Do you ever feel like you have to constantly evolve and reinvent yourself as a mom? And sometimes you are straddling two very different worlds depending on your children’s stages or your own personal career or life situation? I think about my friend who is breastfeeding her baby girl at her son’s senior football game. She has to attend to the primal needs of a baby while simultaneously trying to prepare her son for the real world and adulthood. It boggles my mind.
I often think about all the different iterations of a mother I have been. From a first-time mom who carefully and painstakingly planned out every bit of my days at home with our daughter, to a mom of three children three living in a home that was getting a complete gut rehab, even to a mom now that works full-time and has her kids at home and in a co-op for school. These are all such different versions of me, all defined by the stages of my kids and the circumstances of our lives. There were so many moments along the way that I was sure I had completely lost myself in the process. If I’m being honest, I don’t think I really knew who I was beyond what I needed to get done that day, even if it was simply keeping four children alive and fed.
I had many moments of just hoping and anxiously waiting for the season to change to one that was easier, less exhausting, more relaxed, or just better.
Some days the swim is a little more upstream than I can for, but the process was one that brought me to actually understand who I am and what God wants for me in this season. The season will change, but I am not focused on the eventual change, but rather on living in the current season I’m in.
Some things that helped me realize this and bring me here are:
- Talking to someone: It could be your spouse, a friend, a mentor, or a counselor. Sometimes just saying things out loud is a great first step in moving forward. Or if you feel more comfortable just write it out in a brain dump.
- Take note of things that make you feel alive: If you don’t have things that do, then it is time to try some new things! I’m not saying you need to go skydiving, but maybe you read a book in a warm bath at night instead of watching TV. Perhaps you take a ten minute walk first thing in the morning or learn how to make bread. Whatever it is, find it and keep coming back to it.
- Less is more: I feel like the world is constantly trying to pull us in a million different directions, from what we should be doing to what our kids should be doing to what our house should look like and more. For me, less is more. The less I care about what activities my kids are doing (for our family they all do just one thing that they all do) the more mental capacity I have to love my family well and love myself well (an essential to figuring out who I am and what I am doing). What can you pull back on? It’s ok to not keep up or to say no.
These are just starting points, but everything has to start somewhere. Small steps will add up to big changes. Take heart. Have courage. Keep going.