I've struggled with a lot of aspects of mothering M in his second year of life. There are so many changes in him that it's nearly like learning to mother all over again with each new day. My biggest struggle, however, has not been found in M but in myself.
I'm a Creative. My mind is always going, about a plethora of things, but there's always something in there longing to be created. Whether it be words written, yarn knitted or fabric sewn, there is forever a list of to-do's going in the "create" side of my brain. And this has been one of the hardest aspects of mothering I've faced yet.
How do I do the thing my heart is yearning to do when it seems to fall quite low on the list of importance. Let me clarify here: it is not low on my list or T's list. It's low on the generalized Mothering To-Do List. That list, from what I've gathered, goes as follows:
- Food (i.e. making, buying, growing, etc)
- Home-Care (i.e. fixing, painting, beautify-ing, etc.)
- Personal Enjoyment (i.e. feeding that creativity monster wreaking havoc on my heart daily.)
Once again let me clarify, this is not my personal list. This is not my wonderful, supportive husband's list. This is the list as I see the world around me. As I feel the looks, hear the comments, read the assumptions and receive the expectations. I have to believe I'm not alone in this.
I love being a mother. I love being a wife. I will do both of those things better when I can let what the Lord pours into me pour out through the various avenues He has gifted in me.
The reality is, I have an enemy who wants nothing more than for me to feel shame at even the thought of taking time away from others to feed my creative soul. When I think of stealing an hour to write, I no more than finish that thought and in comes the cloud of shame.
"Who am I to think I deserve an hour to do that when T will be left with the baby?"
"If ever there were a person who should not get time to herself it's me. There are far too many people around me with far too many needs for me to take time away from them just to feed my soul."
The word shame means: a painful emotion caused by a strong sense of guilt, embarrassment, unworthiness, or disgrace.
Isn't that what this comes down to? Unworthiness? As mom, the needs of those in my care are to be met first and foremost. But the trouble here is that I'm not just "mom". Before that I am daughter.
I am the daughter of the Most High King. I cannot be mom without first living in my role as daughter. While I may feel unworthiness in the eyes of others around me, that's not my Truth. My Truth is that He loves me. He loves me because I love Him. In seeking Him early and diligently I will surely find Him (adapted from Proverbs 8:17). His love gives me worth. His love and favor make those hours alone to be Laura worth fighting for. Because when He sees me He doesn't just see the mom part of me, but all of me, and He never intended for certain parts of me to go into hiding because He has placed others into my care for a season. In drawing near to Him, He draws near to me, supplying me with what I need to be Laura completely: wife, mom, daughter, creative.
I will never convince other's enough to stop the glares or comments or sighs so that I can freely spend time letting my heart soar. The enemy will always use them to try to get me to believe that this time isn't valuable. Thankfully, my freedom isn't found in anything that is eye-level. I still feel awkward trying to figure out where and how this time fits into life. The biggest area of strain will be in being ok with letting people down. I just might need to write Galatians 1:10 on every visible piece of skin so that no matter where I turn I will be reminded of it's truth.
I am not trying to please man.
I am trying to please my King.
If you struggle with this too, know that you are not alone. Also know that it is so important to value these parts of you. God values them so incredibly much because He Himself placed them there. With each woman who "takes a break" from her interests during her peak mothering years, the Lord is saddened at yet another source of His beauty being stifled. That's what I believe anyways.
Just because we are "mom" doesn't mean our time to pour out our souls isn't important. It is. We need hobbies. We need ways to express all that happens in our beautiful hearts. We need to still run wildly through the fields with our hair blowing crazily every-which way, our hands stretched wide and our eyes gazing towards heaven. Just because we are grown doesn't mean we can't still run wild and free with our King. So if that's through knitting, then be sure to pick up your needles regularly. If it's through quiet coffee time with your weathered Bible, then be sure to plan one night a week alone to hunker down at your favorite spot. And if you're like me, and you just want to write, then join me in sacrificing sleep and waking before the sun. Seek Him early and diligently. Don't let being mom force you into a hiatus you never intended or wanted to take.
I'm fighting for the wild-haired girl in me who's desperate to run hard towards her King, and you should fight for yours too.