I am grateful to be a mother. The other day as I was driving my suburban full of kids home from an outing, I realized that I love my life and I wouldn’t choose any other. I felt sure for the first time that if I could choose any life that I wanted (which I could), then I would choose this – this suburban full of these exact kids with my exact husband and the experiences, both the easy and the challenging, that we are having right here and now. I love it, it is perfect for me. I love what I am learning and the people I get to share it with. I love the growth I get to experience as a mother and how many minds and hearts I get to influence within the walls of my home, as well as those beyond that I interact with. I love that I get to live my mission 24 hrs a day and be taught and upheld in doing so even at all hours of the night. I love what I do.
I didn’t completely love my life all the time in the past. I loved my kids and I knew that I was supposed to have them and it was right to be doing what I was doing, but I don’t think I had completely chosen in with all my heart and my desire and wanting that more than anything else. I felt compelled by what I thought was right and wanting to do what was best for them and to be obedient to God. But I wasn’t sure I had chosen it, it felt like it had been chosen for me and I accepted it – mostly. I tried to feel fulfilled but I felt like part of me was missing. I used to think that by focusing on organization, or better parenting methods, or if I was just a little closer to perfection, then I would be a better and happier mother and the gnawing ache would go away. And some of those things I learned helped a little, but they didn’t address the deep hurt that I was carrying around, and that was the belief that what I wanted and who I was didn’t matter anymore because I was a mother. I don’t know exactly why I believed that but it was a belief I picked up along the way to motherhood and it stuck for a long time. I felt like who I was wasn’t important any more or even was bad, because the true me inside yearned to create and express myself in ways that didn’t directly relate with my kids. I didn’t see value in my writing or dancing or doing projects that only meant something to me – I thought that taking time for those things would be taking time away from my family and hurting them. And I didn’t want to hurt them. So I condemned that part of myself and told it to quiet down and go away. It didn’t go away though, it kept crying out for me to listen. And when I finally did, the changes started happening. I think one of the biggest things that changed for me in the past few years is that I have finally begun to love myself.
I feel like I opened a box that had been locked and rusty, and I am taking out and rediscovering gifts that God gave me long ago; I’m treasuring them instead of hiding them away. As I examine the gifts he has given me, and rediscover all the parts of who I am, I feel so grateful to God for giving them to me. I feel like all of me has been invited to step into the light, and the parts that had been banished to a corner are finally coming out to play and to be embraced and loved. I am loving all the parts of myself and allowing them to be there. I am accepting all the gifts in myself. And because I am feeling more love and acceptance for myself, I am feeling more love and acceptance for this life, and the people in it. I can feel joy and freedom and growth in this life as a mother because I am finally free to be myself and discover who that is. I am becoming free of the limitations I have placed on myself. I am living in the bounds I know are right for me because my heart and my spirit tell me where I need and want to be, and not guilt or lies or fear.
My life doesn’t look a lot different than it did before. With my newfound freedom and peace I am not choosing to run off to Paris or put the kids in daycare so I can go be a prima ballerina. That’s not what I really want, though there were times in the past when I thought I might. The things that look different are these: I have a smile on my face (a real one!) and in my heart. I am taking time to create each day. And I am enjoying my children and watching their gifts come out to play, where in the past I honestly felt some resentment at the freedom and creativity they got to express while I felt so limited. Now I get to play along with them, and dance in the kitchen and write and sing and have big dreams. And I can fulfil them, though my pace might be a bit slower than it was before children. I feel free and happy and I’m putting all of myself into everything I do as a mother and an individual. My family is happier because of it.
I still have struggles and difficult days when I lose my temper or become overwhelmed with the housework, but I know I am right where I want to be. I know that there is nowhere else I can make a bigger difference, nowhere my gifts are more needed, and no stage or boardroom where I can touch impressionable minds and hearts more deeply than right where I am, in my family. And I know that Heaven offers me full support in becoming everything I can be to carry out this role, and that means developing every gift that I have it within me to give, and being whole and complete and powerful. It means not hiding anything away any longer or holding anything back. Because every gift God has given me is needed in this world, for my family and others, and for my good.