I have been gone from the blogosphere for a long while. Do you ever wonder why you don’t see a lot of moms blogging about life with teenagers? It’s not that we don’t have things to share anymore, it’s that our teenagers think they will die if they are discussed on social media, if any picture is shared (or even taken) of them, and it doesn’t matter if it is a struggle you share or a moment you are proud of them (they almost seem to think those are worse!). They don’t want their moms discussing them or the experience of raising them, to anyone, online or in person. period.
Not that I have had much time to write anyway, with several seasons of motherhood going on at once. But I have wanted to write, to share my thoughts with someone, to connect with other moms and let you and me know we are not alone in this mothering experience. Just when I thought life couldn’t be more intense, it’s surprised me. Having a baby (now a toddler), 6 yr old, preteen, 3 teenagers, and a newly moved out 18 yr old (who I still think and worry about often) is giving me an extremely abundant, full, and intense mothering experience just now. It is abundant with beauty and gifts, but also very demanding. I have never had so many places to be every single day. I long for a day to just stay home and cuddle and play with my kids and read stories. Once in a while that happens and I appreciate it more than I used to. I’m ‘getting out’ more than I ever did with little ones, but its not exactly ‘getting out’ since I am usually just dropping someone off or picking them up and not leaving the car myself. Combine that with a toddler who doesn’t sleep and it sometimes can feel like the zombie life. It’s a little different than I imagined, this season.
So here’s what I am learning in my current season of motherhood: Every season has its beauty, and things I will miss when they’re gone. Every season also has challenges that are not what I envisioned and require a lot of fortitude to get through. Every season affords opportunities to lose myself in service to my family, whether that looks like constant holding, feeding, story reading, and playing peekaboo, or chaufferring and waiting up for teenagers, or praying and listening to a young adult child out on their own and biting your tongue trying not to tell them what to do. While savoring is always a goal, some seasons you’ll be doing good to just hang on and breath through it. You’ll probably appreciate it more when it is past. And that’s ok.
There’s a scripture about losing yourself in order to find yourself. At every season I have had to learn a little more about what that means. Losing myself is painful sometimes, especially when I feel like I am not at all close to finding myself again and I’m lost against my will. When I feel like what I lost was taken from me, not laid down purposefully. Honestly, as I’ve adjusted to the demands of this new season I have been a little angry at times, anxious for this part to be over, and not savoring by any means. Because I wanted to serve in the way that I had envisioned. Just when I had settled in to serving my family joyfully in one way, the game changed. I had to ask myself, do I want to serve my family in the ways that they need, or just the ways that I envisioned? Am I serving them or my idealized vision of myself and my life?
Self care in this season is still important, too. Losing myself in service doesn’t mean letting my health and sanity go. An increase in the demands of my calling means I need to up my game in preparing and strengthening myself to meet those challenges. I need self care more than ever, and a strong connection with my support team which consists of my hubby and God. I find I have to be more deliberate than ever in making time to talk with them, ask specifically for what I need, and to create room to receive from them both. This is not a job to do alone. I also get to be more deliberate in knowing and planning for what I need to do to care for myself. That means I need to know myself well. I guess that’s where Finding myself comes in. It is an interesting dance.
I would love to hear from you – what do you love most about the season of motherhood you are in? What are the biggest challenges in each season? What do you do in your season to make sure you are healthy and whole, and to stay in an attitude of willing and joyful service without resentment? What supports you?
Love to you mamas in the trenches, whichever trench that may be. You aren’t alone.