Mom & I Take Vulnerability
In the words of Poppy the troll, "I just want to take a little moment and get a little real."
Growing up I participated in the snowboarding club, I was the FFA president (kind of embarrassed to admit that), I played softball/volleyball/basketball (it was a small school so nobody cared that I was terrible), I held positions in the student council, I participated (kind of) in the school play, and I took the advanced classes. I graduated with above a 4.0 and headed straight to college on a scholarship. I worked through college as a firefighter in the summer, served in church callings, completed a study abroad, completed an internship at Disney World, and graduated with a major & minor. I was always the girl who participated in everything while still being able to keep it all together. Grades, social life, exercise (I found my love for running), church, extracurricular activities, etc. I even had spare time to play Dew Pong (something you do when Beer Pong looks fun but you don't drink alcohol so you make up your own version using Mountain Dew). Getting jobs was always easy for me. Most people said yes to most things I applied to do or attempted to participate in.
Fast foward 10 years.
I am a mom and wife, I serve in church callings, and I work out twice or so each week. That's it.
Last week I found myself racking with sobs while my husband held me, completely confused as to why we went from a nice evening to me being completely devastated within 10 seconds or so. When I finally calmed down enough to speak all I could say was, "I am a failure."
I muttered through sobbing chaos the words that race through my head all too often.
"I am nobody, I do nothing."
I couldn't calm down enough to explain to him that I see "girl bosses" everywhere I look. Amazing women who are KILLING IT while I can't even make time to work out in a day because I am too busy just keeping up with laundry and following around a baby. There are single mothers who are getting it all done, while also working several jobs (my mother did this for me when I was young) and yet I can't even get it all done without a job. There are women starting successful businesses making jewelry, selling clothing, designing diaper bags. Bloggers. Photographers. Videographers. Teachers. Nurses. Florists. I have friends who graduated from Harvard, who will shortly be doctors, who have five kids and are opening online boutiques selling handmade items. Everywhere I turn I see these amazing women who are doing amazing things while still being mothers.
I used to do so many things. I had very specific hobbies. I went places. I did things. I learned. I grew. I was good at things. I had stories to tell. Now, my hobbies are based off whatever I can do to keep my child entertained. I only go places I can bring him. All of my stories are about fictional characters I watch in kid's movies.
I have attempted to start about 15 different careers. I've worked as a finance advisor, schedule coordinator, event planner, permit specialist, enrollment advisor, door to door saleswoman, photography assistant and inspection tech. I have researched and attempted to start different businesses including (but not limited to ;) photographer, clothing boutique, cookie & soda food truck, even amazon and eBay sales. None of them have turned in to anything more than pipe dreams.
I don't mean to come across as spoiled or ungrateful. I am very fortunate for a hardworking husband who makes it possible for me to stay home and raise my son. There truly is no greater blessing or greater calling than being my son's mother. I am not wishing my wonderful life away. I am not looking for a pity party. I am not upset that my life has changed because all of my time is spent with my baby boy. I simply have lost my identity. I love being Maddux's mom and Seth's wife, but I do not want to only be Maddux's mom and Seth's wife. I want to be me. I want to be the girl who is involved in all the things. I want to have all the hobbies and make all the money while still being a mom and wife. So many other people are doing it, why can't I figure out my niche in this world?
I ponder that question every single day. What am I meant to do in this life? Who am I supposed to be? Where do I fit in? How do I contribute to society? I do not sit around and feel sorry for myself. I do not constantly tell myself I am a failure. I truly do have a beautiful life and I enjoy it very much. However, I am actively looking for ways to help me feel like I am living up to my potential.
Most people who write posts where they are being embarrassingly vulnerable (such as this) follow up with a solution. They tell you the thing they struggled with while instantly telling you how they pulled themselves up by their bootstraps (what even is that saying?) and overcame their challenges. This is not that post. Where is the authenticity in being vulnerable if you only share it when you are no longer feeling the vulnerability? I am still here in this place. I am sharing it with you in real time in hopes that I can use this as a step in the direction of figuring it out. It's real, it's still raw.
I have, thankfully, found two things that help. First is the timeless quote, "comparison is the thief of joy." Truly. I am blessed to know incredible women, but trying to compare my successes to theirs only makes me unnecessarily miserable.
Second is remember the values that have been instilled in me since I was 12 years old:
Faith: I believe in myself, my abilities, and the Lord's timing.
Divine Nature: I am a mother, which is a higher calling than I am worthy of. I have a sacred duty to cherish it.
Individual Worth: I have gifts and talents, the same as everyone else. They are mine and mine alone.
Knowledge: I can continue to learn and grow the same as I did while I was in school through studies, reading, podcasts and trial and error.
Choice and Accountability: Many of my "career attempts" were abandoned on my own accord, and I need to own the fact that I chose to walk away from many of them.
Good Works: The best way to not feel unhappy with myself is to serve others.
Integrity: I will work hard at my highest and most important calling (being a mother), knowing that serving my son will make me a better person than any other successes will offer me.
Virtue: Being faithful to my family and remembering our eternal purpose is truly what this life is about.
I am thankful to be a mother. I am thankful to be a wife. I am not a failure, and I do not do nothing. I simply need to remember that my contributions may be different than all of the "girl bosses" I am blessed to know, and that is ok. I will find my thing in this life, even if it isn't right now.