There are things that you expect when you become a Mom, things people tell you about. The love, the worry, the tiredness (though nothing really prepares you for the sheer exhaustion that is your constant companion for the first few months, or years!)
People talk about mothering as being a great calling. So vital and important and world-changing. When I step back from my life, I can sort of see that, but in the day-to-day, in the nitty-gritty, it’s easy to lose sight of. Being a mom is hard.
As a stay at home mom, I struggle almost daily with feeling like I’m not doing anything of great import. I clean up messes, make meals, do laundry, answer lots of questions, do a lot of child negotiation, clean up messes, get frustrated with my boys, play games, feel guilty about the amount of television that they watch, clean up messes.
As with many things and as a self-centered human being, I tend to think that I am the only one who feels this way. I was talking to a friend the other day, a woman I respect and who I see as being very involved – in the lives of her children, in the church, in a mom’s group. You know what, she feels the same way! She had recently spent time with some people who seemed to have these exciting, full lives. People who had so much to talk about. As moms, when people ask us what is happening in our lives, we feel like we don’t have a lot to say. Take the kids to swim class, have a play date, tidy the house, read a book. We often get glimpses into the lives of others and think that they must have it more together than we do – they have more going on, they have more focus, more energy, more exciting activities.
We moms are all different. Some work, some minister, some have more energy, some are older, some are younger, some stay at home, some seem to have twenty things going on and are doing them all well, some do less.
I know in a philosophical way that “the hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world”, but as I look around my messy house, unable to pick all the messes up one more time today, I don’t feel like I’m ruling anything.
I am so grateful that I get to be at home with my boys, so grateful. I know that these years will fly by and I wouldn’t trade them, but it’s hard sometimes.
I miss being involved in leadership, in the church, in grown up endeavors. I wonder if and when I will be involved in missions again. Want to hear a true confession? I know you do. I avoid meetings, talks, and groups where I know they will talk about missions and passion and getting involved. It is heartbreaking to listen to people talk about things that you are passionate about and feel impotent to get involved, to wonder if you’ll ever go to Africa again, to wonder if your potential has passed you by and now your dreams reside in your children (which is a really bad idea, both for them and for you.) Besides, I really dislike crying in public.
I do try to make sure that I am doing grown up things – this blog (though there is a lot of kid-talk), personal creativity (making things, writing). Still it’s hard, at times, not to feel like I lack purpose, focus and respect. And to be quite honest, the day-to-day stuff feels just plain boring sometimes.
Then it hits me, this too shall pass. It will pass too quickly, my children won’t always be dependent on me and then what? Then there will be something else. I will have more energy, more strength, more time and I will invest those things somewhere else. I pray that I will be ready. In the meantime, I must encourage myself daily that this life, this time I have with my boys is a worthy calling, it’s a tough gig, it’s a mission.
I don’t want to rule the world, but I do pray that I am making a difference.