In search of peace…

Mothering (www.mothering.com), a website whose purpose is to be “the home for natural family living” recently posted an article on finding peace, on being able to feel satisfied with where you are in your journey as a woman, and what happens when one of your goals, having children, doesn’t happen like you want it to. When infertility strikes,

And then when the babies just wouldn’t come no matter how much we desperately wanted them, I believed that this goal, the achievement of motherhood, would finally bring me that elusive moment of peace.

The post goes on to talk about living in the moment, accepting that “perfect” will never come, there will always be chores, laundry, money issues, marriage issues, and sticky fingers leaving messes everywhere.  And this is where I, and maybe you too, are like ‘great another article dumping mommy-guilt.‘ Another article saying in essence, ‘don’t blink’, and, ‘you better enjoy and engage in every second of your young child’s life or you are a terrible mom.’ Basically a giant ‘suck-it’ to all Moms who work, who enjoy spending time with friends away from their child (gasp!), who pursue interests other than complete devotion to their child.

But this is where I tell you that this article, this opinion piece, is not like that. Yes, you could take it that way. But the author inserts a very interesting twist: How does infertility affect us as Moms? How does infertility affect the never-ending Mommy-guilt that is dumped on us by society? How does that change our personal goals? And what happens when after waiting for that goal, that dream child, for so long, and life still isn’t perfect?

Are you determined that once having this child that you are going to parent the heck out of that kid? Because, after all, this was the one goal you couldn’t just earn by hard work and perseverance. This goal you had no control over, but now you can control how you parent. Or does finally having your long-awaited child free you from the burdens you put on yourself? For the author,

…I think it’s in this newish role of mother that I am most clearly defeated by this attitude towards peace.  I have three little girls, five and under, and I stay home with them all day, every day.  Nothing is ever perfect.

This. Right now as I’m writing I am also thinking of the list of things I should be doing. They are: finishing laundry, cleaning up the kitchen, making a large batch of pancakes to freeze for breakfasts, sorting mail, and packing for a 4 day trip we are leaving for TOMORROW. And that is just what comes quickly to mind when I stop to think about it.

I totally, no, TOTALLY, had this dream version of what my life would be like once we got our dream of a child. I would stay at home (I work 8-12 hours a week), I would always be caught up on laundry (piles of it people, piles of it right now in my basement), I would bake and cook and constantly be doing enriching activities with my child (ok I do bake quite often, but that also creates a mess).

And I would be happy. And you know what? I am happy, except when I let myself feel badly about all the things I haven’t accomplished.  But in my grand scheme of how I see myself, I don’t care. I don’t care that my house isn’t perfect. I don’t care. For me infertility was a crucible that burned away a lot of what I thought I “needed” to have or do once I had a child.

And the author is right, they are only little once. We all have our little projects that we want to get done, there will always be more projects, more cleaning, more cooking, more everything to do. But right now, Stella is 11 months old and everyday she changes. One day she was pulling up and the next day she was cruising. Just yesterday she signed “horse” for the first time when she saw a picture of one. And while they will only be little once, they will also only be kindergarteners once, middle schoolers once, teenagers once, etc.

And so I don’t beat myself up that I left dishes in the sink. Because leaving them there let me spend 20 minutes helping Stella diaper her stuffed sheep, because that’s what she’s all about this week. Diaper on, smile and clap hands, diaper off, say “butt,” diaper back on, repeat…Next week playing with a diaper may be forgotten for another activity.

I know I can’t be there for every moment, and I shouldn’t be. I miss things when I am working, but that means my husband gets to be there. I don’t think the author was saying ‘shame on you if you work, or if you miss a special moment.’ I think she was reflecting on her own infertility journey and how that caused a paradigm shift of what was really important to her. About letting go of the guilt of not meeting your exacting self-imposed goals and enjoying the moment of motherhood.

Sometimes motherhood is great and special and full of unicorns and rainbows. And sometimes you’re sneaking a peek at Facebook on your phone while your kid plays with some toys. But, for me, I am trying to be more in the moment of things. Of just letting it be and enjoying. I’d be interested in learning your opinions on A Mama’s Peace.

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PAIL headshotChandra is a Mom and Foster Mom. She holds a Master’s degree in Theology and is particularly interested in the theology of infertility. Chandra grew up in the Northeast but she and her husband are raising their daughter in the middle-of-nowhere Indiana. She has 3 chickens that drive her crazy, a huge garden, and a penchant for bacon. She occasionally attempts to make sense of all those things, and more, over at her blog, MetholicBlog. She also shares embarrassing stories about her husband and unicorns.

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Comments

  1. Reblogged this on Metholic's Blog and commented:

    An Op-Ed piece I wrote for PAIL Bloggers.

  2. Loved the article. Those special moments make it all worthwhile.

  3. Interesting piece. Infertility definitely made me approach parenting differently. Although I brought some ideals closely held from my childhood, I definitely felt a greater responsibility to enjoy moments more, special moments. I think that responsibility has made me enjoy motherhood more, ironically. I know this is my one and only chance and by gosh I am going to enjoy it.

Trackbacks

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