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Michelle Warner

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Living a “Small” Life as a Mom

Posted on October 29th, 2014

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As I mentioned in a recent post, I had the awesome privilege of attending the MOPS conference this year. One of the biggest things I took away from it is that sometimes motherhood can keep me living very “small.” I oftentimes do not feel I have the time and energy to open my eyes to the “bigger” things going on around me because my world is filled with changing diapers, negotiating toddler battles, and listening to songs about animals on the farm. ¬†And then I crash on the couch in the evening with a brain full of mush because I gave every ounce of energy I had throughout the day (and then this brings up a whole other topic of being intentional in my marriage and friendship, and one Jared and I keep talking about as we are in the throes of parenthood…).

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[The cute friends I spend the most time with these days.]

For the last 23 months, I have been reflecting on and wrestling with my role as a mom and as a woman. Part of me is accepting the fact that what “big” used to look like in my life will now look different as a mom with a new job responsibility. In a lot of ways, I have had to surrender how I may want to spend my time (writing, teaching, meeting women for coffee, reading, reflecting) and embrace that my new normal looks much different and in so many ways, much fuller and richer. And it doesn’t mean I can’t do those aforementioned activities, but they just require more creativity and flexibility–and if I’m honest, oftentimes it doesn’t happen because I don’t have the energy to figure out how to make it happen.

Anyway, I don’t have any well-developed thoughts to share today, just a few that are percolating in my mind and in my prayers. I mostly wanted to share this blog I read recently that I really resonated with: “When You Worry Your Life is Too “Small” to Qualify for “Big” Ministry” by Lisa Jo Baker. I highly recommend it!

I read a book of hers recently entitled Surprised By Motherhood which I appreciated. Here is an excerpt I underlined and have been thinking about since:

“Some days I still miss the Lisa-Jo I used to be. But those days are rarer than they were when Jackson was just a few months old. Like a pair of saggy old jeans on a Sunday afternoon, the word mother fits me more comfortably now. But there were days under the lilac jacaranda when I shook my head and couldn’t understand how I’d lost myself in the wash and spin and rinse and repeat of new rhythms I couldn’t find my groove in…This was a new rhythm, and my body was awkwardly fumbling toward the beat.

So I rocked and walked and soothed and wrangled my own confusion. And still I stood with one foot in the life I thought I loved as I waited for the baby I’d wanted to start to love me. Nonsense. I lived a lot of nonsense before life started to make sense again. But that’s because the breaking up can be a slow process. Becoming a parent is a lot like breaking up with yourself. And it takes time till you can keep time to a cataclysmic new beat. It takes courage to say no to yourself and yes to someone else. Over and over again–days, weeks, weekends, years, and trips to Chuck E. Cheese’s on end. The way a gut-punch takes your breath away with the sheer shock of the change.

So I spun and spun in dizzying circles, until sometime just before Jackson turned one, there in the distance I spotted the small unremarkable speck of who I used to be. And I waved. And the dance swept me on” (90).

And then a few chapters later, she writes, “No, God doesn’t ask us to trade who we are for the label of ‘Mom.’ Rather, He builds all the courage and calling of a lifetime into a story line big enough and rich enough to encompass kids, passion, work, creativity, and dreams that don’t end in the labor and delivery ward” (154).

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I am still processing how all this plays out in my life, and in full disclosure, right now this means finishing this blog post that I started during nap time as Olivia watches a Mickey episode. And I better sign off because it is approaching dinner time and I need all the creativity I have left to muster up something to make for dinner!

 

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