Tuesday, January 2, 2018

You are enough.

I am enough.

This was one of my mantras for the fall, and it is something I keep coming back to as the new year progresses. This school year, my job description is: create a beautiful childhood for my children. This is not the year where I am trying to do it all. 

In 2017, I decided to put my career on pause. Part of me feels guilty, because I feel like I should be doing more for the world than being home with my two kids. However, I am trying to see this year as a Sabbath of sorts where I am allowing myself time to just focus on my family. I spent over ten years pouring myself into other people’s children as a teacher. Surely, it’s appropriate to spend a season of life pouring myself into my own children.

I am coming to realize that we live in a culture that values busyness. It is hard for me to unlearn that and not see my self worth tied to how busy I am or feel more worthy if I am spreading myself too thin doing all the things. It has already been life giving to see what this year has held for us as we  have slowed down, freed up our schedules, and focused more on each other. I have a feeling that life will continue to teach me valuable lessons throughout this season.

The truth is I love spending my days with my kids, and I do think that the work I am doing with my kids is valuable. I suppose the work I am doing for my kids is also for myself. I am learning about and discovering a different part of myself that I didn’t know existed: mothering. I am surprised by this side of myself, because I am not the typical “I’ve always wanted kids,” “I’ve always wanted to be a stay at home mom,” “all of my dreams are fulfilled by being a mom,” type of person. 

I do miss teaching a lot, mostly for the community it provided. I worked with so many inspirational teachers and students, was constantly intellectually and socially stimulated, and was consistently working on projects tied to social justice issues I am passionate about. Now, part of my job includes wiping butts all day long. Yet, I actually love being off of work to spend more time with my kids. 

Have I sacrificed part of who I am for my kids? Of course, but I've also gained a new part of who I am. How could one not experience a transformation of self with becoming a mother?

I am grateful for the chance to explore who I am in a new way. I am grateful that the person I was at 29, before having kids, is not the person I will be forever. I am grateful for different seasons that bring different priorities. I am grateful for the lessons my kids teach me that I couldn’t learn from any other experience besides being their mother. 

I was late to the whole Brene Brown train, but last year, I read Daring Greatly, and the concept that stuck with me the most was the idea that I am enough, that we are enough. I remember reading about how people start their morning by thinking about what the day holds and already focusing on all of the ways they will fall short. Then, they end the day by thinking about all that they didn't accomplish, instead of all that they did. I am used to feeling like no matter what or how much I do, it is never enough, which then leads me to feel like I am not enough. Reading Brene Brown helped me to realize that other people actually think this way, too, and to shift my thinking.

She writes, "Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It's going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn't change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging."

This year, my main focus is on being a mother, and that is enough. I am enough. 

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