10.27.2016

Accepting the Mom Life by Choice

So... this is my life.



Lying on the floor among toys that trail from the kitchen to the bedroom. A constant lost and found of sippy cups. Curious George on the television. A toddle running around with the bare minimum amount of supervision I can give because I'm probably recovering from yet another night of interrupted sleep. 

It's funny how after two years of residence in Mommyland, I still find myself amazed at how difficult  it can be. I still selfishly balk at putting someone else's needs before my own. I still look back and remember--with quite fondness--how easily I did just about everything before she came along. I'm still that annoying married mom friend who tells her single girlfriends to enjoy their freedom and grocery trips free of tantrums while it lasts.

Then, I feel super guilty... And rightly so.

It's not completely removed from my awareness that I'm the luckiest girl on the planet. My kid is healthy, happy (except for when we're in Target for whatever reason), and easily the cutest thing ever. I have a husband that could not love me more although he tries to every day. Family, friends, community, roof over my head, and the beach is still within a 30-minute drive. I mean, really. 

I love my life, but I still fight my life. Why?

I'm pondering all this after a community life group meeting of the other moms from my church. Every Thursday we bond over coffee about our shared adventures in motherhood. I don't always say much because that's just me when I'm in a crowd, but today I had to share some frustrations. Other moms with similar woes chime in too. 

Our beloved pastor, who leads the group, then said something that made my focus shift. "These are your choices, ladies," she said. She, of course, said more than that, but those words swirled around my head. 

I am here by choice. I decided to follow through with getting my doctorate knowing full and well the demand it would take and I had just met the man who would be my husband. My daughter showed up a little earlier than expected, but she was in the plan. Staying home with her was something I just knew intrinsically was the right thing for us. All of this came from choices I made--choices about the kind of life I wanted to have. And I have it now. Realizing this, the room for complaining suddenly got very small.

Okay, sure, I was not exactly planning on motherhood being this hard. Let's face it. I was single a crazy long time with only myself to deal with for years. This has been the adjustment of a lifetime. But it's good. It's teaching me new things every day. It's unveiling love and patience I didn't even know I had. And despite how much it drains me, it fills me up too. 

It all goes back to that radical self-acceptance thing that I talked about earlier this year. It extends into not just accepting my body, but also my season of life and my choices. I don't have to love every second of it, but I do need to gather it close to me and smother it with all my energy and attention. No zoning out on my phone or numbing up with Netflix. Be all in. Every day.

So, I accept my choices fully. I'm a stay at home mom. I am sweat pants and sleepless nights and chasing around a kid who thinks diapers are optional. I can't go to anything you invite me to without asking, "Will there be child care?" I live and die by her nap schedule. And it's all good. These inconveniences are for a worthy cause. They are the small prices I pay for the life I really want. 

~jennifer.

4 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. And in the end this season is but a fleeting moment. So thankful for our growing friendship and common threads!

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  3. great post, Jennifer! I lived it and loved it too ... and did my share of complaining. but wouldn't trade it for anything. My daughter is now almost 25 and there is still stuff all over the floor - but at least its in her bedroom and bathroom!

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  4. You captured my thinking perfectly! I was without children for seven years....doing what I wanted, when I wanted to, and took it all for granted. I saw many of my friends starting families and I thought......not now, too soon. But, with the birth of my oldest son, I learned about gladly living life for someone else. I have never regretted going to cilllege only to be a stay at home mom. The rewards of motherhood outweighed anything I gave up. The hardest years raising children were their teenage thru mid twenties years, when they were learning to spread their wings.....making choices I would never have chosen for them and learning to allow them to make mistakes. Somehow, none of the three ended up on drugs or in jail and have turned out to be responsible parents themselves. On my quiet days, I miss the activity they brought into my life, but I'd do it all again exactly the same way!

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