At the ripe old age of 29, I had three children, 3 yrs. and under. All in diapers. I stayed home with said children and their care and keeping were what took up all of my time.
I fed, and diapered, and nursed, and bathed, and played, and chased-- and fed, and diapered, and nursed some more.
With Mother's Day approaching, and very little money, I had a grand idea. A gift my husband could give me that would cost nothing. But, one that would give me so much. So, very nervously, I mustered my courage and told him, "Do you know what I'd really like for Mother's Day?" He shook his head. I gulped.
"Two hours alone. All alone."
*His answer made my heart sink. "Why?"
Why? Why did I want some time to myself? I wasn't asking for a vacation far away, I was happy to be there, in our dingy little apartment with it's textured walls and stained carpet. I just wanted some time where I wasn't answering the beck and call of others. I wanted to sit and be with me.
It's easy to lose ourselves in motherhood. And, please don't think I'm saying motherhood is overbearing, or stifling, or any other such negativity. I'm not. I LOVE being a mother. But, amid the demands of children and home we can forget who we are. Our inner woman can be nudged aside while we focus on those little spirits we've been entrusted with.
Because, let's face it, motherhood is hard. It's demanding. And, knowing we're responsible for these little people is just a bit overwhelming. So, how, when we get lost in the midst of our duties, do we find ourselves again?
First, we need to remember who we are. We are women- divine vessels with incredible potential. While, yes, we have within us the ability to bear children, we also have so much more. Our womanhood brings with it the nature to love and care, but, also inherent in it, the tendency to recognize truth and light. We are drawn to the light like a moth to flame. And, when we choose to reflect it, we can light the entire world, or just our little corner of it.
Remember who you are. You are a daughter of God, with royal blood in your veins. You have the power to bring life, not only physically, but spiritually as well. We need to nurture that inner light. With scripture study, good books, good music, good friends--anything that will bring us up and help us recognize the glorious beings we are.
Then, once we remember who we are, we need to search within ourselves to find out why we're here. And, by this I mean, what is your passion and how can you use that to better yourself and others? As I've already talked about the light we're drawn to, now I'm talking about the light within you. Your gift. Don't shake your head and say you don't have one, because you do. We all do. Some are more apparent that others, but trust me, we ALL have them. And, when you find your gift, you'll find your passion. It might be something artsy, or it might not. Your gift may be cooking or reading or organization. Perhaps it's the way you play with your children (I do not have that one!), or the way you listen with your heart.
My older sister, Heidi, always talks about how 'un-crafty' she is. But, let me tell you, she is amazing with other people. She has a way of building relationships and maintaining them that is nothing short of amazing. That is her passion and she has blessed many lives with it.
Finding your passion may be easy, or it may take time. And, that's okay, the important thing is to try. To give yourself the chance to find out what it is that makes you unique and how you can use that. And, I know, when you're a mom with young kids, carving out time for yourself may seem like trying to carve marble with a plastic spoon. Don't beat yourself up over this. Take what you have and use it wisely. Try new things, read, ask, and, don't give up until you find that thing that stirs your soul and feels like breath to you. Then, use that gift, shine and polish it so that it reflects the radiance within.
(And, if you have no time, I know. This life is a life of seasons and your season may be completely filled with babies and bottles and binkies. If so, then, for now, that is your gift. Nurture that gift. Fill those children's lives with all the love and care you can. Because, trust me, it won't last. They will grow, and, with tentative steps, they will begin to leave you in stages--friends, school, jobs, missions... until your days are wide open.)
And, last, find yourself through other women. We are sisters. We are eternally and inseparably connected. That is how it's meant to be. Embrace that connection. Whether it be through church, or school, your neighborhood, or even the Internet. Women were not meant to be alone. We are social creatures who crave the company of one another. Our hearts are buoyed and our spirits lifted when we are together. If you find yourself alone, reach out. I promise that while you may be longing for someone in your life, there is someone waiting for you to bless theirs. Share yourself, your hopes, your failures, your happiness and your trials. Spending time with other women is not selfish, it is necessary. We are all blessed by this sorority we call Womanhood.
Motherhood and Womanhood go hand in hand, it's true. But, we can and ought to develop ourselves as women, to find the passion within us and seek out ways to touch the world. If you feel lost in your motherhood role, remember who you are, glorious and talented, budding with possibility and promise, a brilliant, shining light. And, as you reach higher, your mothering will be blessed, those around you will be lifted, and your life will be filled because you know the woman you are.
*The Handy Man was horrified when I told him about this. He said he doesn't know why he didn't give me what I wanted. I chalk it up to being young. He has made it up to me over the years, a thousand-fold.