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Modern Perspectives, Motherhood, Young Married Mom

March 19, 2012

Life on a Project-by-Project Basis, or What My Babies Have Taught Me About Lent, Part II

To me, one of the most fascinating aspects of human nature is our ability to do more for others than we would for ourselves—whether it’s for the needy, our children, our loved ones, or not even a person, maybe a company, a race, an organization we believe in. In a way, this is great, because it is good to come out of ourselves and apply the skills and talents we have to benefit others. On the other hand, it often means we don’t value ourselves enough simply for who we are.

 

When I think in terms of Lent, I think of how I am able to give up sweets for forty days, without batting an eye. When I think of my family, I think of the many ways I’ve had to adjust my diet over the last few years: for pregnancy, nursing, nursing an allergic baby, then pregnancy again, and now transitioning back to eating for only one. My ability to physically give of myself in honor of another is a good thing, because it teaches me humility and charity.

In terms of grief, this mentality spirals in the other direction. It means I need projects going at all times so that I continue to feel useful. I realize my value as a wife and mother haven’t changed, but a bigger part of me is shaken. That’s why I am knit-knit-knitting and write-write-writing pretty much all the time, even if you guys don’t see much of either.

 

A few weeks ago, my freelance workload lightened. After I finished my current projects, I wasn’t planning to take much more on. Yet when I reached the point I was consciously striving for, I quickly lost a sense of purpose. I bid on a couple of other jobs but lost them, and in a matter of hours, I was seriously stressing myself out over nothing, really.

 

I realize that as I grieve, my emotions and my actions are more extreme than they normally are, and that’s okay. But as I consider this and a couple of other articles I’ve recently read on motherhood, I realize I do not value my vocation enough. I know to my family it is enough that I serve them as a wife and a mother. But to me, it is not, and I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that.

I often ask myself why I freelance. Is it because I love the work? Yes. Is it because I like contributing financially to our family? Yes again. This is a piece of a larger discussion going on with moms all over. But today, for me, it is an interior discussion, and one I think most of us—parents or not—need to consider. Is who I am enough? Or is what I do more important? And where is the line between who I am and what I do drawn?

 

I spend a lot of time thinking about ways I can let Jacob know that he is loved for who he is, now and always. I love him for his giggles, his squeals, his hugs, his playfulness, but really I love him simply because he is. Because he exists, because he is mine.

I know that’s how God feels about me, about all of us, too. And—wait for it, I’m going to get sentimental here—I think if more of us accepted that, our hearts, our homes, and our world would be happier places.

  1. I’ve said this before… but thank you for writing. Your spirit, even in grief, encourages me daily.

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