Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Finding "Me" in the Midst of Being Mommy

I've had a lot of roles in the past...from daughter to student to employee. From crafter to blogger to decorator to thrifter. From friend to wife to mom. As I've moved from stage to stage in life, no transition was as different as becoming a mother.

Don't get me wrong...it's what I've always dreamed of becoming. From an early age, I'd play with dolls and pretend to be a mommy. I really love every minute that I am able to spend investing in our children. But at times, it feels as if the old me is gone forever.

After I had Hudson, it took me a while to switch roles. Babies take up so much time - they are constantly in need of something. After a few months, I realized it was OK to have some time for myself. I figured out how to get a few things done around the house. I got back to being creative, decorating, cooking and doing the things I love. I found ways to incorporate my creative desires into Hudson's day. Even color-coordinating his books made me feel like "me."

Sure, he may drag half of them out into the floor from time to time, but keeping them organized this way brought me too much joy to change how they are stored.

I had pretty much found myself again...and then baby Nora arrived. I quickly forgot the necessity of making time for myself. The transition was not the same as when I brought that first baby home, but I still had those helpless feelings sometimes. "Will I ever have time to paint my nails or do my hair again?" "Will I ever sleep again?" "Will I have time for Hudson?" "Will the house ever be clean again?"

Luckily, I sort of knew this strange transition was coming this time. I knew that I would want to decorate for fall, but not have the time or energy to do so. I put up some pumpkins the week before Nora was born.

I pulled out my kid-friendly fabric pumpkins that I made last year and put them in places that Hudson could reach.

If he can "get into" a few things in the living room, he seems to leave other "no no" items alone.

What makes other moms feel like themselves may not involve organization or decorating with pumpkins...but regardless of the activity, it is important to not lose sight of who you are. It's so easy for me to get bogged down by dirty dishes and dirty diapers. But when I take time to incorporate "me" times into my day, those dishes and diapers aren't so daunting.

I've also started trying to do "me" things with Hudson. I love to read - so I read Hudson lots of books. I love crafts - so Hudson and I color a lot. I love having pictures of the kids - so I dress them in cute clothes each day and always keep the camera ready...I never know when a picture moment might show up! (And all mothers of newborns know, if you want a picture of the baby in a certain outfit...you had better snap the photo as soon as you get them dressed. Because they always seem to spit up on the cutest clothes!)

And having to sit still to feed Nora isn't all bad...I had forgotten how it was an excellent time to do my devotions each evening. Once Hudson is in bed and the house is quiet, I know I will be sitting still for a certain length of time. I am able to get into the Word without feeling hurried or rushed to move on to the next thing on my to-do list. I have to sit still...

I've been working my way through a One Year Bible - Right now, as I read through Isaiah, I have to admit that the passages sometimes seem a little long. But I have found great encouragement in some of those verses. When I feel discouraged, tired or alone, I have been able to draw great strength from the following passages.

Isaiah 43:2-4
"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. 
When you go through rivers of difficulty,you will not drown. 
When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your god, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior...
Others were given in exchange for you. 
I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me.
You are honored and I love you. "

Isaiah 49:14-16 reminds me that I am in the "palm of His hand." 
Isaiah 60:1 says, "...for the glory of the Lord rises to shine on you." 

I've found that the quickest way to find myself is to remember who God says I am...I am His. I am loved. I am not alone. I am precious to Him. I am His child. 

As I reviewed this book by Joni Eareckson Tada, (a great read in the midst of times of discouragement) I was encouraged by this quote.

"As I meditate on Scripture, it occurs to me that the glory of the Lord is upon me whether I feel it or not. It rises with me on each new day."

It doesn't matter how I "feel" that day...God still feels the same towards me. 

I love being a mommy...but when I feel out of sorts or overwhelmed, I am learning it's OK to have time for myself. It's OK for me to decorate the house or do a craft. It's OK. Sure, some may say I don't have time for that...but it's who I am and it makes me happy. Jeremiah is always telling me to take time for myself. Although I can't neglect my calling and duty as a home-maker, I am trying to find ways to make what I HAVE to get done seem less like a chore and more like a privilege.

After all, a wife and a mom is exactly who I want to be. And when I take the time to get in the Word- I am reminded of who I am in Christ.

I look at our children and I know that I am doing exactly what God wants for me to do. I love investing in them - and I love to see them influenced by the time I spend with them. And I love knowing that God invests in me in similar ways. I don't have to become some other person in order to be a good mom...I just need to be me and point my kids towards the Lord. I am happier and they are too! 

So, to the other mommies out there...find what makes you, "you" and take time to do it! I think we will all be better mommies! 

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