I read this article the other day entitled Motherhood didn't Ruin Me, It Made My Life Better and in it the author writes:
Now I am writing the novel that I never “had the time” to write when I was too busy living for myself. In a way, it’s a paradox. With Sofia by my side, I am no longer free to do whatever I want, whenever I want, however I please. But, instead of that idea of freedom, I now possess a clearer focus of my true passion—writing. Somehow, in a way I can’t fully express in words, I am more alive as a mother than I was as a happy-go-lucky girl who traveled the world and reveled in freedom.
The entire thing is worth a read, but I've been thinking about the insights this young mom has gleaned in the short amount of time she's spent parenting. The idea that she gave something up to become a mother, yet found a greater part of herself is truly profound. Although the world sees motherhood as a complete imposition on a woman's freedom, the reality is that motherhood has allowed this young woman to discover a freedom she didn't know possible.
It wasn't until I reflected on the author's words that I realized this has been my experience in my vocation as well. When I was a young mother with a bunch of toddlers running around, I was often bored with my at home duties. The monotony of filling sippy cups and doing laundry and changing diapers came as a surprise to me. Yes, I was hopelessly in love with the child who grinned at me while I wiped his dirty bottom, but I didn't realize motherhood would sometimes be so....boring. I didn't realize I would not be intellectually challenged like I was for some many years in college and graduate school or when I worked professionally. At school and at work, I was recognized for my contributions and successes, but at home, so much of what I did was hidden. When John came home from work, it wasn't unusual for me to regale him with a list of all I did.
"Did you see I organized the pantry, John?"
"I folded all the laundry!"
Or my personal favorite, "Guess what? I showered today!"
How was he supposed to respond to those Mount Everest feats?
"Ummm, that's great, honey?!"
I quickly realized if this whole at-home motherhood thing was going to work, I needed to find something to do outside of taking care of my family. I needed a hobby or an interest to engage me while I fulfilled my main responsibilities.
So I took an inventory of Things I Might Like To Spend Time Doing So I Don't Lose My Mind (or something like that) and one of those things turned into a blog for family and friends. For the last nine years, I've been writing on this little online journal, telling funny stories or sharing spiritual insights I've had. I have written some really, really bad stuff (my apologies to those who read these early pages) but I kept writing...in the morning, late at night, during nap time, and while I burned dinner. I wrote and wrote and wrote and over the years, my writing got better, not New York Times essay journalist better, but substantially better. I joined a Writer's Guild, went to a few conferences, read some writing books, made some contacts, and was even able to publish a few things online and in print.