Tuesday, August 5, 2008

How much has your mothering changed after...

How has your mothering changed after realizing you are not going to have life the way you thought it would be? Yes, I said your mothering. Have you realized a personal struggle within you with the way you thought life might be and the way it actually is? Maybe you (like me) didn't really think about changing life too much, but just adding children to it? I've been a mother for over 5 years now, and I am just getting to this point with myself - that things weren't maybe the way I had "planned."

After having a thought provoking short discussion with another MOPS mom the other day I came across that thought. Don't we seem to make it hard on ourselves as Moms/Women? There has always been that struggle of what I want to do and what I need to do (my activities, vs. being with the children/house stuff). I want a lot of things. I want to do things that I have always liked to do; sew, craft, read, exercise, go out and about, visit family, camp, hike, etc. These are things that define a person... "What do you like to do?"

And then we become Moms.

And what happens to what we like to do - who we are? (were??)

Personal activities seem to get pushed aside after becoming parents (of course this goes for the men too, but I am writing from the female perspective here). But for how long? How long do we push that aside? How long do we just drop who we are (were??)? How do we determine when it is OK to do those things, some of those things, one of those things for 30 minutes? Is that who we even are anymore? Can it still be? Can we be both people? Can we be happy doing those things for just a fraction of the time we used to do them for?

It seems the quicker we give up the struggle of trying to keep life the same as it was pre-children, the quicker we can accept where we are with what God has given us and adopt a new life. It is almost like we are in the "tween" years at this point - (re)defining ourselves. Maybe a couple years after having kids, they are now much more self sufficient, and you have a little more free time and start thinking about what you might do with yourself (besides catching up on all the things you "should" have been doing with the house, cooking, husband, etc., but didn't have time in the baby years...). But then maybe another baby comes along just as you were getting some ideas and knocks you back to that place of struggle... Lord, how long? How can I "be myself" if I can't do the things that define me? What is it that defines me now? Am I "just a mother"?

And then the thought comes of: Be myself? What is that? What is that now? Where is my focus? Am I that selfish (uh, yeah!) that I want to be who I was b.k. (before kids) and not fully embrace this call to be a mother? It was who I was for almost 30 years for goodness sake!

So our conversation went to the idea that the sooner you give up the struggle with yourself that you are not who you were and that you have to redefine your life now, it really changes your mothering. I am feeling much less of a need to do those previous things in my life. Yes, even to the point of going into the local quilt store and >>gasp<< realizing there was nothing for me to buy(what?? were you in the same store I was and see all the cute stuff?) , and walking out completely happy? Two years ago I'm sure I would have bought something on the false hope that I could complete it, or even spend 5 minutes on it in the near future, or if not purchasing, going to that pity place of "I never have time to do anything, oh whoa is me".

My mothering has changed. I am happier with my kids because of not resenting the time I "have" to give them instead of doing "my" activities.

I'm sure it is a God thing, that He has been working on my heart about this because I have really struggled off and on about this topic... lets see, for about 5 years now!! (I'm sure this post isn't put together in a very well thought out outline, but the thoughts are just coming, so I am just typing.) It is a little struggle with do you fit your life around your kids or do your kids fit into your life, but there must be a balance. What is good for them, what is sanity for you? So your life doesn't work like it did b.k. but isn't it better now all things considered? So the question becomes "How do you adapt yourself to retain who you are but is that really who you are ...now?" Or who God wants us to be now?

Anyway, I am so thankful for MOPS. It allows these types of conversations to flow and lets us "get it all out" so we can be thinking and changing and growing. Helping each other find The Way.

Lord, help us live the way you want us to live.
Help us to bring Glory to You in all of our activities.
We know you will not withhold what is good for us.
We know you will give us everything that is good.
Help us, Lord, to know what those things are.
Help us to know who You want us to be.
Thank you for working in our hearts even when we don't know it yet.
Thank you for being with us through the daily struggles.
Thank you that we can come to you with our questions,
our struggles, our trials.
Thank you that you already know the outcome.
Thank you that you love us even though we don't deserve it.
Thank you for being who you are
and help us to know who you want us to be.

Thanks for listening. Please share your thoughts!

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Of course, now I'm scared we're NEVER going to be able to do anything fun after January! We definitely know a big change is coming, our lives will absolutely never be the same. What will this mean to my sanity, to who I am? I don't know, I'll get back to you this time next year!