I Never Said I Wanted To Be A Mom

[long post][spirituality][about] What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a question we’re asked over and over as we approach adulthood. If you’re anything like me, your answer was different every time someone asked you that question. I wanted to be a teacher, a musician, a surgeon, an Air Force officer, a grocery store clerk … There were many careers I fantasized about, but I never, not once, ever said I wanted to be a mom.

As high school came to a close, I still had no clear vision on what I wanted to do with my life. I was an excellent student and I wanted to go to college but I had no idea what for. With the help of my dad’s counsel, I ended up joining the United States Army. This would be a great opportunity to earn some money and put some direction in my life.

So, there I was about two years into my service agreement, when I was suddenly compelled to have a baby with the man whom I had been dating for about a month. It turns out I found someone just as crazy as I am because he agreed on one condition - “we should probably be married if we’re gonna have a kid together”. I immediately agreed. You can call us young and stupid - many of our friends and coworkers did. That didn’t stop us from getting married three months later though. I was pregnant within that year.

I got out of the Army at seven months pregnant. Soon after I started asking myself that childhood question of what do I want to be - rejecting the idea that A MOM was a perfectly legitimate answer to that question. I knew for sure that I wanted to be a stay at home mom but not “just a mom”. I used the educational benefits I earned from serving in the army (still not knowing what for). I babysat friends’ kids. I taught Zumba group fitness classes. I made and sold things. It’s not that we needed the money; it’s that I needed something to do other than just be a mom.

In the fall of 2013, my baby started school. We had recently moved near a university and I wanted to go to school too. Up until then, I had been doing all of my classes online but now I would be able to really go to college like a real student like I imagined. I completed an AA in general studies (while pregnant with my second daughter in 2011). But for my bachelors, I had to decide on a major. I picked psychology because it was fun to read and talk about. I put my toddler in daycare and went to school and I loved it.

I was so good at college! It was so fun. I wanted to keep doing it! I applied to a scholarship so I could get my Masters in psychology too! I thought I was a shoe-in. When I got the rejection letter, I was devastated. The worst part was the board’s reasons for not choosing me. They said they loved me but I just didn’t have the research experience that the other candidates had. I did all the research I could. I did two semesters of independent study contributing hours and hours of labor for my professor’s research. But it wasn’t enough and there was nothing I could do to change that. I felt like I wasn’t good enough at the thing I’m best at. It was a hard blow and I was depressed for months after.

I ended up graduating magna cum laude. It was supposed to be summa cum laude but I delivered my third daughter during my last semester of school, skipped a bunch of classes, and got a B instead of an A in one of my courses. I didn’t want school to be over but it was over. I was back to my pattern of finding anything I could do instead of just being a mom. I tutored and I started a new Etsy shop among other things. I know hobbies are good, but not when you’re doing it to run away from the insecurity that you’re not even half as good at being a mom as you were at being a student.

Last year, I offered new answers up to the question. What do you want to be? A blogger? An emotional coach? A YouTuber? A social network marketer? Anything other than just a mom. PLEASE anything other than JUST A MOM.

I honestly wanted to be a good wife and mom but I never fully dedicated myself to it. I wanted to reap the benefits of being a good wife and a good mom without doing the hard work. I wanted people to think and say I was a good mom and a lot of people did. And maybe I was a good mom, but I knew my heart wasn’t fully in it and that caused a lot of pain and confusion. What a lot of people didn’t see was that I was selfish and arrogant and naive. Everything I did was to pacify myself. Everything I did was to make myself feel good. I loved myself more than I loved anyone else but I also hated myself more than I hated anyone else. The worst part was that I wasn’t even self-aware enough to know it until recently.

Current life circumstances have us in a tiny home, with only one car, with three kids, and we homeschool. I am either cooking or cleaning or otherwise caring for my family literally all day long. I am made painfully aware that anything I do other than take care of myself, my family, or my home takes precious time and energy away from caring for myself, my family and my home. My home is messier than it’s ever been. I’m more tired than I’ve ever been. I can’t keep up with the extracurriculars anymore. I can’t run away from being just a mom anymore.

It is at the point where I feel the most hopeless and broken and lost that I am finally ready to listen. It’s time to learn selflessness, humility, and wisdom. I’ve spent enough months complaining. By the grace of God, I can see the that this is loving discipline. Everything has been stripped away so I can finally focus on what’s most important. It feels like I am just now learning how to care for my children and my husband and myself. But it goes deeper than that though: I am seeing my kids, my husband, myself, and God in a way I never have before.

I am ready to love. I am ready to serve. I am ready to learn. I’m ready to start over.

I was angry at God for not giving me any gifts except those that cause me to excel at school. But those aren’t the only kinds of gifts he gives. He gave me the gift of life. He gave me the gift of an amazing husband. And He gave me the gifts of my three beautiful daughters.

I never said I wanted to be a mom but after almost a decade of being a mom, I’m ready to accept what God’s given me. I’m ready to step into the life He’s laid out for me. I can’t even pretend to know what all He has in store for me and my family. But I can say I can finally rest in knowing I am exactly where I need to be and doing exactly what I need to be doing in this season of life. I’ve never been a better wife and mother than I am now because I finally trust that God knows better than I do.

Thank you, God, for showing me I could never ever be “just a mom”. I am your humble servant and I am happy to serve you in the way that you best see fit in this season of life and forevermore. Bless my husband and children. Amen.

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