Motherhood and Purpose

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I have a 2 1/2 year old and a 6 year old. This means that I don’t get a lot of time to myself, even in the bathroom. I’m always wiping up after someone, or fetching something for someone, or stopping someone from doing something incredibly dangerous. And that’s exactly what I signed up for. I planned my pregnancies, and I very much wanted my children. I knew that having them would change my life in all kinds of ways, even if I didn’t exactly understand how. Maybe I thought I understood, but until you’re in these shoes, the full weight of the situation eludes you.

One of the changes that motherhood has brought me is a new sense of purpose. If I accomplish nothing else today, I’ve contributed to the lives of two little people. I’ve helped them to grow into the adults they will one day become. And that is so, so huge. I know that I am doing the most important work that I will probably ever do each and every day of my life. In fact, I’m doing it whether I even really want to or not.

And yet, even as I see the meaning that my children bring to my life, I’m uneasy with it. I don’t really like to feel as if my children are what bring purpose to my life. It’s true that having them brought things to my life that I didn’t even know that I was missing, and without them my life would be much different. But I like to feel that my life’s meaning is at least somewhat independent of my children.

Sliding kids
My babies

Here’s the thing – my children will grow up. In fact, they already are growing up. At 6 years old my daughter Hannah still needs her parents, but she needs us a whole lot less than she used to. She can dress herself and bathe herself and use the bathroom by herself. She’s learning to read by herself, and tie her own shoes, and even prepare some simple food. This is just as it should be, and I take a certain amount of pride in the knowledge that I helped her get here.

Knowing that my children will grow up leaves me wondering what happens next. Time flies in parenting, and before I know it I won’t be in the trenches anymore. And I don’t want all meaning in my life to be tied up in my children when that time comes. When it’s time to move on to a new season of my life I want to be prepared to embrace it with open arms and confidence that I completed the last task to the best of my ability and I’m now ready to move on.

This is the crux of Crafting my Life for me. I want something in my life that is just for me. It doesn’t have to be big, and it doesn’t have to pay me a bunch of money. In fact, it doesn’t even have to pay me anything. It just has to be wholly mine. Something that speaks to my heart, and the person that I am underneath the trappings of my life. If you strip away the marriage and the children and the house in the suburbs, you find me. A person with dreams that have nothing at all to do with making yet another PB&J with the crusts cut off.

I may not have time right now to pursue all my passions, but I have plenty of time to dream. And so that’s what I’m doing. I’m dreaming, and exploring, and experimenting. It happens 15 minutes at a time. And slowly, it’s amounting to something. A purpose for my life that is all about me. It embraces motherhood, and accounts for motherhood, but it isn’t defined by motherhood. And it fits me perfectly.

I wonder what you think. Do you find purpose in motherhood? Does that sustain you, or do you need something more? And what do you think you’d like to do when your children grow up? Please share!

A New Direction

As of January 1, 2013, Crafting my Life is closed. The blog will remain open, and I invite you to take the time to read through the archives and use them as a resource. If you find them helpful, or if you'd like to keep in touch with me, please take the time to visit me on my personal blog at Strocel.com. While I'm no longer creating online tools, I am still chronicling my personal journey as a life-crafter. I'd love it if you'd come along for the ride.

Comments

  1. Twitter: pomomama
    No, I don’t find purpose in motherhood – it’s a biological necessity for continuation of the species. It’s enjoyable at times, it’s darn uncomfortable at times, it makes me scream, shout, wail, gnash my teeth, and howl with laughter at times but no, I find no purpose in it.
    I don’t regret embarking on this journey, I love my son, I’m fascinated by how he’s growing up – I’m equally as fascinated with how I’m growing up too but, after the early years, I’m not letting it become all-consuming.
    It’s just part of my life. My only purpose is to stay alive long enough and stay healthy to raise him till he can be independent. And that includes working out how to be me as productive, capable, content and satisfied mother.

    Does any of that make any sense at all?

    disclaimer: i may find motherhood to be the best thing since sliced bread this time tomorrow.
    pomomama’s latest post..self portrait thursday- who am iMy Profile