My birthday was this week. I’m 38 years old. Ack! 38?! How did that sneak up on me so quickly?? Ah well, 40 is the new 30 you know, so no worries. You didn’t know that? Well, now you do because I just said so! :) Sometimes it really comes in handy to be a mom who can say, “because I said so”, doesn’t it? ;)
I had some time to myself the day before my birthday and I was thankful to have a little time to reflect. Introverted me always gets super-introverted on the eve of a milestone. Seriously, I used to LOVE spending New Year’s Eve alone in a room lit with candles, just thinking, or sometimes journaling about the past year and wondering about the year to come. Can anyone be more nerdy/anti-social than that?
I began thinking about this past year, and other than the passing away of my grandmother, it felt like a relatively uneventful year. I accomplished pretty much NOTHING.
The thought struck me that there are quite a few things I regret about the past year – not being on top of tasks; not being a perfect, patient, gentle, loving mommy; not being the world’s best wife (not by a long shot, let me tell you); etc. I could make a very long list, but I will spare you. The point is, I was focusing on what I’m not, and seeing very little good in what I am or have done this past year.
As I thought about how I’ve spent my time, I kept returning to the fact that a disproportionate amount of time has been spent online – blogging, surfing, reading blogs, planning activities for M – you know, all the stuff we do with the internet at our fingertips. It’s been disproportionate in the sense that there’s not much in real life to show for it. There’s a little. But not enough to justify the amount of time spent on it. Or so I thought.
As I began thinking about blogging and the role it plays in my life (you know this is not the first time I’ve thought this whole thing over – it seems like I’m always needing a “break”, doesn’t it?), I began to think that maybe I don’t really like having a blog. Maybe I don’t like rehashing every little thing we do; maybe I don’t like the time spent wondering if anyone is going to comment and tell me they just love my ideas and are going to use them (because the first time I got a comment like that I was immediately addicted to it and wanted more). Maybe I don’t really like spending so much time thinking about myself. Maybe that leads to a lot of time wasted instead of a lot of time… not wasted. Maybe, just maybe I could be a better mommy, a better wife, a better me if I just got over myself!
And then I started down the path of “has blogging had any impact for good in my life?” I’m talking here about blogging in the early childhood, mama, homeschool community of bloggers.
And of course, there’s a lot of truth in that paragraph above about spending too much time navel-gazing. But thankfully there’s more to it than just that. If I can sort through the bad, I see that there’s some good mixed in there too.
And it comes down to this: my view of motherhood has changed simply by the fact that I’ve immersed myself into this community of bloggers. My view of motherhood has changed because all of you have changed my heart. I no longer think in terms of “when this phase of M being such a needy child ends, I will finally have my life back.” I’ve come to view motherhood as being my life, my role in life in this season of my life.
The purpose of my life at this point in time is to raise my child (and children, if we are blessed with more – ahem, are You listening, God? Time’s a-wasting!) and love my husband (who, thankfully, is pretty loveable). There’s something very liberating about viewing my role as a mother this way. Maybe it’s partly the sense of peace that comes from having a definite purpose in life that I can know and direct my efforts toward. But it’s more than that. It’s an end to the struggle of finding that elusive “balance” between meeting the needs of my family and meeting my own needs. One doesn’t exclude the other. If I never saw raising my child as the purpose of my life (at this time) it would be easy for me to put my attention on other things, never really letting it rest on him and his well-being, his education, his faith, his behavior.
If I never had this realization (and I’m sure many of you are rolling your eyes, wondering why I’m only now getting it), I’d still be trying to make myself happy. I’d still be searching “out there” for fulfillment. You know – the way I spent all my time before having a baby – happily living for myself.
Oh wait… was I really all that happy back then, living and working and doing everything for myself? I distinctly remember years of unhappiness in the midst of all that self-centeredness, because I wanted a baby so badly and then lost babies through miscarriages and grieved and then went back to trying and then… well, you get the idea. I wasn’t very happy, not really. Not until a little blonde boy came along and made me Mama.
Now, I don’t want it to sound like M is my life (well, ok, I probably can’t fool you in regards to that); but let me make it clear that I don’t want this sense of his development being my “purpose” to create any pressure or stress for him. That’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about a change that has occurred within myself,;, a change of perspective, I guess. And I owe so much of it to you wonderful mama bloggers who take the time to write about your busy lives, and inspire the world simply by sharing your joy and love of being Mama. Thank you for that.
It’s the same joy and love I felt when I was handed this on the morning of my birthday:
“Mommy happy birthday”
Have a beautiful day! :)