I have missed blogging and writing, so I’m just going to dive right in. Let’s talk about being content! So hard, right?
Something that I really have been trying to focus on a lot lately is contentment. I never genuinely thought that this was something I struggled with or gave much thought to, honestly, until we decided to not have any more children. For seven years, I was all about babies. Ohhh, my sweet, sweet squishy babies. I always dreamed of being a mom, felt like it was very natural for me, and since I was little I would have told you all I wanted to be was a mommy. I wanted to be pregnant and have babies, and I did it three times with three precious babies and an amazing husband. But, that’s where it ended in my imagination, I guess. After babies, I would be an old person raising her children, and then adolescents, and I just could not and did not want to relate to that. I mean, old people have middle schoolers and I doubt I’ll ever be old.. All of this was unintentional, but that’s what happened. So, I started to be discontent and not really thrilled with growing older and not being who I had been for nearly a decade. I have healthy children, an extremely supportive husband, and what felt was a pretty solid spiritual life, so I had no business feeling that way! It crept in and I couldn’t pinpoint that discontentment was actually what I was feeling until it was finally gone. The verse “but godliness with contentment is great gain” became very important to me and very encouraging! I don’t have the answer for how every other woman struggling with the transition of “mother to babies” to “mother of children” can feel fulfilled, but these things helped me.
First, my husband listens to me very well and offers few but very wise words whenever I need them. When I told him that I am not sure who I am if I’m not taking care of babies, he reminded me that I had done an awfully good job raising those babies into well-behaved, smart children, and that I should be proud of myself. And that those children need me to be just as good of a mom for them now that they are older. They have changed and I need to as well. Suddenly, those words made a lightbulb go off for me. I’m not the same person I was ten years ago. No one is. Hello!!? Sometimes the simplest words said in the right way can make a huge impact.
Secondly, I am now able to shift some focus over to that wonderful husband of mine. The phase of babies and diapers and nursing and breast pads and spit up and NO SLEEP and seclusion are sweet, but it’s not the easiest time to strengthen your marriage. Y’all! My kids sleep in their own beds every night, they go to the bathroom themselves, they buckle themselves in, they say THANK YOU. I feel like I have so much more time to focus on myself and my husband. He deserves some attention after ten years of me taking care of everyone else. And now that we’re here, I don’t feel old! I know I am, getting older that is, but I don’t mind. Life looks pretty good at 34.
There is such an important thing to remember, though. To be content does not mean to be stale. Sometimes being content means being satisfied. Of course, no one wants to spend time around a person that is never satisfied. And that is not what God desires. But we have to be careful. Sometimes as a stay-at-home mom, there is a tendency to find satisfaction in just getting by. We are always in the throws of a difficult phase. Newborns are exhausting. Toddlers are taxing. Elementary school aged children cause us to worry if we’ve done enough and homework can be grueling. Then there’s the “we live at the ballpark” phase. Every phase of parenthood is hard! But moms, we can’t become stale and content with just surviving. Even though I certainly always wanted to be a mom, it is challenging. The guy that has always wanted to be a doctor would tell you that his job is satisfying, but just because it’s what he’s always wanted to do does not make his job easy, or that he has no other desires in life. He wants hobbies, and life outside of the ER. He turns his beeper off, but mothers do not. It’s a job unlike any other. And we asked for it. Our families deserve our best, and so does God. He desires this for us:
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have,
for He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say
‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear;
what can man do to me?'”
One of my goals for this stage of my life is to be able to confidently and comfortably mimic the words of Paul:
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am in to be content.”
Mamas, if you are struggling during this phase, you are not alone, but you never are! Hang in there, do the best you can, and be content once you have.