I know what it’s like. When people ask what you do. “Oh well I stay home with my kids.” And if you’re like me you get uncomfortable and string a disclaimer onto that sentence. “But I might go back to work after they are in school.” “Daycare prices are way too expensive.” “I just can’t stand the thought of leaving my baby with someone else.” Why do we do this? Do we think that being a parent has somehow left us to miss out on all the experiences life has to offer? Mamas, you do not need a disclaimer to find purpose in motherhood. You are a mother, and that is a great honor.
So many times I have heard “It’s sad when people never leave their home and they never see the world” and “I really want to travel before I have kids”. Um, I’m guilty myself! But really, are experiences the most important thing in life? When you get to the end will you regret not sky diving in Vegas? Is that what it takes to truly live?
I say no.
Too often we compare ourselves with others. “Oh, look at her she wrote a book” or “I know someone who sold everything they had and are backpacking around Europe!” And we say “wow, those people are living–look at those experiences!” That inevitably leads to self doubt, fear of failure, and the thought that we are somehow missing out on this ideal “life”. The adventurous life that everyone wants. The life people strive toward.
Is that really the goal?
Jesus said to love the Lord you God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself. That is it, and that is all. Anything else is just a blessing.
For some people that does mean traveling the world or moving to Central America. But for others, that means staying in exactly the same town, and maybe even the same house. Is one of these people better than the other? Absolutely not. Because, all of this is in the posture of the heart.
For mamas, each moment you spend with your little person is a ministry. God sees it. God sees your humility, struggle, grace, selflessness, and your heart.
Stop selling yourself short. Wherever you are, be all there. Only you can be mama. Anyone can go out and do all the things you think you should be doing. Only you can be mama. Don’t look at motherhood as having less value than it does. Don’t think that having a baby has kept you from accomplishing something great or going out and seeing the world. Those things can and will pass away.
Some of us moms go back to work, some of us do not. All of it is well and good. Everyone’s path is different, and we must support and encourage each other in our journeys. No matter what, no matter the situation. But, don’t feel like you need to be part of something bigger to find an identity.
Wherever you are, be all there. -Jim Elliot
Please, let’s stop thinking we need some great experience to truly define “living”. The reward of bringing a small life into the world, completely dependent on you, and taking responsibility for another human being–that is living. The little moments that no one sees? That is life. Don’t get caught up in the idea that you must fit into a certain image to really have experienced the world. Some of us will travel the world before babies, some of us won’t make it out of the U.S. But please, don’t take away the beauty of what it really means to be a parent.
I’m not saying that there is something wrong with traveling, or waiting to have kids. Believe me, I don’t think everybody should just go have a bunch of kids. But for me, personally, I do not want to fall into the trap of thinking that my life is put on hold while I have babies. That I might miss out on something great because of this responsibility. It is so much more than that. Don’t make excuses for such a great privilege.
This realization has been so freeing for me. I have been encouraged to take off the blinders and see life for what it is. The things of this world pass away, but those things that have eternal significance are what I am holding onto. I will not fear missing out on something. If I do get to Italy someday, that’d be amazing. If I don’t I will still consider my life well lived and my heart well loved.
I love one man with my whole heart. I have and will raise my children with grace, humility, and selflessness. I love the Lord and I strive to love and serve others with my every thought and action.
That is enough for me. I have released myself from that fear; the fear of missing out on experiences. The fear of missing out on life. Because, I already have it.
It’s the eternal significance of day to day actions that really matter.
Don’t waste so much time thinking about dreams, goals, and future plans that you miss the beauty of what is right in front on you.
Don’t miss out on life.