Finding Joy

"Daisies" as my girls like to call them

“Daisies” as my girls like to call them

If someone had told me seven years ago, the day I saw that first positive pregnancy test, that I was about to embark on one of the most rewarding, exciting, joy-filled adventures in life, I don’t think I would’ve believed them. Who in the world would have thought I would ever be worthy of doing such a thing? Yet here I am!

But see? There was a catch. While being a mom (and, in particular, a stay-at-home mom) is all of those wonderful things and more, there are the dark, secret sides to it that no one talks about.  Rewarding? Yes. But also challenging.  Exciting? Absolutely! But also full of so much monotony and mundaneness, each day looking just like the last. Joy-filled? Definitely, but sometimes it seems to be more tears-mixed-with-frustrations-filled.

Through these past five years as a SAHM I’ve had to redefine myself in many ways (as mom, wife, friend) more times than I care to count.  It seems that with each growing pain my kids have, I find myself going through my own growing pains.  Whether it is finding my wings in a new place we move to, or learning how to juggle yet another little one in our already busy life, or simply finding time to breathe for myself when there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours or energy in a day.

My newest growing pain? Lately, I have been struggling to find joy in doing “this”, day-in and day-out.  To be honest, there are some days when I wonder if I’m really cut out for “this”. “This”, as in being home with my kids 24/7.  How do I find the joy in the monotony and mundaneness that comes with being home all day every day?  Because at times, even with all of these wonderful little people around me, I feel lonely.

So that is my current growing pain: Finding joy in the loneliness.  I don’t expect to wake up one day, suddenly overcome with the secret “formula” to having it figured out.  Just like teaching our little ones how to walk, we can’t expect to be experts at any one thing immediately; we have to take those small, baby steps before we can run.  It is a slow, grueling process that takes time, effort, thoughtfulness, and practice. Time plus a goal plus effort equals success (or at least I hope it does in this case).

The first baby step I need to take is to find where these feelings of loneliness happen and try to counter them. Loneliness finds me in the late night soothing of a little one, when no one else is around to witness or notice my doings.  It finds me in the unspoken conversations I have each day, counting down the minutes until my husband comes home and I can have an actual adult conversation. It finds me when I realize that if I had a job outside of the home I would have the camaraderie of co-workers. It finds me when I’m fighting my own fights with myself over being a good mother, and whether what I’m doing is really all that important.  It finds me when I’m having a rough day with the kids and I want nothing more than to have a friend call me up to say “hi”, or talk with me over a hot cup of coffee, reassuring me that I’m not the only one that has rough days.

And, strange enough, loneliness doesn’t come alone.  No, those feelings of loneliness bring along a taste of dissatisfaction and discontentedness. Ah, that. That right there’s what is truly robbing me of my joy.  The feelings of loneliness fester and ooze over time until I eventually become more content with the idea of how my life COULD be, how I think I could be happiest, instead of learning to be content with how my life currently is.

When I focus so much on what I think might make me happier or feel more fulfilled I lose sight of how the simple, “little” things in my life are not only good enough but they are exactly what I need. I’m not ok with simply going through the motions of day-to-day life; I want to find the joy again, the things that make me realize that the life I am living, the role I am playing, are worthwhile and important.  The joy in serving my family; the joy in those (few-and-far-between) moments I get to spend with friends and loved ones; the joy in simply fulfilling the purpose for my life.

The old saying “The grass is greener on the other side” rings true.  But I challenge that old saying and am claiming: “If the grass looks greener on the other side, it’s time to water my lawn.” The place I need to take those first baby steps, the place I need to make a change, is in my heart.  Because until I make that heart-change, I will never be satisfied or content; I will always struggle with my feelings of loneliness and wanting more.

These little people I have the opportunity to wake up to each morning are enough.  The dishes I wash endlessly, the laundry I wash and fold over and over again, are enough.  The quiet moments I spend in bed each night, reflecting on the rough/good/happy/sad day I just had, are enough.  The cherished times spent with friends and family are enough. The boo-boos I kiss, the fights I referee, the crusts I cut off sandwiches are enough.  I want my kids to know they can be joy-filled and feel fulfilled no matter where God puts them in life.  I need them to see that I am happy where I’m at, that what I have been given is enough, so they can learn to be happy where they are at.  “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart!”

Finding the joy won’t come over night, and I know I will still have moments where I feel in a slump.  But I also know that each day I take those baby steps and “fall”, I’m that much closer to running.

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16 thoughts on “Finding Joy

  1. One thing I do when I find myself getting lonely is set up a at date with a friend. Although our conversation gets interrupted every two minutes it feels so good to have someone my age to talk to. Other times I just simply go out to the park, the library, etc, and strike up a convo with another mom. Chances are they are grasping for some adult talk as well! 🙂

    • Yes!! I love play dates!! 🙂 Just having those moments to connect with another mom are priceless. I think I’m going to schedule a couple for next week. That will be just what this mom’s heart needs! 🙂

  2. Thank you for sharing your heart. I really needed to read this. Everyday seems like a fight for joy, and today in particular, I felt like I lost that fight completely. Praise The Lord for His faithfulness to lift us up from the countless number of falls!

  3. I’m sure you know this, but I want to state that the job you are doing in taking care of your little ones every day is the most important job ever. I can see how the loneliness would be challenging and also want to state that you are doing a great job in accepting those feelings with a positive attitude.

  4. It’s not all rosy, that’s so true. But most of the time it’s pretty wonderful. We all need something more though at times, whether it be a purpose aside from that amazing mother role, or social time with other adults, hobbies to make us happy. All of these things are important too.

  5. You are in the very (very!) challenging stage of parenting where the kids have an abundance of needs and your own are often times pushed to the side. Not only that, your kids are all still so young that they can’t have anything but conversations that are…childlike. 😉 I know it doesn’t change anything now, but have hope – it really does get easier/better (in my opinion) as they get older.

    Especially when homeschooling – the older kids are home which means they’re there during the day to interact with you and to help with their siblings…it gets SO good! I love where we’re at now, but I used to be lonely and worn out completely (and I only had two!).

    I still have a lot of work to do each day, but I now have company (10 yrs and 14 yrs) to share the day with. They are a great help with their 2 yr old brother as well.

    Sorry, rambling, but I just want you to know it gets easier! Each year, a little bit easier. ❤

    • No apology necessary! It is very encouraging hearing from other moms who have already been through what I’m going through. 🙂 And I agree, the older the kids get, the easier it seems to be (although we have some attitude issues I’ve never had to deal with until recently). Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment! 🙂 I appreciate it!

      • Attitude seems to start increasing around age 6-7, but I found that, when dealt with consistently, it was manageable. And by 11 or so, it was gone. There seems to be a real struggle with kids, in regards to respect, at certain ages.

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