I had a stunning realization on Sunday. I had just gotten back from a nice bike ride and walked with my kids down to “the big hill” to pick blackberries. The blackberries aren’t on the big hill. They are in the bushes at the edge of the field. The boys love playing on the big hill and were thrilled for Momma to take them there after dinner. We picked a plastic container full of blackberries.
Back to my realization… I thought to myself, “I just love this.” I loved the family moment, the excitement of my kids, and picking the blackberries. It suddenly hit me that I was very, very happy- as a mom. I couldn't remember the last time I felt unsatisfied staying home with my children. What a smile that brought to my face!
I know many, many moms that long to be a stay-at-home mom. That was never the case for me. I fell into it. I had planned to back to work as soon as I could when my first son was born. I had childcare lined up. The glitch was that we were moving 4 months after my son was born. The move complicated my desire to return to work. How could I put my 6 week old through the adjustment of daycare when we would be moving a few months later and I didn't have any job prospects at our new location? I couldn't do it and I didn't. But, I did struggle.
I was torn. I felt insignificant. I struggled with feeling useful and intelligent. I knew I was intelligent, mind you. I just didn't think I was using my intelligence. I was not satisfied.
On Sunday night, I grabbed my computer and searched for an old Motherhood post. It described my internal struggle. Here's that post: Mothering: Thoughts from My Heart. It ends with this statement: "I just struggle with being content in this stay-at-home mom position."
I am not struggling with contentment as a stay-at-home mom anymore. 8 years of struggling and I am not struggling anymore. After years and years of a hurting heart, I am happy in my place in life. I was surprised at the realization. I was stunned.
For the last two days I have been thinking about what changed.
Two years ago we moved to a small town. We choose the town but I was not prepared for the change to smaller town living. It took me a while to adjust. I have embraced my town.
I am embracing a slower life style.
There aren't that many places to go. I'm at home more. Instead of running here and there, I focus on my family and my friends. I am outside more (at least in the summer). I love things such as bike rides, letting my kids play in the rain, watching the kids get excited about tadpoles from the creek, and picking berries with the kids. I've slowed down enough to enjoy little things.
I've slowed down enough to stop longing for more.
Another part of my change of heart has to do with a change in perspective. Somewhere along the way, I stopped comparing myself to others. I didn't recognize how much I was looking at what I perceived as success. I couldn't measure up to it. I don't struggle with that near as much. Slowing down changed my perspective. I don't long for the success of others. I savor moments of stillness looking at the stars, the contagious sound of laughter from my children, the huge grin on my son's face when he brings me a dandelion flower, and praying with my family. I appreciate the beauty around me.
I could write more. Maybe I will write more in another post. For now, I have to go. My 4 year old just told me this is the best day ever. I asked him why and he said "just because". So, I'm gonna get going. I have to finish my cheese grits and get ready to go to "the big hill". I told the boys we would go this morning. We don't need more blackberries. We just want to go have some fun.
I'll leave you with a picture of me from Sunday night enjoying my berries and ice cream.
(One more thing - I am reading Ann Kroeker's book Not So Fast. It is encouraging and challenging me even more to slow down. I highly recommend it.)