I could feel myself getting angry and resentful. Over just about anything.
I was tired and not the kind of tired you are from a lack of sleep.
I was unmotivated and frankly, depressed.
As I loaded the kids into the car on a random Wednesday so I could go get coffee before picking my oldest up from school, I realized I wasn’t snippy because of how my day was playing out.
I was snippy because my cup could no longer pour.
This summer and school year start brought a lot of change to our household.
My 5yo started kindergarten which is big in and of itself, but add a new school, a new teacher, new friends and a new uniform to the equation and we were asking for disaster.
My husband got a promotion which meant slightly different hours at work.
He started grad school.
We moved churches.
We helped start a youth program.
Did I mention that all of this was within two months?
Grace. Grace was how we tried to live each day. I gave my children insurmountable amounts of grace as we all got used to the new routines.
But most days, I forgot to give it to myself.
Being a stay at home parent - at least in our family - hardly ever means you’re actually staying home. Between school drop offs and pickups, grocery runs, last minute shopping, occupational therapies, speech therapies and everything else, my days were more likely spent in the car than anywhere else.
Then I would come home to find laundry that never got put away, dishes still in the sink, toys scattered everywhere, and countless other things that needed my attention.
Taking time for myself, however that looked, always got pushed further down my to do list. And eventually, it began to wear me down.
I tried every morning to wake up before my kids, and most days I succeeded. But even then, I would nod off while reading my scripture, or wake up in just enough time to take a shower and recite some affirmations.
Sure I should still give myself credit, and I did, but at what point were those things actually doing their job or fulfilling me in some way?
And that’s just it. I wasn’t being fulfilled. I do things I enjoyed here and there - I have a side hustle that I thoroughly enjoy, time with friends, I even bake desserts every now and then. But most of the time, I feel like pursuing those things just cause chaos.
Baking leaves my kitchen messier than when I started. I don’t have time for my side hustle. And moving across town made meeting with friends difficult.
It was time to put myself back on the list. I needed to feel something other than exhaustion. I needed to put my energy into something other than my children and my household. I needed something to give me life.
I sat in the Starbucks parking lot and thanked God my kids were napping. I opened my phone and clicked on the internet icon. And then just stared at it.
I could search for volunteer opportunities near me. Or how to find joy again. Or local things I could get involved with.
But at the end of the day, none of those things would scream “Melanie, this is what you’re supposed to be doing with your time.” Nothing will. Until it does. And until I find it.
As Christian women, we are told so often that motherhood - our vocation - is what we were made for. It’s what makes us women. It’s our calling and also the most important job there ever is.
And while all of that is true, sometimes that gives us the notion that motherhood and being a wife has to be the *only* thing giving us life. And it doesn’t.
Your family can be your vocation and you can still have things for you outside of your home.
You can be an amazing mother and wife but still need a break.
You can have a fulfilling vocation but still need something else.
God made us to be mothers and wives. However. He also puts desires on our hearts. And they aren’t bad. He put them there. He knows them. Having dreams and desires outside of your vocation doesn’t make you a bad Christian. Or a bad mom. Or a bad wife.
It makes you human. And God made you that way too. So I’m sure He’s okay with it.
It’s okay to be more than a mom. And a wife. But it’s just as okay to be “only” those things.
We all have our own unique potential to fulfill. Pray to God for Him to show you what that is for you. Don’t beat yourself up for wanting more. God knew exactly what He was doing when He made you and when He gave you the life you have. Go live it.