As a new mom, I am learning many things. One of them being that I cannot do as much as I used to. In college, I crammed my days full to the brim. Full journalism course load plus internship at a magazine plus part-time job at a bagel shop plus high involvement in my church plus whatever else I thought I had time for. So when I look back at alI I accomplished with my days and I look at what I accomplish with them now, my first thought is to think I'm not doing enough. My first thought is to feel guilty.
Like I should go scour the internet for opportunities to pack in some volunteering, at least.
This is something I've been grappling with for a while, as you'll see in my previous post, here.
Sometimes I imagine there is this outside critic peering in at my life. And this critic is thinking, Wow...why isn't she doing more? All she does is hang around the house and take care of a baby and a husband.
And little old me just shrugs her shoulders and shrinks back a bit and looks at the floor because, yeah...it is a little true that this is all I do.
But you know what's truer? This critic needs to be smacked in the face.
I don't know where, but somewhere in our history as women, as human beings, we've decided that more is always better. Somewhere along the line, it has become unambitious and boring and lazy to be just a mom or just a wife.
But I am learning a couple things.
One is that a packed schedule is not always a better schedule. In college, I was just doing what people told me I was supposed to be doing, and there wasn't much joy behind any of it. I was spreading myself too thin and basically doing many things in an alright manner instead of focusing on a couple things and doing them well. I'm learning there is wisdom in not packing my schedule to overflowing.
In this season of my life, I am blessed (yes, blessed) to be able to spend most, if not all, of my time fine-tuning my art of being a wife and mother. And this is an art, for there is much room to grow and be creative with my natural gifts within these roles. I am learning this is not something to take for granted. Though, sadly, I often do.
The second thing I am learning is that though my plate is small, it is full.
I work hard. My days are filled. I am rarely bored with nothing to do. At times this work is challenging. At times it is mundane and tedious. But never is this work trivial or flippant or unimportant.
Sometimes I worry I'm not doing enough. I'm wracked with anxiety over how I can accomplish something significant so that others will think I'm doing enough. But when I stop for a moment, when I let God lift me out of my mud puddle of soiled thoughts, I realize the value of the work I'm doing. I am, indeed, accomplishing much.
What could be more meaningful, more significant, than trying to devote my time to the well-being of the person who vowed to spend the rest of his life with me? Or to spend my days raising a tiny being in hopes that she will grow into a confident, faith-filled woman? And if this is all I have time for, I shouldn't feel guilty or ashamed that I can't do more because my work is good and worth doing. There is joy and satisfaction to be had in this work. If others want to tell me differently, they are sadly mistaken.
I'm not saying that being more than a wife and mother is wrong. I'm saying that for me, this is all I'm choosing to focus on right now, and that is not wrong either.
Maybe someday in the future I'll feel ready to add some things to my plate. I would be excited about that. But if I do, I want it to be for the desire to please God or for the simple joy of doing whatever it is and not because I want to feel accomplished or because I want others to know I do a lot.
For right now, though, my plate is full with what I have. With being just a wife and just a mom.
And that's ok.