My pajamas say it all: cute, fleecy pants depicting three of my favorite cities – London, Paris, and New York – and a baggy, comfy V-neck displaying the message, “Livin’ on a prayer and a latte.” I am one part go-getter-cosmopolitan-ambitious-news-loving-former journalist and one part coffee-drinking-stained-t-shirt-wearing-scatter-brained-new-ish mom. (Side note: At what point does one become a ‘seasoned’ rather than ‘new’ mom? Because even though I’m rapidly approaching year two of mommy-hood, I still feel pretty new to this gig.)
My halves are in a duel. There’s a fight between my two worlds that’s constantly waging in the back of my head. I am trying to be better about being present in the moment with my son. We colored today, and I think he kind of enjoyed it for the first time. But all the while I’m enjoying sitting at his mini-table coloring a paper alligator’s shirt red, I am constantly thinking, “What am I supposed to do with my life?”
My husband says the answer is right in front of me — be with our son. I know he’s right. B is thriving. He really is, and if I can pat myself on the back for a brief sec, I know that I played a role in that. That makes me happy. It truly does!
But the tension is still there, and I am so frustrated.
I can’t help but wonder if I’m supposed to be saying “yes” to opportunities related to my skill set because of the chance one could lead to something even better? Or am I supposed to just try to be content with where I’m at in this motherhood journey, and wait for God to bring the perfect opportunity my way? How do you know when it’s time for the birdie to leave the nest, or in my case, the stay-at-home mom to leave the home (or at least dip her needs-to-be polished toe into the part-time/work-from-home world)? And how does one know when this is IT? That this is the opportunity I’ve been waiting and praying for; the one where God’s plans for me, my experiences (good and bad), talents, and skills all combine into a big ball of life purpose perfection?
Since I don’t know the answers to the questions above, I stay stationary. I feel like someone pushed the pause button on my life as I attempt to figure out what’s next for it. In the meantime, I’m doing similar things day after day — taking my son to music class, playing outside, cooking, paying bills, cooking, cleaning, and cooking (We love to eat around here!). I’m trying to do those tasks well, and my sweet husband encourages me and says that I am doing them well. But I’m left wanting. I don’t want that to be all there is for me right now, even though I know that being a new mom is a fleeting season of my life.
Then that makes me feel guilty. I know I have many women’s dream life right in front of me, and I’m having to constantly tell myself not to take my life and the blessings in it for granted.
More internal tension. Ugh.
And then I read this recent New York Times article entitled “The Birth of a Mother,” and it stated my thoughts so simply and perfectly: “Giving birth to a new identity can be as demanding as giving birth to a baby.”
And then this…
“Most of the time, the experience of motherhood is not good or bad, it’s both good and bad.”
And finally this…
“Too many women are ashamed to speak openly about their complicated experiences for fear of being judged. ”
It’s like the author of this article was inside my head.
So this is me speaking openly about my complicated experience with motherhood.
I hope my honesty will be comforting to other new moms who also have struggles that go beyond changing dirty diapers a bazillion times a day or keeping a clean house in the midst of life with toddlers. This is not meant to discount those kinds of parenting hardships, because they can be a difficult drag. I get it. Life with kids is a whole ‘nother level from being a polished, professional woman in your pre-kid days. But mothers deal with many internal, personal, and professional struggles too that are often kept quiet.
New mommas — as we all work to figure out what God’s got next for us, know that I am with you, loudly cheering you on.