There are hard days. Hard weeks. Hard nights. Hard moments. Parenting isn’t full of cuteness all the time. And yet, it can catch the best of us by surprise.
Cooking, dishes, cleaning, and laundry are endless. To this day I struggle to meet my own expectations, but I have come through those hard times where I felt like I wasn’t doing anything that mattered. It’s like I’ve finally found my stride, I am content and yet I know that it won’t last because parenting is an ever-changing experience.
Last week, a friend on Facebook said just that, she couldn’t wait to do something that mattered when her kids were in school. I felt her frustration rub that sore spot in my own heart.
It’s taken me 6 years to feel like I belong to this whole motherhood thing. While I wanted it the moment I found out I was pregnant, I also wanted everything else. In the midst of sleepless nights and endless messes, I got lost in the lie that I couldn’t have everything. The truth is that we can’t have everything at all at once. We can find our way to doing and being who we want to be, but need to allow ourselves time to shift into them.
For me, the biggest key to sorting through my own personal battle of “what does this matter?” phase, was to ask more questions. What do I think matters? How is it related to where I am right now? My answers were along the lines of: support sustainable agriculture, foster critical thinking, help people take action to make the world a better place – lofty, I know, but a girl has her ideals, right? So, what I did was to step back and ask myself more questions about how I could do all these things while being a Stay-At-Home Mom. The answers were staring me in the face, literally.
The kids and I started growing some vegetables. I was putting my ideals into practice: eating local, fresh produce (supporting sustainable agriculture on a small scale). Foster critical thinking starts at home: I use commercials as examples to my kids – what are they trying to sell you? Why? Really, critical thinking starts young, at home, so why not train my own kids? Helping make the world a better place is lofty and vague, I know. But, going to help teach kids in Africa how to read isn’t possible if I want to be a Stay-At-Home-Mom. So, I dug a little deeper. And, we’re acting local – our own neighborhood is “affordable” which means it supports low-income housing options and starter homes. We pick up trash and that’s making the world better by being a little cleaner (better on the eyes, better for the creek and Puget Sound) – place on our block!
No matter where you’re at in your Mothering journey, don’t believe that what you do doesn’t matter. It does. It matters more than you will ever know. If you’re struggling, be kind to yourself. Give yourself a little time to do something that fills you with joy – watch a movie, dance, draw, sing whatever helps rejuvenate your soul. It doesn’t have to be expensive or every week. Just listen to yourself and you’ll find your stride. I’ve finally found mine.