When it comes to parenting, we sort of know what we are signing up to do. We were told there would be piles of diapers, no sleep, and lots of love. Being a mom in my thirties, I have the luxury of no more diapers, plenty of sleep, and oodles of love. It is a great time to be alive, that is for sure, but with my role shifting and the smoke clearing, I can’t help but feel a little restless. As moms we can be trapped in just one category, and no matter how good and fulfilling that place is, we are more than just that. I think most of us need to feed a certain fire to remind ourselves we are absolutely women as well as mothers, and the best way to do that is surround ourselves with people that inspire us.
Before kids, life was a bit freer, but I was definitely under construction. The twenties were a great time of throwing caution to the wind, but I welcomed the change of children. My kids made me realize what life could be like when your heart walks around in different little bodies. My sons and daughter introduced me to things that last. Things that matter. And since my children have come along, I’ve become a more appreciative woman. Thanks to them, no horses go unnoticed in a pasture, no plane in the sky goes unsupervised, and every train is inspected during our drive down the interstate. On the rare occasions my kids aren’t with me, and I see these otherwise normal things, it’s no fun. It’s way more exciting to observe life with kids, and I think we can learn something from them about how to live. I heard a comedian say, “We get to be our children’s tour guides through life.” And it is a blast. Everything they observe and question sparkles with a newness that wasn’t there before they existed, but now that they are getting older, I feel a need to acknowledge a sparkly new existence for myself as well. But being my own tour guide can be daunting. Kids are notoriously restless, and I think that’s because there is so much to see and do that is new to them. They want to see and do it all right now. They have a contagious fire inside. As a thirty something, I think I can relate to this and learn a little about how to live.
I started to feel this stage of restlessness coming about a year ago, and it actually stressed me out. For so long, my role had been a main course of being a maternal guardian with a side of social life. The term “finding yourself” has always seemed a little selfish to me, so I’m trying to avoid it, but that’s essentially what I felt I needed to do a year ago. I came across a quote that resonated with me, and gave me a freedom to not just settle for one “self”. The Guardian states, “We are messy, multifaceted selves who go through life bumping up against other messy, multifaceted selves. Who we are at any given moment develops through our constantly shifting interactions with other people.” Being in a constant state of change is more comforting to me than standing still in complacency. It’s fun to find others in this age that add to the fire of inspiration
This time in life gives a certain perspective that I couldn’t have when I was younger. Redefinition can absolutely be a positive revolution if acknowledged. I know I will always be a mom, but a new era is opening up now. The feeling of that type of fire is exciting and I need to fill my time with people that add to its intensity. I see a community that I can give back to now; I can pause a bit and appreciate my blessings; and I have begun writing down these moments in life that I would assuredly forget if I didn’t. Family Footnote provides a voice and a connection with others working their way through life the best they can. After all, storytelling has connected humans since the beginning.
I’m not alone in this. I also see my friends acknowledging this time of redefinition as well, and it’s fascinating to hear of them preaching in their churches; volunteering at local shelters; being political activists; helping students after school; raising their kids to be strong like they are; giving their time as coaches; keeping their businesses running and successful; getting PHDs; traveling the world; and being amazing humans with which I get to share this space and time.
This post is a bit different from our usual, but I think it’s important. If you feel that restlessness of self, acknowledge it. Let it help you build a fire of your own, and see what mark you can leave on this world. With the craziness that surrounds us lately, we need some sparks to change this place for our kids and show them it can be wonderful. We can at least give them a head start in that direction. Who or what inspires you? Comment on our blog or Facebook page.