I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the changes and transformations that happen along the journey of motherhood. In the 2+ years I’ve been on this life-long path, I’ve had to face myself in ways that I never have before. It’s been challenging, frightening, painful, joyful and incredibly rewarding.
One of the things I began to notice soon after I had my first child was the internal fight (read kicking and screaming) that would happen against all the responsibility that I now had. I wanted my own life back, the one where I felt more in control of when and how I spent my time. I was tired of being pushed to give more than I thought I had. I was resisting the transition to being a stay at home Mom because I kept wanting to make room for my own desires. If I was honest, the needs of my family felt in direct competition with my own needs.
I spent many many hours in desperate prayer. Often not even knowing what I was praying for…just letting my hurting heart cry out. Those are sometimes the most moving prayers…lifting up groans that don’t even have words.
When the clouds would clear I would, bit by bit, come a little closer to seeing things as they truly were…and it always involved seeing myself for who I truly was. It hurt to see myself less generous, less sacrificial, less patient, less loving than I thought I was…but it was also freeing because now I could move forward with the work that needed to be done in my heart, instead of feeling blind to where to go from here.
I read recently Simple Mom’s article on choices— she states that most of our choices are not between good and bad, but between good and better. This really resonated with me. I didn’t label the issue good vs better at the time I came to terms with what was really happening, but nonetheless, I began to see clearly that I needed to prioritize many good options out there in order to take on only what I could right now and stay healthy and balanced.
In my case; good was pursuing a career that felt rewarding, meaningful and enjoyable and better was being patient with those dreams and committing myself whole heartedly to the care of my little children and family. When I saw that the choice was really between two goods it became essential to identify my priority in life right now so I didn’t fight myself with decisions all along the way.
Something else struck me in a quiet moment. Every yes is a no. This simple little statement, gave me such clarity. When we choose to say yes to something, we also implicitly are choosing to also say no to something else. On a macro level I (well we, my husband and I ) said YES to children, starting our family, and having two little ones close together….this also was a NO to being able to take on much of a career right now, possibly for the next year or so until this stage shifts and we can reassess what demands that YES makes on our life.
Owning the NO as well as the YES reminded me that it was all my decision. In a world where so much is out of our control, putting the time it would take to pursue my career the way I ultimately would like to (at some point) on hold was something I chose, it wasn’t imposed on me. The internal struggle started to ease up.
I wanted to share this because giving our whole selves to loving and raising our children is hard work. It requires sacrifice and commitment. When I work with other mothers I hear their internal struggles with the NO that is involved with their YES. And while I believe that we can not lose ourselves completely for our own well being, we do need to be honest with what we can take on in order to set ourselves up with realistic expectations and diminish some of the inner conflicts that happen as we go through the transformation that motherhood brings.
What do you think? Did this resonate at all true for you? What are your thoughts?