2018 is a year of immersion in books for me. I know we are only 15 days into the new year but the 5 books I have going have whetted my appetite for more. I don’t expect my reading appetite will be satiated any time soon, not while there are so many delicious books waiting for me on my bookshelves, on the floor by my nightstand and on my Amazon wish list.
Several of the books that I am reading surround the theme of motherhood: childbirth, parenting, and establishing a healthy identity as a mom. In all of these I have noted a trend of insecurity, guilt, doubt, fear, and vulnerability that the authors are striving to help their maternal audience overcome, including myself. In the past, I have pointed judgmental fingers at society, blaming it for the shadow of less-ness that it has cast upon motherhood, especially mothers who choose to stay at home to nurture and raise their children. While it is true that the choice to be a stay-at-home mom is often met with questioning or condescending gazes from those who have chosen other paths in life, I believe that modern mothers have, albeit unwittingly, undermined their role and calling in the home: including me.
I have come to this startling conclusion as I listen in to my own thoughts: “I never get enough done.” “I should be more involved in my community.” “Oops! how could I have forgotten to respond to that person’s phone call; I didn’t even do that much today.” “Wow! Look at her! Juggling a career and kids! And look at her immaculate clothes!” “Let’s see, today I should do XYZ if I can hurry and get the kids fed and in bed.” I am ever accusing and then defending and then accusing myself in my head over all that I should be doing, would like to be doing or simply can’t do in this season of small children. I am the one who is quick to justify why I love being home with my kids, why I want a lot of kids, and why I gave up a career and pursuit of a doctorate degree to be home with them – even before anyone questions my choice. I allow myself to feel overwhelmed, unkempt, out of shape, and invisible at times (or all the above at the same time). I have minimized motherhood in my heart.
The truth is that the basic care of my home and children is monumental! The truth is that there is nothing I would rather do than feed, clean and dress my little ones, play with them, instruct them, and absorb their closeness and smallness. The truth is that no one else can say they gave life to these lives, no one else will ever be their mama and no else will know them better than I do while they are small. The truth is that every day I conquer: my selfishness, my laziness, my self-pity in order to care for my family. Every day I problem-solve: for efficiency, for fixing things, for satisfying the masses. Every day I am a negotiator, a nurse, a cook, a teacher, and a storm-calmer. The truth is that time is passing more quickly every day and I am the only one who can slow it down – by being a mom who gives everything she has to assure her children that she loves them more than life itself; to my children, that means being there; to me, that means everything.