Secrets, Gossip, Judging and Guts

Now I am just going to be blabbing a bit here about a frustration I am currently having. I try not to use my blog as a place to complain. I really don’t want our family blog to be my personal journal of my tough times or frustrations… But I’d like some feedback from you friends and readers. So here’s the question for you – What’s worse? To overhear someone speak negatively about you or something you have done, or to be surprisingly confronted by someone saying something negative about you.

Sometimes I’m glad I don’t have to deal with confrontation when I overhear people gossiping or telling “secrets” about me or my family. You can’t help but feel upset and somewhat attacked when people are talking about you behind your back. But generally, I lean towards the side of preferring to be confronted and people to lay it out on the table. If I’ve hurt you, tell me – let’s talk it through. If you think I am doing something hurtful to someone else, tell me – let’s talk about it. If you are worried about me or something I am doing, tell me – I might not recognize that I might be a little destructive. Confrontation is never easy as gossip is, but it is the right thing to do. If confrontation is not the right thing to do in that situation, then keep it to yourself…

I am pretty committed to self growth. I think in order to be a parent (and a human being) you have to be willing to change and grow and adapt to almost everything and anything. This is not easy for me, nor is it easy for many people, to recognize and address their weaknesses in order to build them for strength. But I do recognize and “name and claim” that I am not perfect and that there are things I need to let go of and change. I’ve had a lot of “stuff” in my life and I work through a lot of it daily…

I’ve experienced a lot of judgement and misunderstanding in the last 13 months of my life. I don’t know if you have noticed, but my family went through some MAJOR changes just over a year ago. These changes would be my children. My beautiful and lovely Amaris and Makai’o. I’ve now been parenting (officially) since April 2010. People don’t know what our last year has been like. People don’t want to know, people don’t choose to know what goes into an adoption. Most don’t understand what it is like for the child or the parent of a newly established adoptive family. Though we have tried to be wise with what we share and what we keep to ourselves to protect our children, sometimes you just want to yell out how hard your week has been and all the messy details that go along with it.

I would say that parenting has come very naturally to me, and I am proud to be a mother. But, the constant juggle of being a mother, wife, friend (well, that could be argued) running a home and having a business has not been easy for me. I’ve learned in the last year a little bit more about my personal limits. And it took me until February to actually share with others around me that I was beyond my personal limits and that I was
not thriving the way I had hoped I would be. Getting through a day of parenting with my (at that point) challenging and needy 2 almost 3 year old and my content but incredibly curious 18 month old successfully left little time (or energy) for laundry, cleaning, working, “wifing”, “friending”, meditating, organizing, planning or rest.

It’s hard for me not to explain all the nitty gritty ins and outs of parenting an adopted child without sharing too much or without being a positive advocate for adoption. I love adoption. I think it is an incredible and Godly way to grow a family. I still would (and do) choose adoption over and over again. And I still, with no doubt, recommend adoption and hope that more families will adopt. All of this is a major reason I started this blog. To share our lifelong adoption journey in this forever family. But, parenting an adopted child is different. The child joins your family with serious loss and is grieving. And we all know that everybody grieves differently. In all circumstances, they have lost their birth family. Whether the child was separated from their birth family right after birth, whether it was months or years later – that separation is a permanent loss. If that child stayed with another family, a foster family or kin family, leaving that family is another loss. So even though there is much celebration in a forever family coming together, their is grief that needs to be addressed. All of these things I have mentioned with a huge load of health issues the kids were having have made this year more than the average challenging year for a parent. Not to mention all of our personal additions of job loss, hospitalizations, extended family needs, and pure exhaustion.

If you have read all the way through this post – here is my bottom line. What I am getting at here is this: Before you whisper to someone else that my bathroom floor isn’t clean enough, or my microwave has obviously not been wiped in a while, consider that my child has been grieving their mother and will be, on some level, for years. Consider that our family has gone through some incredibly surprising changes that have been challenging for all four of us for the last year. Consider that out of the one year that we have been a family, Jon has only been employed for 3 of those months. Consider having children that are just less than 16 months apart. Consider having an ill child for 11 of those months. Consider our exhaustion and long recouperation from all of these things. So please, I ask, instead of being disgusted with my dirty toaster oven or my chair with hardened salsa on it I give you these other options:

  • grab a lysol wipe and clean it up yourself
  • just say, “hey Andrea, you missed a spot on the chair.”
  • or joke (nicely) about it and say, “like spaghetti sauce much – it’s all over the inside your microwave.”
  • ask if there is any way you can help
  • ask if there is any way you can help on a regular basis
  • spend a day owning and running a business, working from home while being a wife and mother.
  • just get over yourself a little bit and think about if you have ever had a messy room or dirty floor….
So, please be patient and gracious with us Williams as we are still trying to figure this whole thing out.  We are currently working on completely overhauling our whole house, purging our stuff, rearranging our rooms, deep cleaning and fixing things…. It takes time, it all takes time.  So please be aware we know we are not perfect, we know our parenting is not perfect, we know that our house is regularly untidy and sometimes a bit dirty but we are trying so hard and we are proud of our beautiful children who have come so far and are now doing so well.  We like to celebrate them, and sometimes wrestling on the floor takes over windexing the windows and mirrors.

7 thoughts on “Secrets, Gossip, Judging and Guts

  1. LOVE IT!!!!! Andrea — you said it all perfectly!!! And I for one have been amazed at you and Jon — and your two kids — and all you have come through this past year… and where you are today! And I’m totally with you — wrestling is way more important than windex! Your kids will remember those times forever… They will not remember the spots on the furniture… or your dirty toaster… Keep going, Andrea! 🙂 You’re an amazing mom who has done soooooo well!

  2. Oh Andrea….my heart goes out to you. How some people can be, eh? I don’t even have children and I struggle to keep our place clean…I can’t imagine what it would be like with children/a business etc. Not having a perfect home is certainly NO indicator at all of your parenting skills or you as a person…and its really unfair for someone to judge you based on that. I’ve heard people talking about me about other issues and I know – it hurts! I’ sure people don’t intend to be malicious as gossip is so commonplace….I catch myself doing it sometimes too. It certainly isnt harmless. I for one, see how much love you and Jon pour into your children and the work you put in to make them have happy lives with a supportive community. I can’t imagine the stress/emotions that come along with adoption but from what I can see Makai’o and Amaris have a great family and community to grow up in. Its really hard for people to step up to the plate and ask if you need help, and its so hard to ask for it as well…but know that Shawn and I would be happy to watch Makai’o or Amaris if you ever needed it….I know you don’t know us too well yet so I understand if you’re uncomfortable with it but we’re here to help our friends and community in any way we can. Love you guys! 🙂

  3. Thanks for expressing how you feel. I know that there are many days that I feel the same way. My house usually looks like a tornado has gone through it. My floors are almost always dirty. There is clutter everywhere. The counters aren’t clean. My microwave… well if you find it clean it must have been a really good day. The list could go on and on of things I feel like I “should” be able to do, but just can’t seem to get done because there always seems to be someone who needs me and I’d rather pour my energy into people than things.

    I often struggle with feeling like everyone else seems to have it all together. Whenever I go to someone else’s house I come home feeling like mine looks awful, but then I realize that I just have to get up every day and do the best that I can do and try not to worry about what everyone else might think (way easier said than done). I personally really enjoy reading your blog and seeing your facebook updates about your kids. I think you are incredible parents and you are doing a beautiful job of raising your kids. Keep encouraged. I try to remind myself that some day my kids will be older and more independent and I will have more time to keep my house clean. What I am sure of is that when those days come I will miss the joy and noise and even mess that little children bring to a home. So for today I let the mess be what is is and just do the best that I can do. Praying that you keep encouraged and that the joy of the Lord will be your strength during the difficult days.

    And yes, I agree that our world would be a better place if instead of gossiping we would just speak truth to people and if it’s not something that needs to be said, then just not say anything at all.

  4. I, too, prefer when people tell me things up front. My friends are those people who appreciate I will do the same. If I do gripe momentarily about someone when they’re not present, it’s because the conversation has been had (sometimes repeatedly) with the person at question. I really try to limit that, though, because it’s hard for me to find the balance between sorting out a situation and going into gripe mode.

    Your suggestions about how people can communicate something in a way that’s not hurtful and actually elevates the mood are awesome. I wish folks would print up that list and use it as a reminder.

    Where cleaning’s concerned, I spend very little time on it. In my son’s early days, I was going bonkers with trying to keep everything running smoothly. I calmly assessed how much time I had each day, which tasks I truly had to complete and how much time I’d have left over after those were accounted for. Coming at it from that perspective helped me feel peachy-keen about ditching more than five minutes of cleaning a day from my daily routine.

    My mom kept a horribly messy house. A lot of folks used this as a basis for telling her she was a horrible mother. And yet . . . in the end, her kids turned into kind, capable people. Was it really the cleanliness level of the house that mattered, in the end? Or was it the love and the laughter she readily shared? I’m sure you can see from the way I’ve phrased the question where my answers fall!

  5. Just a little something ;
    The people/person who said/says these things or anything about you or our family or the up keep of your house and our babies don’t ACTUALLY know you do they…?? if they did – they wouldn’t be saying a thing, but actually doing all the things you lined out of ways they can help….

    just sayin’

    you and jon are doing great! ❤

  6. Wow, so I totally just FOUND your blog!!! I sort of recall way back in the archives that you said you had one all about your family journey, but I lost that information among all of the other junk in there.
    Anywho, I paticularly love this post! And in the words of great YWAM leaders…Thank you for sharing 🙂 🙂

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