When You Push the Reset Button... Again.
One of my biggest struggles with motherhood isn’t the sleep deprivation. It isn’t being the last to eat, or even the lack of daily showers.
If I’m being honest with myself, my biggest battle is shaking that feeling that “my life” is on hold.
Yes, I’m a mom. It’s a role I both chose and love. But I’m more than a baby maker and caretaker. I’m a woman. A dreamer. A writer. A maker of lists and plans. While changing diapers and waiting in school pick-up lines, I think about the books I want to write, the places I want to visit, and the nonprofit I want to start. The list doesn’t stop there. I’m constantly making plans—and (GASP!) not all of them revolve around my kids.
While each child has brought such joy, I’ve also experienced this feeling that I’m pushing a giant, red reset button. We’re back at the beginning. One more year until I can sleep through the night. Three more years until we’re done with diapers. Five more years until all the kids are in school. I bring baby home, and the countdown starts all over again.
During this season of having littles at home, my goals often seem to get lost. I often feel divided between the me I have to be today and the me I envision for the future—and I get jealous of future me.
Writing a new chapter of my book gets buried beneath carpools, packing lunches, and spring art shows. Great blogging ideas take a backseat to “work that pays,” cleaning toilets, and finding affordable shoes for my ever-growing guys. The goals are still there, floating around in my heart and head. But with each kid, time to pursue them becomes more limited.
Comparison only stirs things up more. I see moms who already have their kids in school, and I envy the time they have to clean their homes, to meet up with a friend for coffee, or to work full-time doing something they love, something that’s all theirs. I read books written by women my age and think, “I’m so far behind where I should be…”
But comparison is a thief that robs me of the joy of now.
These kids. This life. My messy, chaotic home full of energy and love. Time spent with my husband. These are the things I can’t do without.
Yes, I have dreams. Yes, I can continue to make plans and to inch closer to making those dreams a reality. I can stay up late. I can get up before everyone else. I can chisel away at my vision for the future in tiny moments I find throughout the day while nursing a baby or cooking dinner.
But I can’t let that reset button make me miss the now. I can’t be stretched without the struggle. I can’t have freedom without contentment. I can’t let ambition overshadow the joy of raising my boys or of fully accepting where I am here. Now.
Because no matter how messy or off pace it might seem, I can’t write books about a life that wasn’t lived. I can’t arrive without the journey. And when I embrace motherhood right where I am, I no longer see that reset button as a setback at all, but instead as an invitation to live more abundantly.
Blog originally published on April 30, 2017 on sarahewestfall.com.