I stood at the window, and put my head out, gasping for air, wishing I was anywhere but here—home with two children under the age of two. I was lonely. I was tired. Tired of the monotony of “the routine”. Frustrated with the lack of adult interaction and mind-stimulating conversation.
Hot tears streaming down my face, I willed myself to breathe, my hands turning white as I gripped the windowsill. Madison, my eight-month-old baby, jabbered beside me, her sweet face looking up at me.
Me. Her mom. Her only mom.
Reagan, my two year old, toddled in, looking suddenly fearful at me in my worked up, almost frantic state of despair. Her eyes filled with questions, worries, fears. Was Mommy okay?
I was lonely. I was tired. Tired of the monotony of “the routine”.
Instinctively, I reached out to draw her close, burying my teary face in her blond curls, choking back the sobs. How did I get here? THIS is not what I imagined, not what I wanted. In fairness…I’ve always wanted to be a mother—always wanted to be (theoretically) at the center of that glossy magazine photo of the mom dressed all in white, her perfect, shiny locks falling gracefully along the cheek of her too-clean, chubby-faced baby (also dressed in spotless white), both lounging on the white sofa in the perfectly clean house, both giggling with contented delight.
I could see that image lingering in my mind’s eye—that image of what I wanted motherhood to be. (I knew the clean part was just marketing. But the rest of it?)
Peace. Smiles. Joy. Giggles. Love. Fun.
It’s what we all wanted.
I could see that image lingering in my mind’s eye—that image of what I wanted motherhood to be.
Confession: I’m a classic Type A personality.
A businesswomen, a degree from a great university, a seasoned professional. I’m used to setting goals and setting out on a plan to achieve those goals, and later experiencing the sweetness of accomplishing them. I’ve traveled in more than 30 countries. I’ve successfully started and run organizations and loved doing it.
How could I not want the most for motherhood? I’d spent my whole life practicing how to do things well.
It wasn’t a question of the work versus stay-at-home “mommy wars” for me. I’m an entrepreneur. I do my work wherever and whenever it suits me. I love that freedom.
Although I always wanted to work, I also wanted to be my children’s primary care-giver. My husband and I were also sure we wanted a good number of children—a big happy family with whom to enjoy our adventurous lives.
Enter… the tension.
It wasn’t a question of the work versus stay-at-home “mommy wars” for me. I’m an entrepreneur. I do my work wherever and whenever it suits me. I love that freedom. I’ve believed in finding where your passion and your skills meet the world’s need and making a life and career out of that. I believe I was meant to work, and that work is joy. And I believe all of that can be interwoven into a beautiful tapestry of life.
No, the tension for me was intentional living—knowing where I was going and why—and enjoying the journey to that destination.
One of my favorite writers, Ann Voskamp, wrote a simple but poignant line that kept popping up in my head, like the steady beat of a djembe drum, “I just want to live my one life well.”
I snuggled my sweet girl, still feeling like I was standing at the edge of a deep pit of despair, and fighting to not fall in.
Having a family is a big choice, I thought.
I just want to live my one life well.
My mind flew through the numbers. If we were to have four or five children, each child being approximately two years apart meant probably a DECADE of baby-making, baby-carrying, and baby-tending, not to mention the following five years of stimulation until each were school-ready!
I could see an endless lineup of the activities I felt like I was expected to be doing at home with small kids. Play-dough. Shape sorters. Legos. Baby dolls. Crafts.
Crafts. Ugh, I hate crafts. No, this isn’t going to be my life.
With my free hand, I picked up my baby, squeezing her tight too.
I knew… there had to be more—more than feeling trapped at home like this and wanting to live an exciting life with these precious little ones. Alone. Bored. Sad.
Adventure! Why were we here in the house instead of out in our gorgeous city having fun and enjoying life together?
My Reagan whispered, “Mommy, come!” and tugged at my hand.
Then suddenly, almost magically, something changed in me. A rainbow of dreams for my children’s lives suddenly flashed through my head, the fog clearing.
I loved the fullness of life. I loved the city I lived in. I loved people.
Why were we here in the house instead of out in our gorgeous city having fun and enjoying life together? Who said I had to stay HOME with my little ones? I smiled.
I drank it in like a cold drink on a hot day. This was it!