Photo by Darren Shilson
When we become moms, our identities get completely intertwined with little souls we didn't know beforehand. At times there is no time--no time or free brain cells to even pause and reflect in the midst of baby coos and sleeplessness and explosive diaper changes.
But eventually we surface for a breath. Eventually we may find ourselves asking, once or a thousand times, "What has happened to me?"
We recognize the changes are, for the most part, good ones. We wouldn't trade it or go back to our previous lives.
But we wouldn't mind having a little downtime now and then to rekindle some of our inner passions, to nurture ourselves so we can more fully nurture others.
Here are a few thoughts that may help you do just that.
1. Do you know your mission?
Your mission in life isn't only to raise your children, though that is of course one huge and world-changing part of it. In my book Steady Days I give a short checklist to help you uncover your mission if you're unsure.
Knowing your mission gives purpose to days when the best you can do is just go through the motions. My life's mission is to advocate for children through education, communication, and inspiration. I cling to this on days when making it through really is all I have to offer.
2. If you don't know your mission, consider your passions.
Your passions, the things that get you excited, are keys to discovering your mission.
If you're not in a place where you can devote time to uncovering your life's work, if it seems too intimidating, just make a list of what you love to do. This will come easily and is a great way to get started.
3. Find a small way to pursue at least one passion.
Even if it's only for ten minutes a day or two hours a week, it is vital to find time to read, sew, dance, write, whatever. Consider yourself a model for your kids--you want them to notice the love of lifelong learning you have.
This isn't being selfish; it's being intentional.
4. Understand the principle of seasons.
Photo by Dawn
I first journeyed into blogging when Steve and I wanted to update people as we traveled to India to meet our daughter. Friends commented that they loved the posts; someone even said, "Jamie, you're a great writer!"
Encouraged by their enthusiasm, I tried for a while to keep the blog going. It seemed like a good outlet, but there were some problems. The "problems" were my newly adopted four-year-old, a three-year-old, and a two-year-old.
It wasn't the right season for blogging in my life; I was too busy trying to adjust to a new child. But just one year later I began Steady Mom, and I'm amazed by how God has used it and where it has taken me.
It's okay to recognize the season you're in--just make sure those seasons don't turn into years or decades without pursuing your passions.
5. You can do anything, but you can't do everything.
I wish, wish, wish I had two hours a day to read. I love studying and learning and it is a big part of who I am.
But I don't have that time. As a homeschooling mother of three, the two hours a day I have to myself are spent writing here and at Simple Homeschool. I love these blogs too, and they are what I've chosen to put my limited energy into at this time. In-depth studying will have to wait for another season.
All these sentiments and more have been at the forefront of my mind since finishing Mandi Ehman's new ebook--How to Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too. (It's short, you see, so I managed to squeeze it in!)
I knew it was for me when I saw these words:
"Much of the time management and productivity advice for moms focuses on what we can't have. It tells us that as mothers we can't have it all, that we need to accept this season of life and that we should delay our dreams and aspirations for another time.
I loved reading Mandi's stories of perseverance--she tried many work-from-home opportunities before finding the idea that worked. Now she is the main breadwinner in her family, as a blogger and author, but is still working at home where she can be intimately involved in her children's lives.
Other sections cover time management tips, specific ideas on caring for a home, and even thoughts about how to procrastinate productively (I loved that!).
If you have a passion to pursue and a dream whose time has come, but you need inspiration to get started, I encourage you to check out Mandi's book.
*I'd love to hear from you today: What are your passions and how are you taking steps to pursue them?*