Thursday, February 12, 2009

Motherhood--Is It Enough?

I have often wondered what I would be doing with my time all day if I wasn't a full-time mom. I mean, would I know how to live and breathe and make it through each day without wiping noses, cleaning toilets, and helping with homework? Do I have skills other than potty training (okay, so that's not a skill I've really mastered yet), reading bedtime stories, folding laundry, and kissing booboo's? I vaguely remember life before motherhood, and it seemed like I had some other talents and interests. What happened? Am I still becoming the woman I hope to become when I have put aside some of my other dreams and goals for a time to be first and foremost a mother? After nine years of writing "homemaker" on every questionaire that asked my occupation, am I content? At the end of the day, is motherhood enough?

Over the past year, I have contemplated my answers to these questions many times. Maybe it's because I feel like we are arriving at a new phase of life when I will no longer be either pregnant or nursing. It's becoming a reality that in only a few short years I will be home ALONE all day, and I am becoming a bit giddy, thinking about all the possibilities of what to do with my time. I can feel myself becoming anxious to revive old skills I haven't put to practice in a while and learn new ones as well.

It's not that I've given up everything to be a mother--in the past nine years I've managed to pursue many of my own interests, like graduating from college, completing writing courses, learning to golf (still working on that one), coaching and playing volleyball, publishing a children's book, and more. I've even been on "The Price is Right" and played an extra in High School Musical 3! It's just that these other interests are just that--other interests. My main priority has been my children, and since mothering young children is such a full-time job, my other activities have had to be squeezed in.

I have to be honest and admit there have been times I've wondered if I've lost myself totally to motherhood. I've worried about still being a contributing member to society if I had to do something besides be a mother. I've gone weeks without being called anything but "mom" or "mother," (besides my husband, of course) so that even to hear someone call me by my first name has shocked me a little. I've had to remind myself, Oh yea. I'm Lori. I'm a person outside of being a mother.

The good news is, I am so profoundly grateful the Lord has blessed me with four children, that I am willing to put my own interests aside a bit to fully dedicate my life to them. It's not that I have to completely forget my own needs and desires, but I only have ONE chance to raise my children--ONE--and if I don't soak every bit of it up while I can, I will have missed the point. I will have regrets, and I don't want regrets. I know I'm making plenty of mistakes as a mother, but this is one I am determined to avoid.

As I was wrestling on the floor with my two-year-old the other day, tickling and laughing, it became clear to me that I was doing exactly what I should be doing at that particular time. This phase of my life is is all about sitting on laps, reading stories, playing with playdough, building castles with blocks, snuggling on the couch with a Disney movie, playing "Old Maid" or matching games, making snow angels, shooting hoops in the driveway, stealing hugs as kids head out the door for school, kissing soft cheeks--then kissing them again--because before long, those soft, pudgy cheeks become more defined as kids grow up into teenagers and then adults and begin to prefer a "high five" instead of a kiss. And if I have to put a few of my passions on the back burner for a few years for my children, I can live with that.

Motherhood is an overwhelming, all-encompassing, exhausting responsibility. It takes the best that's in us, and then some. It's probably the most thankless job on earth. There are no worldly accolades; no pay raises; no sick leave; not even any bail-outs.

But still, it is enough.

Despite all the skills I still hope to devlop, the education I still hope to gain, the talents I still hope to share, the dreams I still hope to realize--the biggest part of me will always be a mother, and that's okay. Although there are still many things I want to succeed at and so much more I want to become, motherhood will always be at the top of the list. It's the one role in which I am determined not to fail, even if it means a life of simplicity and a lack of notoriety. I may always be small in the eyes of the world, but as long as I never let my children down, I will be happy.
Besides, I know a lot of wonderful, dedicated mothers who find a way to become incredible women, sharing their talents and fulfilling their dreams, all while giving their hearts to motherhood. I think the Lord makes it all possible somehow.

So, for now, I will keep taking classes, learning new skills, developing my talents, and making time for myself in the cracks and corners motherhood allows. And at the end of the day, when I think about the ups and downs the day has held, and I ask myself if I wish I was doing something different--something more--I can say with a sincere heart: this is enough!


Ange said...

Fabulously put!

Abby said...

I can't tell you how many times I have asked myself that! Thanks for this post! It was so what I needed to here. Love ya Lori!

Cathy Witbeck said...

Lori, if you haven't been tagged, I'd like to hear 25 random things about you on your blog....

Dixie said...

I related exactly to your story. I loved reading your blog! Dixie