I see it all the time. Women talking about the struggle of motherhood. How motherhood has taken things from them they can never get back. How creating life within them has wrecked their bodies. How raising babies has stolen their social lives. How giving themselves to their children every day has left them no room and no time to discover themselves.
Oh, ladies, I understand that it is hard. It is a struggle, and we can talk about that, and we can laugh and make jokes because it is hard and it is good to laugh. I understand that motherhood is a phase in our lives unlike any other, and it requires much sacrifice. I’m living in it too. And, ya, sometimes, I escape to target, or the nail salon, or even just the bathroom for a few minutes to be alone.
But I just find myself wondering who told you that this beautiful season is only about survival? Who told you that this was not going to require every ounce that you have to give? Who told you that in the middle of giving yourself over to your family and your children you were also required to find yourself in something else?
Coming from someone who got married at 29 and had a baby at 30, I had time to find myself. You know what I found? Loneliness. I found myself praying for a husband and a family. I found myself holding on to the hope that someday I would have children of my own, and just have the chance to give my all completely over to them.
And do you know where I find myself these days? I find myself at home in my pajamas on the floor playing with my children. That is home to my soul. I find myself in their embrace. I find myself in the scent of their skin at the nape of their neck when they give me a hug. I find myself in every squishy kiss, and smile, and giggle, and the look in their eyes that let me know that they have found comfort, and love, and security in me. I find myself in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and mac and cheese, and bottles late at night. I find myself in coloring and creating and learning from and with my children. I find myself in holding their little bodies close to mine and feeling their chest move up and down when they breathe. I find myself in knowing that they hold my blood in their veins and the map of my bones in their tiny bodies. I find myself overwhelmingly thankful. I find myself in awe at the beauty of their faces and the wonder of their imaginations, and the purity of their hearts. I find myself in these new souls that I can not live without. I find myself in them. I find my true self in being their mother.
I can escape. I can discover every hobby, and go on every girls weekend, and try every new class, but that is never where I find myself. I am a mother. God, I’m so grateful. I am a mother. There is no denying that is who I am now. I find more joy in it than I ever, ever have in anything other than God. And don’t you dare believe the lie that it is not enough, because it is more than my heart can handle to be blessed to find myself here.