Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Synchronicity

I have been having an internal struggle lately with motherhood. Even though I know it is important for me to be home with my children, I've been frustrated by my inability to accomplish anything beyond getting us dressed in the morning and getting a meal on the table in the evenings (and to be honest, some days I don't do that great a job with either). There are so many ideas floating through my mind, but realistically I can't accomplish any of them at this time without sacrificing the quality of my parenting. Being a mother and raising my children is still my priority right now. So then I start to daydream about the future when kids are older, and I can accomplish more. I just want it all. Right now.

I was thinking about all this as I was driving the kids into the mountains last Friday (nothing like a drive in the mountains for some good thinking time!) and wondering if I had lost myself by becoming a mother. After settling the kids into bed, I picked up the March issue of Real Simple and started reading an article by one of my favorite magazine authors. Gail Blanke writes great motivator articles every month, and I have most of them saved in a binder. This month she was answering commonly asked questions, and there it was... #4 Can I pursue personal goals and be a good mother? Her whole answer is great (you can read the whole thing at the link above), but a few lines really spoke to me and what I have been feeling.

"You can have it all, but not all at the same time."
"Don't confuse giving yourself 100 percent with losing yourself."
"So don't think for a minute that you're circling in a holding pattern and that one day, when the children are older, you'll land and get on with your life. This is life."

I felt the synchronicity of the moment, and it has since helped me let go of some of the urgency I feel in accomplishing my personal goals. Not that I am giving them up - I'm even scheduling some time to work on them instead of trying to fit it in while simultaneously being a mom. It was just an "aha!" moment for me.

I had another synchronous moment reading that magazine. There was an article written by Jennifer Baumgardner who is the co-author the books Manifesta and Grassroots. Earlier in the car I had listened to a podcast interview with her. Never heard of her before, and she pops up twice in just a few hours. I'm thinking it is a sign that I need to read at least one of her books...

11 comments:

Rebecca said...

You said, "There are so many ideas floating through my mind, but realistically I can't accomplish any of them at this time without sacrificing the quality of my parenting." It sounds like you found peace with that idea by embracing some of the thoughts in Blanke's article. Of course I don't know what your particular dreams or ideas are and why you feel they'd take away from "the quality of your parenting," but I just wanted to share my experience. I, too, struggled with the lack of creative outlets while I stayed home with my daughter. As much as I wanted to believe that "this is life," and that I should be fulfilled by that, I just wasn't. I wrestled with the idea that I was not cut out to be a stay-at-home mother (and that therefore, I wasn't cut out to be a mother at all) for a while.

To make a long story somewhat shorter, I realized that pursuing my own goals made me a better parent. With time spent away from home, away from my daughter, I became "myself" again. I think my daughter will grow up with a happier mother because of that, and that will benefit her, too.

I do believe it's not this way for everyone, and that staying home can definitely be inspiring and fulfilling. But for me it wasn't, and I don't want to feel guilty for taking time to work, to indulge my creative side, or even to simply take off and be on my own for a couple hours.

This is about the longest comment I have ever posted--and my first one on your blog! Thank you for writing such an inspiring post. We at http://greenbabyguide.com have just discovered your blog and will frequent this site often!

Crunchy Domestic Goddess said...

i am so right there with you. thank you for sharing this. i look forward to reading that article. perhaps it will offer some clarity for me as well.
hugs, amy

Colorado Knitter said...

Thank you Kristen and Rebecca! I have been feeling terribly guilty lately since I have been putting so much time toward my on-line store. Good to have some perspective.

Gray Matters said...

Thank you for sharing this post. I think a lot of us struggle with these issues - most of the time we are able to push them to the side and continue on about our day - then there are times we get impatient. Nice to know I am not alone in these thoughts.

thingsyoudidntdo said...

That's a fabulous "aha" moment. I've been thinking about this issue a lot lately too (I have a five month old and my hubby is away for 7 months). it's a tough one.

A book I just finished called Clutter's Dirty Secret by Alison Roberts had some interesting action plans for creating positive energy in your life, one of which was start and end each day by consciously noting something that is good in your life. I think this ties in with the comment about "this" being life. We might as well enjoy it!

Thanks for sharing your revelation!

Shannon said...

You echo sentiments that I believe most moms feel at one time or another. I enjoyed this post and liked the 3rd point about circling in a holding pattern. My mom used to say something similar. I don't for a second regret leaving the counseling field to become a SAHM, and I thoroughly enjoy this season of my life, but I definitely have interests outside of motherhood that I'd like to continue to find time to cultivate. Such a beautiful balancing act it all is ( :

Penny said...

yes - that holding pattern one is something I've struggled with too. I have found a lot of peace in accepting that "this is my life" right now and that I need to live now.

rachky said...

Funny that the grass is always greener...
I'm a full-time working mom, unfortunately not necessarily by choice, and I always wished that I could stay at home to raise my kids when they were younger. And although I enjoy my job, I've realized that the need to pursue our own personal goals and interests (neither job nor child related)is something we should be doing in any case, whether out there or at home, and not to wait, as mentioned, until the kids grow older. It doesn't happen unless you make it happen.

It takes time, and it takes a lot of logistics to create the time, but the time you give to yourself is worth it, and eventually reflected in what you give to others.

molly said...

i think this is a great post. my baby is 3 wks today. im breastfeeding and typing one handed. i feel you.

Megan@SortaCrunchy said...

I Toooooooooooooooooootally know where you are coming from on this. I could have written it word-for-word, except I hadn't found a true a-ha moment yet. Thanks for sharing with such honesty and inspiration. Bravo!

village mama said...

Wise, profound and honest words that I crave to hear from others.

Some weeks this struggle visits me hourly/minutely...