Occasionally, I get this yearning to do something great. Like, fight for world peace. Or adopt a child that needs a home. Or solve some third world crisis with a Non-Profit start up company. I can’t quite describe it, but these feelings happen. Something in my says, “You could be doing more.” or “You aren’t doing enough that matters”. I believe those little voices in my head are ones that don’t belong there.
I’ve always thought being a stay at home Mom was one of the most important jobs on the planet. Then I became one, and in creeps that nasty voice telling me that it isn’t enough. I don’t believe that voice, but it’s hard to drown it out on days when I’m knee deep in laundry and messes, and not having cute, bonding moments with my children every second. It’s hard to imagine that this was what my life was supposed to be. That’s when my mind starts to wander the most. I hear about incredible women accomplishing world peace type things and I think, “This is it? Really?”
Recently, I was feeling that. I was looking outside of myself trying to find that great project to save the world that I knew I had in me. I felt that restlessness. Like any other day, I took my kids to the library just to get us out of the house and to get out of my head. They were running up and down a ramp and they were so happy squealing with delight when a quiet voice whispered to me, “You are doing the MOST important thing you could be doing right now, Meredith” It wasn’t audible, but it was a feeling. God was reminding me of what I already knew. Motherhood IS the most important. It is and can be everything.
Stay at home Moms are even guilty of saying that they are “just” stay at home Moms. I’ve said it. But, the important thing to remember is that shaping tiny human beings can change the world. In a big way. I look at my kids now and they are so little. I can’t see who they will become. What they will do. When you’re in the trenches, that voice that says “It isn’t enough” is much louder than the one that whispers to you that you are doing everything you’re supposed to do. (And more, usually) I love that quote that the influence of a mother is beyond calculation. We can’t possibly know the kind of change, influence or impact we are making on the world right in our own homes. Whether you work outside the home or not, the influence of a mother is powerful.
But, how do you trust the voice that is telling you it IS enough? I don’t know about you, but it’s hard for me. I’ve blogged before about how this motherhood gig can be suffocating. So, how do you remind yourself of what really matters?
Here are a few things that work for me:
1. Spend extra time with my kids. So often my kids are left to fend for themselves while I cook dinner, do laundry, work, or do a million other things that are on my plate. Separation from them makes me feel separated from the realization that this is the most important job. You might argue, “But I spend every waking second with my kids!” Believe me, I know. I feel that way too. But, sometimes 20 minutes of reading, going on a walk outside, or re-connecting by asking them what they want to do with you does wonders. It also reminds me of what amazing kids they are, which in turn reminds me that this work is the most important.
2. Take time for myself. Yesterday, I got a pedicure. I get one every few months of so. I decided to even throw in a manicure too. Something I’ve only done twice in 7 years. While this idea may seem to contradict the first one, it doesn’t. If you feel like you have time to yourself, you won’t mind spending time with your kids. I love this quote by one of our church leaders, “Pick one or two things that you would like to learn or do that will enrich your life, and make time for them. Water cannot be drawn from an empty well, and if you are not setting aside a little time for what replenishes you, you will have less and less to give to others, even to your children.”
3. Get out of your comfort zone. I know that I could sit home all day long and have plenty to do. In fact, I’m kind of a homebody. So, going out when I don’t want to is a good way to fight the SAHM blues. Maybe you’re the opposite? You run yourself ragged filling up the hours with activities. Try slowing down. Do the opposite of what you’re most inclined to do when you’re feeling low, and chances are you will feel better after.
4. Tell yourself that the time goes by quickly. I hate it when other people say this to me. However, it’s SO true! One thing I do to remind myself that this moment with young kids is fleeting is by looking through old photos. When I see my 7 year old as a fat pudgy baby, or hear her singing songs on old videos of her when she was 2, I want to cry. I realize that what I’m doing is precious and fragile and fleeting. And, although it’s hard to swallow, it helps me treasure the present more.
5. Connect with other Moms. For me, this one is essential. I usually feel 100% better after spending time with another Mom that “gets me”. Someone that I can vent to or complain about on a hard day helps so much. Even the mom that seems to have it all together probably doesn’t. Try being brave and asking her what the hardest thing about being a mom is for her. You might be surprised to find she is more like you than you think.
6. Seek Inspiration as part of your daily routine. Everyone has different ways of doing this. Maybe your inspiration comes within, or maybe it comes from a higher power. Maybe you meditate or do yoga, or maybe you are a runner. Everyone needs to feel inspired to feel alive. I believe this. One of my favorite things to do is read inspirational quotes and write. Maybe you need to pray, read your scriptures, or seek out a higher power in your eyes. Whatever it is, doing it regularly or even daily will help you feel more at peace in the chaos.
Whether you work outside of the home, or you are a stay at home Mom, you might feel like your job as a mom is not fulfilling. Not important. But, I believe it is one of the most important things I can do in this life. Raise good human beings. The impact that can have on the world is unimaginable. Beyond Calcuation. Take time to remind yourself of that, and you might just get through the hard days without that restless feeling that there could be more. Because, in reality, it is enough.