“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”
This year I’ve discovered what it’s like to be a person again.
Not that I wasn’t really a person before, but I was so entirely consumed by being a mother that there just didn’t seem to be any room for anything else.
And I’m sure we all know a woman who thrives in that space – mothering is her greatest purpose in life. She treasures every single moment with her precious babes, takes them to playgroup, the park, and all the fun activities, and spends hours in the kitchen cooking delicious, nourishing food for them.
Trust me, I’ve spent many hours feeling inadequate in her presence. I know her well. And I promise you, I am not having a go at her – if that’s you, all the power to you precious sister.
But that woman is not me.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love my children and would do anything for them. I take great delight in the moments we share, and I refuse to allow my parenting to be ruled by ‘I can’t wait until they…’ thinking that really just wishes away the present moment.
But they are not my everything.
I’m so much more than just that one relationship in my life.
I also don’t love cooking. Or playgroups. Please don’t talk to me about what brand of nappies you just can’t possibly live without. Those conversations do not set my soul on fire, at least not in a good way.
And, can I be totally honest with you here for a minute, I actually think my children are the richer for me discovering what it’s like to be me again.
I’m stronger, I’m more passionate, and my life has more joy in it. Because I choose to intentionally chase after the things that bring my soul alive. Because I choose to delight in the time I spend on my own, rather than feeling the obligatory ‘mother guilt’ because they aren’t all on top of me 24/7.
I’m more than just the fancy lunches I send to school (ok, I don’t make school lunches, my kids – even the 7-year-old – make their own, I just approve the final product). If lunches bring you joy, make all the lunches! But trust me, you’re not defined by them, and it’s ok to just not even do them at all (as long as the children go to school with food – that needs to happen).
So many of us fall into thinking that if we’re not loving every single moment of being a mum, we’re doing it wrong.
I don’t buy it.
And I feel like, as a mum of six, I’m allowed to say that. It qualifies me as a semi-expert of some sort, right? Sure, I haven’t raised any functioning adults yet, my eldest is still only 14, but I’ve got some runs on the board!
Your children are precious. They will absolutely be a huge part of your life. But your purpose here is deeper and wider and richer than any, one relationship in your life.
Love your people with your whole heart, but remember also to make some time for the things that set your soul on fire.
I know that in some seasons of motherhood that can seem impossible, but maybe, just maybe, there’s something you could give yourself permission to let go of to create some space (like fancy lunches, or folding t-shirts, your 2-year-old isn’t judging the neatness of the t-shirt drawer).
Trust me, it’s worth it.
You’re worth it.