I love “coming of age” movies. I’m not even really sure what that phrase means but I like watching characters find themselves. Think these stories are so popular because we are all still trying to fin ourselves in one way or another. I might be graduating high school or in my early 20’s anymore but I’m still discovering new things about myself every day. You know, I actually think I’ve “come of age” more in my 30’s than my teens or 20s. What I became a mom I really learned a LOT about myself. Maybe “coming of age” just means you are in a place of self discovery. In which case, I’m constantly, “coming of age”.
I feel like I’m entering in a new “coming of age” phase. I’m emerging from a 10 year long stint in the trenches of baby and toddler hood. It’s a deep and lonely trench, at least for me. You never get a moment to yourself yet somehow you feel so alone. My early motherhood stage was mostly about surviving. There were plenty of blissful and happy moments when I was able to soak up and enjoy this phase but there were a lot of tough days too. I have a real compassion for mothers in the early stages, it’s hard work.
Anyway, I feel like I’m entering a new phase of life. This new phase I’m making intentional decisions about my life and my parenting. I’m one of those people that has to do something the hard way just to prove to myself that I can do it. I know I am strong and do hard things but that doesn’t mean I always have to do things the hard way. I’m giving myself grace and space to rediscover who I am. Somewhere in the middle of late night feedings, diaper changes and toddler tantrums I got lost. I lost a part of me that brought me refreshing life. I realized that I had no hobbies, no creative outlet, few social connections and no space to just be me. No one wonder was always so tired. My me-time had consisted of taking trip to the grocery store by myself all while I was anxious about getting home before the baby woke or worried about the next task I needed to do. I would wake up in the morning with a huge list of things to be done and I rushed around trying to get one step ahead of the mass chaos that is a constant is a house with 4 small boys.
So about this new phase, I’m writing in time to be still. I’m scheduling time to be creative, spending money on activities that bring me life (this is huge for me, I hate spending money on non-essentials). I’m reading. I’m listening to audio books. I’m making music. I’m painting. I’m exercising. I’m intentionally perusing things that bring me joy. And you know what has started to happen, the things that were “have tos” have become “get tos”. I don’t dread the mundane tasks as much because I know I have fun waiting for me. (I’ve seen this same mentality work on kids. They work hard if they know there is a reward.) I’m taking time to care for myself and rediscover myself and it’s blessing me and my whole family. I’m a better person, wife, mother, friend… when I get to be fully me.