the me I want to be

by Matt MooneyMarch 12, 2010

Anders is awesome.  Hazel is fast & furious.  Ginny is busy.

I have been enjoying a stay-cation this week- beginning on Wednesday and ending today.  For those not familiar- a stay-cation is just like a vacation, only it has no destination.  Yes, this is a complex idea- reserved only for folks without the means to make it to the beach.

I’ve been off work, and at home.

I recommend it, and have used the time to catch up on bills, get the cars tagged, and other items that should have been done already.  The fact that I am giving thumbs up to such a lame venture must surely tip you off to the current stage of life that my mate & I occupy.

I am 32.  Ginny is 30.  We’ve got two beautiful kiddos occupying space under a common roof with us, and they require a little attention.  It’s an awesome stage.  Incredible, actually.  Would not trade it…and every other cliché’ you can insert here, that basically says I LOVE IT.

A community surrounds us here in Fayetteville of folks pretty much in the same boat- and this is simultaneously wonderful and frightening.  Because, I feel like- when a conversation manages to venture past the surface-level topics of weather, the children, or the news- I have the same two conversations constantly.  One is reserved for the males, and the other for the gals.  It may hover in nuance, but when peeled as an onion, it predictably smells like this:

Males:  I am making it.  Even enjoying it.  But, man, I am exhausted.  My marriage is on the back burner because by the time we get to talk, we’re just tired.  I love my kids, but I’m not sure that I am a good parent.  I am scrambling for ways to be more engaged in our home.  I am thankful for my job, but it is constantly asking more than I have to give.  I dream of a job I like, and if I can manage to put food on the table another way, I might do it.

The truth is, the script comes easy, cause I’m living much of it as well.  Again, I do not want to sound like I’m whining.  I am not (see above cliché’s).  I am keenly aware that I am churning out some of my life’s greatest memories at a faster pace than any other time I have experienced.

But I am just as aware of a less-discussed reality- these are dangerous times I am living.

I am fond of laughing at college kids who tell me how busy they are.  I have a standard go-to line for these naïve souls that I readily apply to all stages of life.  One that I think I believed when I created it:  you will never be less busy than you are today.

However, my mantra has left me currently hoping for that rare occasion when I am wrong.  I am starting to think that the season that my friends and I are living is a unique one, and even as I type that, I can hear my fifty-something self scoffing at such a colossal lack of wisdom.

Let me attempt to explain.  One is typically not established in the work arena at this age, and unable to comfortably place work in its proper place because, well, we’re aware that we are expendable, and no man likes to lack in provision for his family.  So we work, while the kids do most of their of their “firsts” while we were at a meeting.

I have been told by someone more wise than me that children take physical resources when they are young and emotional resources as they age.  With that said, the home piece of the pie is quite demanding with young children.  They demand that which you are dying to give them- your time.  And if they do get any, then your wife does not.

And so, these are the times when couples drift away from each other at a pace so subtle it’s not noticed until the kids leave and you no longer know your spouse.  These are the times that old, bitter men would point to if they could- because this is where they began to feel that they existed to provide the family with a life they did not get to participate in.  These are the times when fathers give up trying to be great- because the chasm leading to the dad they want to be seems just another item on the punch list that they cannot finish.

And so, I am determined to get the babysitter that I am not sure we can afford to go eat at the place I know we can’t.  Because she smiles when I take her out to eat.

I am determined to give Hazel baths, even though it is twice the battle it would be if Ginny were to do so instead.  Because I know she stands her toys up one at a time, just to knock them back down and laugh.

I am determined to navigate work whereby I give my best, and yet battle against anything that would stand between the me I want to be.  Because I’ve never attended the funeral where the focus was how he wowed ‘em with his presentation.

Unspoken in all this, is what I believe to be the most important.  Many well-intentioned men quit pursuing Christ during this season.  This reality often serves as the first domino.

And it is here that no amount of determination will suffice.  And so, I am determined to pray for an awareness of my own desperation.  Because I am prone to turn from the source of all good things and chase my own demise.

Well, I never got to the women.  Maybe next time.

8 Comments

  1. Joy on March 12, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Yeah, I was waiting and reading and looking forward to the women part! Oh well, looking forward to next time.

    Awesome post…really loved it. Inspiring. Thanks for sharing with us.

  2. RLR on March 12, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    I can really relate to this post.
    We are just a little older than you and Ginny – our kids just a bit older, too – and we have found this to be so true… that in the midst of jobs/family/general chaos, the marriage gets pushed to the back burner. Thankfully, a couples’ study at our church came along at a point when we were both open to accepting that we need it. At nearly 12 years into our marriage – the youngest couple in the class but not the shortest marriage – and 18 years into our relationship, we are working to maintain the balance.
    We look back on how things have changed over the years, or wonder why we haven’t done some particular thing we wanted to do, and our answer has always been, “Well, life happened.” I feel like ‘life’ is a poor excuse for not getting out of your life what it is that you truly want. Just getting on the carousel and riding it in circles gets you nowhere. We’re regaining control, directing things again, one step at a time.
    Thanks for reminding me that we aren’t the only ones experiencing this drift, and for helping me understand my husband’s perspective a bit better.

  3. Tamara on March 12, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    So well done mister!! Thanks for being honest and publishing what so many think but are scared to say- we are blessed that God gave us all as friends to love and support and carry and enjoy each other during this great phase of life known as the 30s… Some of us further along than others

  4. Cary on March 12, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    I am proud to know you.

  5. Amy on March 13, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    I found your site a few years ago and have followed you all faithfully through your journey. I’ve never posted before. We also have 2 young kids (2 years and about to be 1). I read your post and then had my husband read it. It sparked the best conversation we’ve had in quite some time and has jump started us to really be intentionally about some changes. Can’t wait to read the women as I’m sure I can recite that script well!

  6. Ashley Sanford on March 16, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Matt-

    My kids are asleep, I’m drinking coffee and surfing the web… were you just trying to make me cry to round-out the naptime experience. Thanks for sharing. Always inspiring. Looking forward to getting our families together one of these days (hard to believe that four new people have joined the world since the last time we saw the Mooneys!)

    Ashley

  7. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Misty . Misty said: Must read for dad: http://theatypicallife.com/blog/uncategorized/the-me-i-want-to-be/ […]

  8. cna training on March 28, 2010 at 2:52 am

    nice post. thanks.

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Anders is awesome.  Hazel is fast & furious.  Ginny is busy.

I have been enjoying a stay-cation this week- beginning on Wednesday and ending today.  For those not familiar- a stay-cation is just like a vacation, only it has no destination.  Yes, this is a complex idea- reserved only for folks without the means to make it to the beach.

I’ve been off work, and at home.

I recommend it, and have used the time to catch up on bills, get the cars tagged, and other items that should have been done already.  The fact that I am giving thumbs up to such a lame venture must surely tip you off to the current stage of life that my mate & I occupy.

I am 32.  Ginny is 30.  We’ve got two beautiful kiddos occupying space under a common roof with us, and they require a little attention.  It’s an awesome stage.  Incredible, actually.  Would not trade it…and every other cliché’ you can insert here, that basically says I LOVE IT.

A community surrounds us here in Fayetteville of folks pretty much in the same boat- and this is simultaneously wonderful and frightening.  Because, I feel like- when a conversation manages to venture past the surface-level topics of weather, the children, or the news- I have the same two conversations constantly.  One is reserved for the males, and the other for the gals.  It may hover in nuance, but when peeled as an onion, it predictably smells like this:

Males:  I am making it.  Even enjoying it.  But, man, I am exhausted.  My marriage is on the back burner because by the time we get to talk, we’re just tired.  I love my kids, but I’m not sure that I am a good parent.  I am scrambling for ways to be more engaged in our home.  I am thankful for my job, but it is constantly asking more than I have to give.  I dream of a job I like, and if I can manage to put food on the table another way, I might do it.

The truth is, the script comes easy, cause I’m living much of it as well.  Again, I do not want to sound like I’m whining.  I am not (see above cliché’s).  I am keenly aware that I am churning out some of my life’s greatest memories at a faster pace than any other time I have experienced.

But I am just as aware of a less-discussed reality- these are dangerous times I am living.

I am fond of laughing at college kids who tell me how busy they are.  I have a standard go-to line for these naïve souls that I readily apply to all stages of life.  One that I think I believed when I created it:  you will never be less busy than you are today.

However, my mantra has left me currently hoping for that rare occasion when I am wrong.  I am starting to think that the season that my friends and I are living is a unique one, and even as I type that, I can hear my fifty-something self scoffing at such a colossal lack of wisdom.

Let me attempt to explain.  One is typically not established in the work arena at this age, and unable to comfortably place work in its proper place because, well, we’re aware that we are expendable, and no man likes to lack in provision for his family.  So we work, while the kids do most of their of their “firsts” while we were at a meeting.

I have been told by someone more wise than me that children take physical resources when they are young and emotional resources as they age.  With that said, the home piece of the pie is quite demanding with young children.  They demand that which you are dying to give them- your time.  And if they do get any, then your wife does not.

And so, these are the times when couples drift away from each other at a pace so subtle it’s not noticed until the kids leave and you no longer know your spouse.  These are the times that old, bitter men would point to if they could- because this is where they began to feel that they existed to provide the family with a life they did not get to participate in.  These are the times when fathers give up trying to be great- because the chasm leading to the dad they want to be seems just another item on the punch list that they cannot finish.

And so, I am determined to get the babysitter that I am not sure we can afford to go eat at the place I know we can’t.  Because she smiles when I take her out to eat.

I am determined to give Hazel baths, even though it is twice the battle it would be if Ginny were to do so instead.  Because I know she stands her toys up one at a time, just to knock them back down and laugh.

I am determined to navigate work whereby I give my best, and yet battle against anything that would stand between the me I want to be.  Because I’ve never attended the funeral where the focus was how he wowed ‘em with his presentation.

Unspoken in all this, is what I believe to be the most important.  Many well-intentioned men quit pursuing Christ during this season.  This reality often serves as the first domino.

And it is here that no amount of determination will suffice.  And so, I am determined to pray for an awareness of my own desperation.  Because I am prone to turn from the source of all good things and chase my own demise.

Well, I never got to the women.  Maybe next time.

8 Comments

  1. Joy on March 12, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Yeah, I was waiting and reading and looking forward to the women part! Oh well, looking forward to next time.

    Awesome post…really loved it. Inspiring. Thanks for sharing with us.

  2. RLR on March 12, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    I can really relate to this post.
    We are just a little older than you and Ginny – our kids just a bit older, too – and we have found this to be so true… that in the midst of jobs/family/general chaos, the marriage gets pushed to the back burner. Thankfully, a couples’ study at our church came along at a point when we were both open to accepting that we need it. At nearly 12 years into our marriage – the youngest couple in the class but not the shortest marriage – and 18 years into our relationship, we are working to maintain the balance.
    We look back on how things have changed over the years, or wonder why we haven’t done some particular thing we wanted to do, and our answer has always been, “Well, life happened.” I feel like ‘life’ is a poor excuse for not getting out of your life what it is that you truly want. Just getting on the carousel and riding it in circles gets you nowhere. We’re regaining control, directing things again, one step at a time.
    Thanks for reminding me that we aren’t the only ones experiencing this drift, and for helping me understand my husband’s perspective a bit better.

  3. Tamara on March 12, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    So well done mister!! Thanks for being honest and publishing what so many think but are scared to say- we are blessed that God gave us all as friends to love and support and carry and enjoy each other during this great phase of life known as the 30s… Some of us further along than others

  4. Cary on March 12, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    I am proud to know you.

  5. Amy on March 13, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    I found your site a few years ago and have followed you all faithfully through your journey. I’ve never posted before. We also have 2 young kids (2 years and about to be 1). I read your post and then had my husband read it. It sparked the best conversation we’ve had in quite some time and has jump started us to really be intentionally about some changes. Can’t wait to read the women as I’m sure I can recite that script well!

  6. Ashley Sanford on March 16, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Matt-

    My kids are asleep, I’m drinking coffee and surfing the web… were you just trying to make me cry to round-out the naptime experience. Thanks for sharing. Always inspiring. Looking forward to getting our families together one of these days (hard to believe that four new people have joined the world since the last time we saw the Mooneys!)

    Ashley

  7. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Misty . Misty said: Must read for dad: http://theatypicallife.com/blog/uncategorized/the-me-i-want-to-be/ […]

  8. cna training on March 28, 2010 at 2:52 am

    nice post. thanks.

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