The Perfect Listener

I don’t usually discuss spirituality in this space, mostly because I am a coward, but this is my blog and I’ll write what I want (said in a whiny voice).

July was a tough month.  I tried, unsuccessfully, to downplay the difficulties I was experiencing with Ben’s busy schedule.  I would have my good days, of course, but more often than not I was a mere shell of myself.  Solo parenting was exacting, resulting in a flinging aside of my most basic needs.  I was sleeping and eating less.  Since I knew that this time period would re-occur multiple times in the future (as we press forward through medical school), I tried my best.  The kids were fed, bathed, and entertained.  I continued to ignore the tempting calm that a TV show might bring,  knowing that if I gave in once, it would become a nasty habit.  But my patience was thin.

Determined as I was to use my education to discipline–or not discipline– my little toddler effectively, I would fail on occasions and continuously berate my seemingly futile attempts mentally.  Riddled with guilt, I often sought reprieve in my favorite books at night, not even willing to open my computer and seek out the company of my friends (you) because I felt denying myself of that simple pleasure was a worthy punishment for my parenting and spousal disappointments.

After enjoying an amazing anniversary day with my beloved husband, I returned to the loneliness of my day-to-day life.  It was overwhelmingly difficult and I felt something emerging from deep inside that I had hoped to hide: anger.  After a few unsuccessful attempts at smothering the heat, I reached the boiling point.  I put both the kids in the Pack n’ Plays and hid inside my room.   Copious amounts of tears slid down my face as I struggled to regain my composure.  With little recognition of my movements,  I maneuvered myself on my knees at the edge of my bed.  I sat there, drowning the comforter with the wetness of my tears, and finally released my frustrations to my Heavenly Father.  The anger turned to sadness as I explained how tired I was.   God, the perfect listener, let me silently yell and quietly sob as I vented.  He did not interrupt, nor did He try to fix things.  He let me talk.  In talking, I started seeing my situation more clearly.  Ben would be studying, hard, the rest of the week.  Foreseeing what could happen,  I quickly felt a ready solution: a trip to see my mom.

As you know, I left.  The trip was everything I needed.  I did not get any more sleep there than I would have at home (my kids woke up between 5 and 5:30 every morning) but I did have a chance to unwind.  Having instant baby-sitters was exactly what I needed.  I rested on the couch, content to watch as my kids played with their Aunts and Uncles, and thought about the future.  I found a hidden reservoir of strength hidden within my heart, built by my faith.

With a revived sense of self,  I made the journey home.  Reunited with my wonderful husband,  I renewed my promise to support him through everything that is sent our way.  This promise was also made with my Heavenly Father.  I know He–through his Holy Spirit–will fortify my righteous desires in the years to come.

Once again, I am confident.

Traveling and computer problems have made blogging rather impossible.  I am planning on catching up with all your wonderful words in time.  I missed all of you.



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30 responses to “The Perfect Listener

  1. I am glad that the trip accomplished what had hopes.

  2. Dad

    Hi Amber,

    That was a very sweet post. What you are describing is real life. Not the glamorized unreality that the world wants us to believe.

    As you have discovered for yourself, there is always one to whom you can turn in difficult times. He loves you unconditionally. He will comfort you. You are his daughter.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Love you!

  3. What a beautiful post, Amber. It’s so inspiring to hear how you used your faith to work through this, find a solution, and come back with a renewed and positive outlook on it all. Well done!

    • Thanks, Shannon! My faith and religion comprise a huge part of my life but I don’t feel comfortable writing about it, I guess because I’m worried about offending and sounding preachy.

      I can’t adequately describe how refreshed I feel after that little vacation. Suddenly I really believe that everything will work out. I think my husband’s glad I’m back. : )

  4. I think that all of us are like that at some point, and I had a crappy day last week where I turned to the same Source as you.

    How grateful I am for the peace and comfort of the spirit in times like those. And I’m glad it could help you, too. Hugs and love across our computers!!

    • Staying at home with two little ones (especially when potty training) is very taxing. I think that’s why the Mormon Messages video on Motherhood is so amazing: it reaches the very core of what all moms feel–exhaustion. I am grateful that God comforts us so well.

  5. Raising children is hard. Period. Doing it largely alone is even harder. I’m glad you had a chance to get away – not that you slept more – but you were less isolated.

    I’m also glad you found the perfect listener. But I wish you would be less hard on yourself.

    • Hey, I’m not *that* hard on myself. : )

      Parenting is really wonderful, exhausting, and rewarding. I think about you whenever I’m soloing it because you do it all the time.

  6. You are blessed to have a family that you can count on for occasions like these. I’m glad they’re able to provide you with the reprieve you needed so you’re able to rejuvenate and continue to be the wonderful mom and wife that you are to your family.

    Glad to have you back! We missed you for sure 🙂

    • Justine said it so perfectly! I’m glad you were able to relax and re-energize, and I’m glad you’re back to write about it.

    • Justine–you are right. I am very lucky to have my family close enough to drive to when I need. I left feeling so broken and came back feeling ready to conquer everything. At least until the next crisis. : )

  7. It’s amazing how we forget sometimes that the answer, and peace, can be right at our side, that God is always there to listen and to offer an answer. This is amazing and you shouldn’t hesitate to blog about your spiritual life. Of course I say this as I hesitate to blog about my own! I do Judaism funny but do I blog about my inner spirituality? No, I leave that for comments to my friends.

    • Linda, I understand your hesitancy. For me, my spirituality is so personal that I am terrified of receiving criticisms you know? Thank you for this comment!

  8. I found more comfort in this post than I would normally admit. Thank you, Amber. For showing us your strength AND your weakness.


  9. Amber,

    Completely relate to this – There are many times, during residency and fellowship that I’ve done the solo parenting thing. Sometimes you just want a break to go to the bathroom and breathe.

    I am glad you got to take a trip and hope it gave you some solace.

    Glad you are back and looking forward to your words.

  10. While I have not lived it completely, I understand your hardship as I witnessed my sister going through the same struggles – marrying, child-rearing with a husband in med school, residency and internship.

    I’m glad you have someone to listen. I’m glad that you got some release.

    Take care of yourself!

  11. Oh, I am so glad you were able to get time away to re-charge (although extra sleep sure would have been nice, I’ll bet!) and gain perspective. Sometimes a change of scenery will do just that!

  12. I’m an agnostic, but it’s times like these that I really envy the faith of the devout. This was very moving.

  13. Love that I get to take a look into your amazing mind, you are a true blogger and I look forward to reading about you. Me I just stick up some pics of the kids and call it good.

  14. I’m so glad your soul and mind got a much-needed break, even if your cute little alarm clocks started ringing a little too early. =>

    And not giving in to the temptation of TV when solo parenting for days at a time? Makes you Super Woman. No joke. Wow!

    • It’s easier to not give in when we don’t own a TV. : )

      Even though they woke up early, I was able to take as many naps as I wanted, it was lovely! It also makes me grateful to be home when they go to bed early and wake up late. Ahhhh sleep is bliss.

  15. You’ve been muchly missed! So glad you got to be replenished, reenergized, reconnected, and just generally re’ed. =)

  16. Thank you for sharing this, Amber.

  17. I’m so glad that you are feeling better. You are definitely on a long, hard road. But it will be worth it!

  18. I’m with BLW. It’s the issolation I felt as a mother that burried me the most. And this is what you will learn to find: others to share in your journey. I found other mothers (mostly mothers) who were alone a lot too. We had crazy fun rituals that we’d do like Decadent Day and Friday Afternoon Club (soda and chips) that carried me. The ritual was my life raft when I was sinking. Sunday night suppers was popcorn with a movie and smoothies out of the blender. I counted on these little traditions to be the “other parent” I needed to help me float my way through lonely waters.

    Love to you, Amber.

  19. I have had that moment — especially when I was parenting all by myself. It can be a brutal job devoid of lightness. I’m glad you reconnected with the part of you that buoys your spirit.