This is part 1 of a series on how motherhood is changing and refining me. There were some issues of the heart that I didn’t know I had until I became a mother. I’m not sure how many parts there will be…as I’m sure there’s more I have yet to discover. Stay tuned!
“I just don’t feel called to motherhood anymore. I’m not a baby person. My friends all seem more into parenting than I am. What’s wrong with me? I thought I wanted a large family, but it’s just too hard. No more babies.”
These are some of the deep and vulnerable thoughts when I’m up late at night with my baby, feeling down and unfulfilled.
Maybe you’ve thought these same thoughts. Maybe you haven’t. Maybe you’re better at seeing the beauty in the mundane than I am.
“I’m not accomplishing anything…”
I thrive on productivity. So parenting is hard for me. It feels like some days I accomplish a whole lot of nothing. Right now I’m in a season called parenting small children. Cleaning up spit-up and keeping kids alive isn’t that exciting in the day-to-day.
Wasn’t I called to more than this?
But it’s about being obedient. It’s about dying to myself and my “needs.”
Motherhood is not glamorous. It’s serving.
Sometimes the biggest act of service isn’t building homes in the inner city or playing soccer with Guatemalan kiddos.
Sometimes it’s in your own home, giving your kiddos your time and attention.
This is a challenge for me.
The best place to be is living your calling. Don’t think that because you’re in a supporting role that you’re not of value. God is using you.
We aren’t all called to motherhood. But for those that are, it is a high and noble calling. It doesn’t mean your life has ended, even if you mostly stay home and do “nothing” all day.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ who you are serving.
This is for myself too. A reminder that each day counts..
What to do when parenting leaves you unfulfilled:
Check your motives.
Examine your heart. Your intentions. Is there any selfishness hiding beneath the surface? Are you simply wanting to be seen? Are you aching to do service that is visible to others for the glory that goes with it? I had to check my motives as to why I want to foster kids when my biological kids are here now and they need me. Is it partly because fostering seems more note-worthy?
Fostering is great and I still feel called to do it someday. But woah, I’m glad I caught those feelings! I don’t want to do a good thing for the wrong reasons.
How important is it that you “feel fulfilled” in the first place?
Is that just a feeling? Can you be doing the right thing without feeling fulfilled? God doesn’t call us to feel a certain way. He calls us to be obedient. Personal fulfillment should never come before the needs of my children.
Do you need a new approach?
Maybe there’s a different style of parenting you haven’t tried yet. Maybe your day needs more structure, or less structure. Maybe you need to incorporate weekly activities with friends, or maybe you’re already on the go too much and you need more downtime. It might not be parenting itself, rather your approach to it that’s leaving you unfulfilled.
Find a creative outlet.
I work part-time outside of the home and I also enjoy getting creative with food, fitness, photography…and blogging! These creative outlets are small but they allow me to be Emily sometimes, not just mommy. I still have ideas and passions, even though I’ve set aside some of my hobbies temporarily. It’s all about finding the right balance for your family. Acknowledge your need to be creative and express yourself.
Notice the small things.
It’s easy when I spend so much time around my kids to overlook the simple beauty of daily life. Their giggles. Their quirks. The little voice saying “I love you, Mommy.” I need to do a better job of being present in the moment and appreciating those treasures. How much time I spend on my phone matters. How I respond in those small moments adds up to something much larger.
Embrace the big picture.
The flip-side of noticing the small things is to look at your life on a grander scale. What you do today effects the generations. I find comfort in the fact that even though I’m not out on the front lines changing the world, I might possibly be working behind the scenes to raise the world-changers of tomorrow. The values I instill in my children will last much longer than I will. We show them how to be generous. We show them how to love. That’s no small thing. Even though I can’t see it, I’m working on leaving a legacy.
My children are my crown.
Proverbs 17:6 says that my children and children’s children are my crown. My blessing. These little ones were given to me. I was meant for them and they were meant for me. We’re here to grow and expand one another. We might be a lot alike. We might get on each other’s nerves. But it’s for my betterment.
These specific children were placed in my life for a reason. My boys teach me to play and use my imagination. They teach me to not be afraid. They teach me to trust. They highlight all my short-comings and areas for growth. They truly are a treasure.
Jesus embraced the children when his disciples wanted to send them away. In Mark 10:14 Jesus says: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” I want to see my children everyday through this lens.
Johann Christoph Arnold writes in Their Name is Today:
Are children considered a national treasure? In terms of future income earners with buying power, yes. But as unique individuals who offer hope for the renewal of civilization? Not so much.
Parenting should not be viewed as an insurmountable financial risk or great emotional and psychological burden. It is not something for experts only. But it does need a heart of love for children and a willingness to sacrifice for them. Without the readiness for sacrifice, how can we experience what life is all about?
What about you? Do you ever feel like parenthood is unfulfilling? What do you do to embrace the meaning and the importance of mundane tasks?