Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Choosing Joy in the Journey of Motherhood

People say it all the time: Being a mom is about making sacrifices. And it absolutely is. If we are holding true to the definition when discussing the sacrifice of motherhood, it means, “to surrender something prized (our independence and self) for the sake of something considered as having a higher claim” (our children).  

At times I have a curious amazement with regard to the level of sacrifices that one will choose to make. Truly…daily life changes when children enter the picture. Our sacrifices come in all shapes and sizes: career changes, sleep deprivation, cancelling girls night out, embracing the spit up stains on your shoulders, down-sizing houses, up-sizing medical bills, scheduling bed time activities with the hubby {yep, I went there}.

Sacrifices. They’re out there. Moms make them all the time.

But here’s my issue with the above truth: When we allow ourselves to get so caught up in the sacrifices that we make as moms, we begin missing out on the REASON we’re sacrificing in the first place. And I, for one, refuse to allow the hiccups of daily life to rob me from experiencing the amazing joy in this journey called motherhood.

From what I can tell, being a mom allows us to live life and take in experiences in a way that wasn’t possible before putting on the mommy-hat. Now don't get me wrong, I’ve always been charismatic, outgoing, enthusiastic. I’ve experienced genuine joy; I’ve felt legitimate pain. But I never knew how profoundly I could love another human being, how dramatically I could feel someone else's pain, or to what degree I could celebrate in another’s successes, at ANY level, until I became a mom.

Here are a few examples:

The agonizing ache of waiting for my child to FINALLY be placed in my arms for the first time is like nothing I can even begin to explain, and wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy...yet the way that pain somehow vanished the first time I kissed him is nothing short of  miraculous.

The absolute pride of watching my daughter perform as Mary in her ever-so-professional preschool Christmas program nearly brought me to tears {yes, I have become THAT mom…I don’t know how, really. It just happened}.

The gut wrenching acknowledgement that my child will deal with assuming stares, ignorant whispers, and pre-determined limitations his entire life, yet finding the self restraint to keep the mama-bear in check while he discovers his place in this world is a struggle I face daily.

The fullness of living in these precious moments; of taking in every hug, kiss and giggle before it's too late.

...and approximately 42 seconds later...
The exhaustion of enduring an hour-long temper tantrum {which was most likely sparked by my giving him the wrong red crayon or the fact that her brother may be about to touch her} in a calm, adult-like manner is enough to make going to the grocery store alone rival a day at the spa.

The beautiful, miraculous wholeness that comes over me when I hear her singing ‘Jesus Loves Me’ to her baby brother is a feeling I wouldn’t trade for the world.

The sheer terror of seeing my toddler fall off the edge of a dock into an ice-cold lake strikes a fear so deep and real that the thought of never letting him out of arms’ length again makes perfect sense. 

Nope, motherhood is not for the faint of heart. It’s not always {ever?!} easy. It’s fun and difficult, rewarding and trying, exhilarating and exhausting, beautiful and messy, exciting and terrifying…often at the same time.

But more than anything it is incredible. Amazing. Miraculous. Mind-blowing. It is an experience that literally takes my breath away every day. God picked ME, out of every other person on the face of this earth, to be the mommy to these precious angels. 

How lucky blessed am I?! 

Of course there are days that I'm ready to lock myself in the bathroom with my Ipod, a good book, and something with LOTS of calories; there are days when I think that one more 'why' might just send me over the edge. I'm not about to say that those days don't exist. But I can still choose to savor these fleeting moments that I know will be gone all too soon.

And, yes, motherhood is about making sacrifices. But they don’t have to be the life-sucking kind of sacrifices that will deplete you of YOU. ‘Super Moms’ are no more real than the boogie man. Your family deserves to have a mom who is fulfilled, happy, and a joy to be around—one whose footsteps they will be inspired to follow.

So choose today to be a mom who makes the most out of life and lives each day with a purpose.
Close the computer lid {after you finish reading this, of course}.
Let the laundry pile up and have a pillow fight instead.
Go on a walk and see the world through your child’s eyes.
Sing loudly and off key.
Dance like a maniac.
Run through the sprinklers.
Tell your kids that they can be ANYTHING.
Tell yourself the same thing.

Now believe it.

1 comment:

  1. Oh how I love you Shannon!! Precious words of truth for your sweet heart. You are inspiring and such a Joy to be around. This is beautiful....