When I was little, I always dreamed of being a mommy. I remember I wanted to have twin girls named Betsy and Tacey (anyone else remember those stories?) who always dressed alike and never got into trouble. (Okay the last part I added in just now but, I mean, what parent doesn’t dream of having extremely compliant children?) I feel incredibly blessed to be living out my dream as a mom.
I know it is my purpose in life to be at home, raising, teaching, and nurturing my kids. I am by no means a pro at my “profession”, but every day I gain a bit more insight on my kids and this thing called motherhood.
Sometimes I lose sight of my calling in life, though, and think about all of the things I’m “missing out” on: a successful career, contributing economically to my family, recognition for educational achievements. Scrolling through Facebook, it is easy to see all of the glamorous things my childless friends are doing: traveling the world, gaining successful careers, staying out late with friends and sleeping in the next day, using the bathroom uninterrupted. (Maybe that last one isn’t plastered on Facebook, but a mom can dream, right?!)
Seeing the achievements of others makes my life seem so boring, mundane, insignificant. Let’s be real here: how meaningful can wiping butts, cleaning up toys, washing laundry, and preparing three meals, day-in and day-out, over and over and over, really be?
I am not out there saving lives in a hospital room, or impacting the souls of a community from the pulpit, or keeping our city safe from behind the wheel of a squad car, or inventing some new item that will revolutionize the world. Unless you count inventing new ways to get your children to eat their vegetables, I am definitely not even close to being in the running for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Some days I feel like I am missing the mark, wasting the days of my youth and potential behind these four walls I call home. I get anxious and antsy dreaming about what I want to be “when I (or, in this case, my kids) grow up”. I get excited thinking about the day I can once again do work that matters.
Since when does being a stay-at-home mom not matter? Since when is being a stay-at-home mom not enough? Since when is being “just” a mom insignificant?
Who measures what is “success” and what it isn’t? Who decides which occupation is “worthier”? Who decides that what I’m doing isn’t good enough?
The answer is me. I decide all of those things.
The problem is not in being a stay-at-home mom because, honestly, I love being one. I wouldn’t trade these days at home with my kids for any of the “successful” occupations in the world. (Although there are days when I would gladly lend my kids out for a couple of hours.) The problem is a heart thing. In the end, I am the one setting the standard in my mind and my heart.
Until I start seeing the worth in what I do, I will never measure up to my own standard of success.
Somewhere between the ritualistic routine of the days, weeks, months, and years, I forget that what I’m doing is important. I may not be out changing the world in big ways, or saving lives, or making big deals, but every day I have the ability to affect the lives of five little people for the better. I am their teacher, their protector, their source of comfort, their example of how to walk through this life. I may not have the paycheck, awards, degrees, or outwardly things to prove it, but I have the hearts of my kids as we go through this together. Above all else, I have the peace in knowing that I’m doing what I was made to do.
The definition of success is “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” When it comes down to it, and I really search my heart, I realize that the things in this world will fade. This time I have at home, fulfilling my own unique purpose in life, is very short in the grand scheme of things. The five little lives I am affecting each day will come and go, their lives touching the lives of others they come in contact with, and so on, causing a ripple effect. My purpose in life reaches far beyond the here and now in these four walls. My purpose has meaning.
Moms (me included), let’s stop setting unrealistic standards in our hearts of what we think success is and start embracing the roles we are in. If other people don’t “get it”, that’s ok! They don’t need to.
You are fulfilling a greater plan for your life, and that is success!
*I started this blog with the intent on writing about things I know, things relevant to my life, things on my heart. I am a stay-at-home mom, so much of what I write revolves around that. This is a piece not intended to add to the mommy war of “SAHMs vs. working moms”, but rather speaking from my heart and where I am at in life. In the end, as moms, our only way of finding true satisfaction and happiness is by doing what we are called to do. Whether that is staying at home full time, working full time, or any mix of the two. 🙂 *