Thursday, January 6, 2011

Time to clear out some soul clutter

I don't know what it is about the waning evening hours that beckons me to bare my soul via this blog, but it is so and thus I must. 

I've decided I want to be the person I want to be in 2011. How trite, right? Seriously though, as contrived as it sounds, I want to be a me that I am proud of and that I love. Right now, that's a harsh reality I'm settling into. 

I've hit this stride in the last year or so of not loving myself. I tire of my appearance when I dare pass a mirror, I loathe these extra 30 some-odd pounds I can't seem to shake, and I feel like a hamster caught in a wheel, just running my life away. 

This sounds so spoiled brattish, no? To me, it does. You see, I have no problems to speak of. I have a healthy son who begs my attention at every breath, a wonderful, God-given husband who takes all of me and somehow manages to smile, the ability to stay home with my child, and a well-provided-for life that affords me luxuries many in this country don't have. What in the world do I have to be sad about? Yet I am, or at least, was. 

I think I fell into the dreaded vat that many stay-at-home moms do of just losing myself entirely. I became the spit-up dryer, the butt wiper, the chicken-nugget microwaver, the nagger, the yeller, the whiner, the I-don't-have-any-time-to-myself-and-it's-killing-me woman. Ugh! The woman I said I'd never be. Yet here she sits. 

Let me tell you who I used to be. You may be surprised. I used to be a journalist, an editor, a writer, a wordsmith, a ballroom dancer, a volleyball player, a softball player, a poet, a music junkie, a bibliophile, a fashionista, a teacher, an artist, an actress. These are all roles I've had in my life and most, if not all, are dear to me. 

What happened to all of these roles once I became a mom? They stopped. They not only stopped; they screeched to a grinding halt like bad brakes on an '86 Nissan.  It's like I accepted this role of mom from God, with an understanding that that was all I was going to be from then on. Nothing more, nothing less. Note that this is not what God asked of me; this is the limitation I put on myself. 

In the nearly three years since I've become a mom, I've spent a lot of time reflecting on myself. I've realized that abruptly jerking myself out of the workforce and a career that had become every ounce of my being was somewhat shocking. I was filled with excitement at the thought of being a mom, but the only world I truly understood was now a distant memory. 

I understood my career. I was good at it. I could keep up with the guys like the best of them and was well respected for my knowledge and God-given eagle eye for cleaning up manuscripts. It fit me. I thrived as an editor. Deadlines were a rush. Life was fun.

I thought I understood what being a mom was about. I thought, "How hard can it be?" Boy, was I wrong! I recall several times within the first year of my son's life asking myself out loud, "Maybe I'm the wrong girl for this?" I definitely felt at many times that my son got the short end of the stick. 

I thought if I loved him, fed him, changed him, that everything else would fall into place. Naivete at its best. I was now raising a child (which I'm highly surprised the Lord felt me fit to do) and suddenly responsible for managing the household as well. What did I get myself into?

I like a good challenge, but this challenge has been like no other. I am so thankful for it though, and wouldn't trade it for anything. I have been forced to take a hard look at myself many times over these last three years and evaluate what I see, like it or not. I have made some improvements and have learned a few of the ropes, but there are mountains and mountains of learning yet to come. Being a mother has been a soul-searching and -stretching like nothing I've ever experienced. Incredibly painful at times, but overly blissful at others.

It's taken me some time, but I've realized that I can be all that I want to be and still be a mother. My son won't be missing out if I take care of myself, if I take a bubble bath once in a while or hit the gym and leave him in day care. If anything, my son will be all the better for it. What's the good of devoting myself to my son if I only become resentful at said devotion because I'm not allowing myself the time to be my own person? 

I need to make changes. Big ones. I need to make them for me, but I also need to make them for my husband and my son. I am my son's example of a woman. I want him to see me and know that women are strong, beautiful, healthy, fulfilled, and self-confident. Right now, I fear he sees in me that women are tired, unhealthy, sad, unhappy, and discontent. 

I am going to make great strides in 2011. I'll be posting my goals, for the purposes of sharing and accountability. I would love it if anyone wants to share with me their thoughts on this subject or personal goals. I believe we can lift one another up in prayer and in life to help each of us reach our potential. 

I'm not the me I want to be just yet, but I'm accepting it and making inroads to get there. 

This is your life. Are you who you want to be?

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