I have a handful of stay-at-home-mom friends struggling with feelings of loneliness, of discouragement over the never-ending nature of household tasks and like they’re losing themselves in motherhood.
I can’t speak to everything everyone in my life deals with it, I can only speak from my limited experience. And what my limited experience has taught and still teaches me is 1, how holy and grand the work of motherhood is, and 2, how deeply valuable it is to have personally satisfying outlets.
In the early weeks of my SAHM life with Anna, I remember God’s presence becoming more real to me than ever. Not because I felt it all the time, but because I prioritized it and believed in it. It became a hour-by-hour gift to me: this reality that I am never alone, that I’m never not seen, that I’m never not delighted in, that I’m never not supported.
This perspective can help make any moment meaningful. God and I are partners in the work He’s given me to do — stewarding my home, discipling my kids, loving my spouse and all others we invite to our couch and table. Every day isn’t easy. Every day isn’t full of joy from top to bottom. Every day I’m stretched in some way beyond my capacity. But this posture of living inspires and energizes my soul for the work before me.
Sara Hagerty is a favorite author of mine, and she writes, “There are times when God tucks us away. He might hide us in a difficult job or an unwelcomed circumstance where we feel like no one gets us, where we feel misunderstood. He might hide us in a crowd where we feel lost—unseen—or behind the front door of our homes, changing diapers and burping babies. He does this all so that we might see another side of Him, this God who looks deeply and knowingly into us when no one else is looking or noticing, and come alive under that eye.”
This is stay-at-home-mom life to me. Hiddenness with an opportunity others might not have. May we take advantage of it. May we fully grasp the gravity of our faithfulness with the time we have. May we build habits of reaching out for Him in times of weakness and adoring Him in times of gratitude. May we wring out this season of all its moments to cultivate a genuine friendship with the Holy Spirit. It’s my prayer for all my mom friends.
After listening to one friend talk about how she didn’t expect to feel the discontentment of SAHM life these days, I suggested she spend time brainstorming what would give her mind and heart a regular boost. What brings her extra joy? What is she good at? Are there interests that took a backseat when her first child was born she now could make more time for? Where could she fit in time that fuels her love for life and not just the life of her kiddos? It doesn’t have to be big or seen by many or even pay anything if it helps you flourish as a woman.
Writing is that outlet for me.
I’ve said it before, and I still mean it, and not in a false-pride-fishing-for-compliments kind of way. Even if I knew that NO ONE ever read my posts or visited this blog, I would still happily and shamelessly maintain it. I know that’s probably odd, but it’s true for me.
Shauna Niequist said this about writing: “Writing helps me, heals me, provides a place for all my thoughts and feelings and words, a place for all the wild birds in my head and my heart to fly around outside of me instead of inside of me, because that’s a hard way to live—with wild birds circling around your insides. But like yoga and prayer, I’ve mostly experienced the healing part in the long term, in a sort of boring but worthwhile way. I write and write, and over time, I start to make sense of things. I start to see connections I didn’t see before. I learn about myself and about the world.”
In the face of another load of laundry and another snacktime and another teaching moment, hitting ‘publish’ on a post with tidbits of daily life and fun photos, a longer essay about something the Lord is teaching me or a list of favorite things gives me a small sense of accomplishment and a large sense of happy satisfaction. Writing publicly is a practice that challenges me creatively and scratches a God-given itch of wanting to connect with others over things like faith and books and family and struggles.
So, my friend, I put it to you, what is your outlet that helps you flourish as a mom, as a person? Are you making space for it when possible? It may make little sense to someone else, but it could make a world of difference to you.
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