Motherhood is about more than just “doing.”
Do you ever feel that being a mother is like taking a break from yourself, giving to your littles, and then checking back into your life once your kids are grown and on their own? Motherhood is a “do, do, do,” job and it’s easy to forget to simply be. It’s a job that’s measured in milestones and checklists that consume us and spit us out with no concern for an identity outside of being “mama.”
But instead of taking control over our journey through motherhood, we let it take control of us and start to dream our way through it by looking forward to the light we assume is at the end of the tunnel…
“Things will be great when my child finally sleeps through the night.”
“Once he’s potty trained, I’ll be much happier”
“When school starts, things will get easier, and then I’ll have time to take care of myself.”
But in truth, each stage comes with new expectations and responsibilities. You trade in the diapers and become a taxi driver. The shirt covered in spit-up soon is replaced with a soccer mom jersey. And the frustrating repetition of the sound “Mommmmmm” is replaced with the aching for your child to open up to you — teenage angst and all. Pages in the book of life are turned and we keep “doing” but the “being” part we miss. We become so focused on the journey and the new chapters that we forget to enjoy the arrival to each one.
Don’t wish each phase away because you are overworked by doing. Intentionally take the time to sit and just “be” right where you are. I was venting to my mom today about how 11 a.m. is my least favorite time of day because the sun shines through our dining room windows at just the right angle to reflect all the dirty handprints that are layered one on top of each other up and down the glass. And then a thin layer of dust reveals itself atop our dining room table. I like things clean, and I don’t like that cleaning as a mom is like two steps forward and three steps back. But my mom takes me out of my “doing” state and reminds me to “be.”
“Be appreciative of those handprints because one day, you will miss them when you look through your clean windows.”
I remember to dwell longer in the moments that pass me by between all the doing.
Being a mother is emptying, and we can’t rely on our kids to fill us up. What fills us up is the perspective that happens during the being. When we dwell, suddenly the paint dried on the bathroom door handle is a sign of our children’s creative exploration, the pen marks in your favorite book is a reminder of the first time your son tried to spell his name, and the dirt on the rug symbolizes the outdoor adventures that were had until the sun went to sleep.
So next time you’re leading with checklists and responsibilities, though they will never end, count it all joy. Don’t let motherhood be the pause between your life’s beginning and your life’s end. Let it be one of the best parts of your story. Remember to pack up your work’s to-do list every now and then and set it aside to enjoy the view that’s right in front of you.