. My actions were tense and impatient. I wasn't gentle taking Molly out of the stroller. Once again, my husband admonished me, that the women sitting next to us were looking at me in slight horror, and that I needed to 'get myself together.' Second impression these women got - Terrible Mother.

In the end, I had to go out into the entrance hall with Gareth at the start of the Consecration, and I stayed there until the end of Mass. I was too filled with anger, and shame, to go back in. One of my main goals in life is to get through it with as few people noticing my existence as possible. When you've got 2 noisy, boisterous toddlers, you kind of have to kiss that idea good bye.

So, yesterday wasn't one of my best days. In fact, I've not really been up to the mark for some time. I'm giving myself a quick punch on the thigh in anger at my perceived shortcomings far too often. I call myself a 'useless bitch' multiple times a day, without even realising it. It's became an automatic response to doing anything wrong.

Yesterday was not a day I'm proud of. May god grant me the ability to make amends.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

St Valentine's Day, Lent, and Love.

Lent began yesterday. Many people associate Lent with giving something up. I used to as well, until some lovely Catholic women informed me that it can also be used as a time to add to our prayer life, or do something else positive. This was a great revelation for me. If you're one of those people who feels closer to God when you give something up, then that's great, and I'm delighted for you. Sadly, I'm not one of those people. I'm the type, who, once they decide something is totally off-limits (chocolate, coffee, frivolous paperbacks...) becomes obsessed with said thing to the point of crazy.

Anyhooo... in the past, I've been full of good intentions to DO something, but I've lacked focus, and conviction, and it's fallen by the way-side. This year, I'm going to listen to the Litany of Saints, and make time for prayer. Also,  maybe I've been influenced on some level by the fact that St Valentine's Day is at the start of Lent, but I feel called to be more loving, especially to my husband.

I have to admit, that while I KNOW I'm my husband's wife first, and my children's mother second, I don't always live that out. My husband comes home too often to me schlepping about in paint marked sweats, or to me hopping from foot to foot to get out of the house and go to the supermarket without the kids. He comes home to my end of the day tiredness and impatience, and really, that's not fair. Sometimes, yes, because everyone has days when things get on top of them, but there has to be a balance.

So, my aim is to be more conscious in my behaviour and appearance to my husband. Not false or contrived, but presenting myself as a woman who takes pride in herself, and in him, and in Us. I'll also take more advantage of opportunities for intimacy. I won't take it for granted that he knows I love him, I'll tell him, and I'll show him.

I will live out a life of love.