The Things That Stop You Dreaming

This is a post that I wrote a week or two before having Roxanne. In part, it encouraged me to re-read over my positive thoughts from before. But at the same time, it made me a bit sad. This morning I am frustrated and tired and feel like trying to plan things is the equivalent of stomping around in quicksand. I am cranky and stinky and I have very little desire to be a mom right now (the fact that it is morning could slightly be affecting this).

I feel great physically. Ready to get out of the house, be active, see people. But just when I think I can plan around my baby's schedule, she pulls some dramatic stunt (like refusing to sleep at a time that is normally easy to put her down, or nursing for an entire hour). Then I just decide to throw out the schedule and make plans anyway.

That doesn't always work either.

I know she's still young and all that, but if I let myself stay home all the time I will go crazy. The smell of milk, the state of my hair, the fact that some days I don't brush my teeth...Maybe going out is exhausting. But it gives me a reason to look presentable and feel sort of like a real human again.

Thus follows my throwback post on my ideal mom-self and what I hoped that it would look like. Day by day, I will get there. I will be a mom that my daughter can look up to.

The Things that Stop You Dreaming by Passenger
"Well if you can’t get what you love
You learn to love the things you’ve got
If you can’t be what you want
You learn to be the things you’re not…"
I've been thinking about how consistently my fear of being a parent comes back to haunt me; in the mornings when I don't know what to feed myself for breakfast, at night when I feel Comet's kicks and I try to imagine what it will be like to hold her in my arms instead of my belly, and in the afternoon silence of our little apartment when I am alone. Basically, any minute I am not completely absorbed in something else.

It's difficult to pin down the fear because it is not one simple thought. It is a million facets of the same thing.

But instead of spending time logging all of these fears, big and small, that make me cringe at being a parent (and make me stare at my belly, telling Comet that she can wait as long as she wants to get here because I am so. not. ready.), I'm going to list all the things that I want to be. 

The flip-side of fear is love. Love casts out fear, because when you are loved with the unconditional love of God, you are worth it. You are important. And you have all you need to be content with life.

When I feel sheltered by His love, I am so much more free to love others and to enjoy the things around me. I worry less about being "productive" and more about what's actually important. That's why I need to take this time to write down the things that are important to me. It will remind me later who I wanted to be so I don't lose the versions of myself that I love best.

This is also why I will not make a list of things that I want my daughter to be or things that I want our family to be, because that would require fitting other persons into a box of my own making. It would involve a type of control that I should never have.

This is a list for me. Because if I take the time to be who I want to be, than who my family is will flow from that naturally. And hopefully, I won't be as focused on changing who they already are.

My Ideal Mom-Self
  • She likes to braid her hair or twist it up into something cute, because it makes her feel a little more put-together even when she's not.
  • She takes tons of photos to keep all the memories for years to come.
  • She is still adventurous. Just with a baby on her back. 
  • She takes time out of her day for herself - not because she is selfish, but because she knows that she will fail at taking care of her family if she herself is not taken care of. If she misses her me-time, she will demand more of her husband and the relationship will become strained. 
  • She writes. Maybe not consistently or astoundingly, but she puts words together and that is enough. 
  • She allows the imperfections in her home to exist, without letting them dictate a life of stress. Things like dirty dishes and dusting that never gets done and wearing clothes for more than one day and a house that feels messy. Things that can be a big deal...or things that can be forgotten in light of laughter and memories. 
  • She does not get discouraged when her efforts to serve the perfect dinner or have the perfect family outing fail miserably. 
  • She lets her husband know that he is still #1, even if it feels like the baby is eating up her life. 
  • She lets her husband make her laugh (which he is so good at), even when all she wants to do is hold on to the fear/pain/exhaustion and wallow in it. 
  • She remembers what is important to her: time with God, being outdoors, staying healthy, being creative (whether with food, words, or art), time with family, and continuous growth.
  • She makes other people feel important and loved through encouraging words and actions. Motherhood is not a race or a competition; each mom must get through the days in any way that she can.

These ideals all come with pretty images in my head. I know that parenting, like everything else in life, does not consist of picture-perfect moments. I know that so many days will be full of things I don't want to deal with. And I know that I will want to be selfish.

I'm sure some of these things will fall by the wayside and others will take their place. I am never my true ideal - no one is. Still, it is a reminder that I am a person, that I have choices to make, and I get to be the person that I take time the to cultivate. Yes, I am a wife. I am a mother. 

But I am also a girl. Just a girl.

And the important thing is this: if you can't be everything you want to be, you "learn to love the things you've got..."

Tell me how you envisioned yourself as a mom (or any other huge life change, like landing your dream job or getting married) before it happened, and what changes - both good and bad - occurred as the years went by. Have you evolved into a person that you like? Or is it time to reevaluate who you are and start again?

God doesn't let us stay stuck either. He puts us through things (like parenthood) to change us into the people He wants us to be, and to make us inescapably dependent on Him.

"And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds form the mouth of the Lord." ~Deuteronomy 8:2-3

If you're dealing with any of these issues - unexpectedly pregnant, afraid to be a mom, guilty because you're not joyful with this new change - head on over to this post by Paige. I just started following her blog and I am so encouraged by her!

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