Recently, I had a rude awakening: this is my life, and it’s happening RIGHT NOW. It’s had quite the contrasting ups and downs this year and, to be completely honest, there have been moments I really struggled and even lost faith in myself.
Do I have what it takes to be the mom my older kids need, while keeping up with a very active, molar-cutting 11-month old and trying to take care of myself and this new little baby in my belly…while also taking care of an injured husband? Will I completely lose my mind when this new babe is born? How will things be, how will things change, and, most importantly, how will I rise to the challenge?
It’s tempting to think ahead to the future, to when our littlest ones are not so little, and can at least feed themselves and wipe their own butts. Not gonna lie, that’s kind of a big goal. An opportunity to come up for air. But I don’t want to wish the present away; any of it. I don’t want to reluctantly struggle through this, waiting and hoping for things to get easier. I want to be present TODAY. I want to relish it, enjoy it, and LIVE IT.
My heart, my desires, my very being–the real ME–will not be a martyr to today’s challenges or temporary circumstances. My husband and children deserve to experience the BEST of me, not whatever is left over at the end of cleaning up messes, diffusing sibling arguments and soothing teething babies; and I believe, deep down, that’s every mom’s goal.
Because the truth is this. Motherhood makes you reach into the uttermost depths of your soul to draw upon strength you didn’t even know existed. It forces us out miles of our comfort zones to places we’d never dream of visiting. It pushes us to our limits, then stretches those limits. We do what we must, without giving it a second thought. We expand, we adapt, we become.
So now, I say to you, Motherhood: I quit.
Motherhood: I quit holding on to an unrealistic expectation of what’s “normal.” Instead, I will create my own beautiful norm, born out of the desire to flourish and the need to grow.
Motherhood: I quit allowing myself to define you with stress and exhaustion. Instead, I will define you with strength, love, patience and kindness.
Motherhood: I quit practicing self-pity, pessimism and a life controlled by my emotions. Instead, I will practice self-acceptance, gratitude and meditation.
The truth is, I could zone out. I could turn on the autopilot. I could zombie through the next several years to cope with the difficulty of parenting small children again. I could lose hope of life, excitement and joy, all in the name of sacrifice…allowing myself and my family to feel its ugly effects. Instead, I CHOOSE TO QUIT accepting that norm, and choose instead to live purposefully and intentionally.