Ironic, isn’t it?
As co-creators, participating in the miracle of new life, we seem to lose a piece of ourselves. As a mom of six, it adds up!
Before children, I was reasonably accomplished. I had done some pretty amazing things and had led an interesting life. Somehow, after 12 years of mothering, I was lost. Probably with all those missing socks.
It Took Time
I do believe it was a gradual process, but it occurred to me one day that I had no preferences, no desires. How did this happen? When did I get to this point?
Being a mother, of course, requires selflessness, but this was beyond your average motherly devotion. This had reached the point of complete apathy. Martyrdom is not the goal of mothering.
I didn’t care where we ate lunch; I didn’t care if we did much of anything, and I didn’t care about beautifying our home. Obviously, this was depression, but it came on like a frog in a slowly heating pot. I never really noticed it until I was so far gone.
Luckily, I did get to the point of recognizing that I needed to be very deliberate about taking care of myself and developing some interests outside of homeschooling and motherhood. Self-care is still something I’m working on and a primary focus of this blog.
As moms, we focus so much on everyone else. At times I feel just the necessities of life can completely overwhelm me. I know this is my introverted personality with a dash of being highly sensitive, but recognizing it is not enough.
I need specifics, reminders, goals, and accountability.
Making a Commitment to Myself
This past year, I made the commitment to attend the Bravewriter Retreat. This included getting my 2-year-old weaned so I could leave overnight. My 6 and 8-year-olds, thankfully, stayed with my mom. My husband took off work and stayed home with the 14, 12, 10 and 2-year-olds.
Don’t tell anyone, but the best part was the 12-hour round trip drive by myself.
In the car!
I listened to this podcast (twice) on the recommendation of friends; friends I would meet for the first time at the retreat. I took time just to be, not racing or moving, just sitting in silence without a thought in the world. I know I wasn’t the most active participant at the retreat, but it was perfect for my introverted self. I think I’m still living the renewing effects of that time alone.
Creating a Plan
Having a plan is not selfish, for me, it’s survival. I’m still considering my “must have” self-care practices and how I can fit those into a busy homeschooling life with six children. Also, how I can live a creative life for myself that will benefit the entire family.
It’s all a process that is never complete, children grow and the family changes. What worked in one season of life will need to be adjusted to accommodate new circumstances.
This is something that cannot be worked in when I have the time, I must make the time. And so should you! A worn down mother who has lost her place in the world will find it tough to face each day with optimism. Instead, we should embrace ways to renew ourselves so we can rise to this parenting challenge.
As I look forward to next year, I’m considering what would help in continuing to rekindle an interesting, creative life for myself and my family. As an adult, I realized how poorly read I am and have attempted to remedy this deficiency. I didn’t read Jane Austen until my late 30’s! So in preparation for next year, I’m creating a reading list of books I wish I had read. I’ll unveil my list soon and would love to have you join me!
I also subscribed to some magazines (Martha Stewart Living, Real Simple, and Family Fun)! I haven’t gotten magazines in years, but I used to enjoy them so much and hope to make the time to look through them this year.
My other idea is to have a least one creative project a month. Knitting in January, painting in February, etc. I’m open to suggestions!
I’m calling this my “Inspired Year” and you can join me in being inspired as a mother, wife, woman, and person. I’ll be posting on Instagram with #inspiredyear2017.