A new mom recently shared about not feeling productive anymore.
Oh boy, do we do this! Well, maybe not all of us, but most of us have these feelings at some point during our baby’s first few months or even years. I sure did.
Of course, I could tell you that you ARE being productive. You are doing the most important thing imaginable for your family! You are healing from bringing a new person into the fold, AND you are making sure that new person is alive and fed and healthy. If we can boil it down to that, it seems pretty obvious that you are doing a very big thing. But we don’t always feel like that is true. Why?
I definitely had these feelings sometimes and spent a lot of time questioning why. I decided that I was being productive. I was doing important things.
Then, I thought a lot about where the doubts were coming from. I theorized that I’d been hearing the low hum from outside sources my whole life. Media, friends, family, and just the general undercurrent in our culture tells women that they are supposed to be able to do it all. We can get pregnant, have babies, raise children, maintain our homestead, work a job outside the home, be great partners, excellent pet owners, gourmet chefs, a super fit person with fabulous hair, AND keep up perfectly with all of our other relationships. And the kicker is that we’re supposed to be able to do all of these things at the same time!
Another scary thing is that we can look around us and actually see other women doing it all. We see the creative and fun craft projects they do with their kids, amazing gourmet lunch box meals, and decorated homes on Instagram and Facebook. We see the perfectly made-up moms dropping off their kids at school or daycare. We hear our friends talking about their big job promotions and romantic getaways with their husbands. So we ask ourselves, “Other people are doing it, so why can’t I get it together?”
The big secret is that they DO NOT all have it together. There is a crack somewhere. There is a lack somewhere. We see and expand in others the things we feel we are lacking. That does not mean that what we are seeing is reality or the whole picture. WE may even present a picture of perfection to someone else! It’s true!
I’ll admit to having had some serious life struggles when my kids were younger. There were so many big things going on behind the scenes. I felt like I was barely hanging on sometimes, but of course, I just kept going. I took my kids to school. I continued to do my job. I made the meals and just kept going. One day I finally broke down and shared my hardships with a friend, another mom. She looked at me with an open mouth and said she couldn’t believe it. She thought I was the one who had it all together! She then opened up to me and shared her big things. I couldn’t believe it either! I had always thought that SHE was the one who had it all figured out.
Of course, we became even better friends after that, and I got to understand the power of showing my cracks. In addition to that, I got a real understanding of this quotation:
“Things are seldom what they seem.” – W.S. Gilbert
Remember that things will change. Your baby will grow into a toddler, and then a child, and then a very big child. There will come a time when other things can fit into your life again. It’s okay to wait and allow them in when it feels right or becomes absolutely necessary. We often find that some things can exit our lives forever, and that feels great!
I hope you can tuck all of this away for when you most need it, and really figure out how to believe and embody this deep truth, “You are doing enough. You are good enough. You don’t have to do more or be more.” Our babies love us just as we are, so why can’t we?