It is thought by many, and our society since the feminist movement believes, that when women have children their lives will consequentially have no meaning, or that they are wasting their lives since they can't pursue a career which our culture has falsely prioritized over having a family.
When my first son was born I fell into a deep depression. Sleepless nights, difficulty nursing, endless monotonous days drove me to tears and deep sadness. I could not beat it. Every day I sat doing laundry, changing diapers, trying to get this new baby to eat, trying to keep up with the house, making meals (which I hate doing anyway)... Barely going outside the four walls of my home. I felt trapped. It just was too much for me. I felt like my life was wasted. And I spent so much of my time in tears. I've often compared that season of my life to the movie Groundhog Day where every day is the same, the same, the same. I could not see the end of such an anonymous and thankless existence. I felt like no one cared about me and that I didn't matter. I believed that my days being a mother were a waste and not a thing to make a difference in the world.
When my little guy was about five months old I knew I didn't want to go through this pregnancy and newborn thing again and so I determined that he would be an only child. The next day I found out I was pregnant with my second son, and I sobbed.
Right about that time a good friend of mine invited me to a weekend conference for moms. I went. And it was a life-changer! This woman gave me permission to “just” be a mom, to find incredible worth and value in it, to find great purpose and calling in the raising up of a small piece of the next generation. Suddenly I walked in intention and duty and passion. It was wholly liberating!
I am a dancer by trade. I studied many years in dance technique, performance, and history. I mastered my craft. I excelled and worked to be the best I could be. Then, I became a leader amongst my peers in my job as I advanced administratively. I also led and directed a dance company for many years. These things gave me much fulfillment and I loved the potential path of a creative career doing what I loved. Marrying, having children, and moving to a remote location altered these things for me. I could not see the same value or any comparable value in just being a mom with little kids. But I was so wrong. I had little hearts and minds and bodies to nurture, to mold, to train, to build purpose and heroism and goodness into. When I finally embraced the call and gift of motherhood I quickly realized what an important work I had before me...even more important than my “career”. People matter. And the little people in our stewardship matter immensely. This is no small occupation. It is an addition to our identity. I am a Christian, and a woman, and a dancer, and a leader, and a wife, and a mom, and... I imagine as the days and months and years tick by more will be added to who I am. Let's choose to embrace the incredibly important role of “parent.” In what other role are we able to be so incredibly influential to others? And I have found that even in the midst of this important work of parenting I've still been able to also pursue passions beyond my home. Some of these passions are the same as before kids, and some are newly ignited because of my kids. Life is not over when we have children; it's more purposeful, selfless, and character-building – things we ought to be chasing after anyway.
“Children are not a distraction from more important work;