In the midst of what can often be a very monotonious job, I often find myself looking and searching for things to bring me joy and happiness. It's a terrible cycle that I think many stay at home mother's find themselves facing...we start feeling like the job of caring for children and our families is not enough. We feel like we should be doing more to contribute to the "status quo" if you will. My husband often teases me as I often come up with these grandiose ideas of something I am going to do...knowing good and well that my follow through is usually lacking. I've said it before and I'll say it again, being a college educated and career person and then becoming a stay at home mom has been humbling for me and a hard transition. My children were obviously very wanted and very planned, but I realized how much of my self esteem came from my career. So, the question is, how do I completely embrace and soak in this time with my kids...how do I find complete satisfaction with feeding, diapering, and wiping away tears?
That joy is right here. It is right in front of my face but I am constantly looking else where to fill that loneliness that I often have. It's my own internal battle of feeling like being a mom is not enough...that simply feeding, diapering, holding, and comforting my children is not enough. When did we, as women, start feeling like unless we are doing a daily craft and drilling the ABC's, that we are not doing enough?
But, this weekend, I had a sort of epiphany. It came at a completely unexpected time. It came when I took my children over to my parents house one afternoon for a visit and then took them outside for a little photo shoot. My parents have a large, woodsy outdoor space...perfect for little people to run around and explore. I grabbed my camera and decided just to follow them around catching the funny things they do. And they played. And I watched...partly through a little view finder window, but nevertheless, I watched.
I watched as they tumbled down an over grown grassy hill...laughing hysterically as they flipped and rolled...completely covered in grass. I watched as they took two pumpkins and used them as bowling pins...giggling as they watched them crash into a tree. I watched them throw leaves, fight over a tricycle, and dig in the dirt with a fallen tree branch.
I found joy for a moment because I stopped trying so hard to be super mom and just let me kids be kids. I didn't have laundry or dishes to do because I wasn't at my house. And it dawned on me that every time my kids are playing well, that is when I seize the opportunity to clean and "be productive"...you know, so I can earn my keep for the day.
I realized that in my pursuit of happiness, that happiness is already here. It's right in front of me. But, I'm so busy proving to world how awesome of a mom and housekeeper I am that I don't even enjoy the gifts God has given me.
As 2012 comes to a close and I reflect on my desires for 2013, I am simply desiring to find happiness in my life right now...not in life once my kids are potty trained, not in the hope that things will get easier, but happiness in right now. It means that Thomas trains and Barbies will be everywhere and that's ok. It's ok because it means I wasn't constantly running behind them picking up messes...instead I was laughing with them while they made the mess. It means when my girls are dancing to the Nutcracker, I'm going to stop and watch...not use that time to empty the dishwasher.
I don't need to pursue happiness...happiness is already here. So when you come to see me in 2013, you'll have to excuse the mess. We're making memories...and I don't want to miss them.
*Editors note: Could these kids be any cuter? I am so, so blessed. What did I do to deserve such goodness? I so don't deserve so much goodness....but, thank you Jesus for it!