Busy isn’t always better. We love to say things like, “I’m just so busy…Keeping busy…Busy is good!” But like someone once told my pastor, “If the Devil can’t make you bad, he will make you busy.”
My guilt started on a Monday morning where I had MANY family demands and no work meetings on the schedule. Why do we feel so guilty for being at home with our child on a Monday morning? I thought to myself, “I should be doing more. I don’t feel accomplishment unless I do actual work.” I just said that in my head and wanted to slap myself because I KNOW taking care of our home, my hubby and my child is some of the hardest work I’ve ever done. But, for the first year of Kennedy’s life, I worked a very stressful and demanding job while also learning how to be a mom all at the same time. So if my hair wasn’t on fire with to-do lists and demands, I somehow didn’t feel good about myself. (Side note: I LOVE to-do lists. I make to-do lists for my to-do lists. And there is nothing more gratifying than marking something off of your list. I actually will write something in that I already did, just to mark it off. End rant.) So without a long list of “important” things to do, why did I feel like crap about myself?
In the words of my friend, Anna, I felt Bipolar – one moment I wanted to cry for joy that I get these moments with Kennedy, and the next I wanted to cry because I felt like I wasn’t doing anything significant (not to mention the lack of adult interaction). And guys, even as I say it out loud I can hear myself and how wrong I am. I know that being a mom is the most important job I will ever have. And I thank God everyday that He allowed me to be a mommy. I know that we are shaping the minds and lives of tiny humans, and that’s a big responsibility! So I understand my ignorance when I say it, but it doesn’t mean many of us don’t have those days where we feel like, “What the heck am I doing with my life?!”
I tell myself often, it’s just a season. Have grace for yourself, Carol. Sometimes God wants to teach us new things that are important in new seasons that may be uncomfortable for us. A new job or career is stressful and has its own uncomfortable feelings, but so does the new season of being a mommy and being home more with our kids. It seems almost foreign to some of us that have worked our whole adult lives. I know that I’ll look back, even in a couple years when Kennedy starts school full-time, and be so thankful for the flexible schedule I had so that I could truly soak up and enjoy Kennedy’s toddler years. But I guess I need weekly reminders of that, because it gets hard. Ugh, the mom-guilt is never ending, no matter what our work status is.
What I was missing – When I was working full-time, being a wife and mommy, I’m sure from the outside it looked like I “had it all” or maybe even that our life was pretty perfect. And while I was happy, I was definitely neglecting some major parts of my life. Now that I know what I know, I have to remind myself often that when I was all about my job, I neglected my husband. It was all I could do to keep up with all of my work, do it with excellence and also keep a baby alive. And note, working full-time and loving your husband isn’t many of your struggles. It’s just one of the large reasons I think God called me to work less and love my family more, because it’s something He needed to teach me in this season. For my family, the person who suffered the most was my husband. I wasn’t his biggest cheerleader, I didn’t love and support him through his business. I definitely wasn’t asking myself what I could do to love him better. I also felt like housework was for some other way better version of women that I just didn’t get (God left that “girl” gene out of me to want to clean a lot and organize and do crafts.) For years I felt insecure about this. Why wasn’t I more like that? Well, God made me this way for a reason, and I had to find my own gifts and talents. But, in the mean time, God did teach me the value in making our home an oasis for my family. Daniel contributes…like in major ways. I literally don’t know where our iron is. I googled, “How to mop” once. No joke. But, there are things I can do to make his life better right now the same way he does by working hard so that I can be home more with Kennedy. He gives me that luxury because he works hard, so the least I could do is make sure he has some clean underwear on a Monday morning.
What I’m NOT missing – I talk a lot to my friends about this mommy season we are in. How I say things I never thought I’d say like, “I just made us a pot roast in the crock pot.” or “I just need to do one more load of laundry before we go have fun.” Who have I become?! But, my friend Anna reminds me often, that we are shaping the minds of our tiny humans every single day, and we have a huge responsibility to disciple them into the kind of humans we (or God) wants them to be. We think these mundane days that never seem to end are insignificant, but we are teaching our kids how to be decent human beings, how to fall in love with Jesus, and how to be leaders in a world that desperately needs it. God calls each of us to be disciples, and maybe for now, your little humans are the people you need to be discipling.
Lead when others follow – When I was pregnant with Kennedy my biggest prayer for her was that she would be a leader. I prayed she would be bold and confident and lead when others followed. I prayed she would always have a humble confidence because she would be so rooted in who she was in Jesus that she wouldn’t be swayed by the world’s demands. But one thing I forgot when praying those bold prayers for her was KINDNESS. I want her to defend the weak and stand up for those who can’t. I want her to be a KIND leader who loves Jesus and loves others. That’s a TALL responsibility in that Daniel and I are going to be the main people to teach her those things. As little imitators, she is watching my every move, and I have to live each day with the same fierce kindness to show her how to do it. My favorite quote that is on her wall in her room is, “Though she be but little, she is fierce.” BE FIERCE baby girl, but be fierce for the right things.
This season is joyful, lonely, frustrating, and life-giving (notice the roller coaster of emotions). But be encouraged; seasons change. Our society is so hung up on being busy, and we are so over-stimulated with being constantly connected, that we miss out on some amazing seasons in life. We weren’t meant to feel constantly guilty! Dust off that guilt, grab your yoga pants (preferably with a shirt that covers your butt so our husbands don’t have to wear blinders while walking through a store) and ENJOY this season God has given you, whatever that looks like for you! Let’s choose joy instead of busy. Let’s choose present instead of perfect.