The other day someone literally told me that in order to be a good mother, the kind of mother kids really need, a woman must be willing to sacrifice everything just for them.
I couldn’t disagree more.
While everything in me longs to be the kind of mother who plays games with her children on the floor, loves to bake cupcakes in the middle of the day for her kids and all their little neighborhood friends, and joyfully spends afternoons driving them around to play dates, ball games, gymnastic practices and little friend’s birthday parties, I know the truth.
The truth I have always known about myself is: I am not naturally one of those kinds of mothers. I have to work at it to even be a little bit like the kind of mom I’ve always dreamed of being.
Oh don’t get me wrong! I do those kinds of things on occasion, but it is out of a daily conscious effort. It does not come naturally. And these things don’t always feel like the highlight of my days and they certainly don’t define Rachel.
So some days (maybe more than some would think appropriate & when I don’t have to go work) I drop my kids off just so I can go sit on the beach alone, soak in the quiet and lose myself in a book and because I don’t have to do a head count fifty million times an hour. Or meet girlfriends there to pretend we’re on vacation for four blissful hours! On others I drop them off or leave them at grandparents just so I can sit in the back corner of a coffee shop and hear myself think. It’s hard to makes sense of the ramblings that go on in your mind when someone’s calling you “Mom!” every two minutes. I leave them behind every week to go out with my husband and pretend as though no one in the world exists but he and I for a few precious hours.
Although motherhood is a huge part of my life and who I am, it doesn’t wholly define nor can it contain all of who I am. I used to feel a measure of guilt over that, I don’t anymore. I let it go. Because I’ve learned that my children need the best of me. Not someone else’s version of what a mother should be or do. And your children do to. That only becomes possible when you have preserved just that….the very best of you.
Motherhood at it’s core is: loving, serving and discipling.
And that always comes out of the overflow of who and what I am. It is an end result. Therefore, if Rachel isn’t healthy in every way, it becomes impossible to give my children the mother they need most. All of this, making it absolute necessity to find ways to be filled back up again so that I don’t find myself running (and mothering) on empty.
- What makes you feel alive?
- What invades your thoughts?
- what gives you a spark?
- What brings you life and hope when you feel empty?
- What encourages you?
- What puts life back in perspective again?
For me these things are:
- A coffee date with a true friend
- Time alone to write
- Good books…life-giving books
- Fun girl’s nights
- A good worship session (corporately or just alone)
- Dates with my husband
- Dates with myself! 🙂
- A run on the beach
These are the kinds of things I must indulge in on a weekly basis. Discover your own things, and you have discovered what gives you life.
Maybe it’s time to ditch the image in your head of the woman…or mother you should be and be exactly who it is YOU were made to be! And who that person is may not necessarily be anything like me, or even your own mother, who your mother in law thinks you should be or the mom down the street that has it all together.
But she will be perfectly you! And I promise you that whoever “she” is, is exactly the girl you will be at peace with most and the kind of mother your children have been waiting for all along.