I Am Her Mother

BreatheI am sitting here in a chair with my computer in my lap. There's at least one clean bottle. My hair is clean. I did eat something for breakfast (though at 11 am). Baby girl smiled for the first time last night.

I'm calling this a winning Friday.

Yet, the kitchen counter isn't clean (the clutter is driving me crazy!). Nor is all of the laundry folded (my favorite household chore). And I think there is a giant milk stain on the carpet upstairs and I need to scrub out (it's starting to smell). This is not to mention that there's more than a dozen thank you notes that are long over due to be written all sprawled out on the kitchen table (I seem to write one every other day). There's a gift we got a double of that I need to return to the store before I can't anymore. And I think I need to pay the electric bill . . .

But, right here right now I am letting that expectation of "to do" go. I want to write something about life as it all feels so very different now in the past two months. How I don't sleep anymore but amazingly I am ok. How much I love holding baby girl in the rocking chair. And how much I am thankful for times when she falls asleep near me.

This moment of reflection I'm having right now may not last for more than 5 minutes. I may not type more than just this one sentence before having to hit save and come back to it another time (in an hour, tomorrow or next week?)

The baby will probably soon cry announcing that's it's time to eat again.

Or, the phone will ring about something I forgot to do.

Or, I'll remember that if I don't make it to the dry cleaners in an hour then . . .

Yet, in all of these new pushes and pulls, this is what I most know. I have to make time for soul. For my soul. My soul can't be all consumed in caring for another human being.

I really love my daughter. This is not a conversation about love.

But it is a conversation about temptation of loosing ourselves in another person and calling it love. It isn't.

And us women can easily go into overdrive when it comes to our children, can't we? I've seen it happen to so many of my friends . . . It really easy to allow the work right in front of us crying the loudest (and in my case literally true) to be what is ALWAYS most important. But it's not. 

To be a good caregiver, at least as I am learning, I can't lose the parts of me that make me, me. I have to ask for help. 

So I must have time to really catch up with friends. To visit friends. To write. To preach. To go on dates with my husband. And to dream about my next project.

The way I do these things, of course I know won't be the same volume or pace as they were before baby girl came into our lives, but I can't let joy of vocation, of friendship  or the future be wrapped up in one other person. It's just not good for her. And it's not good for me either.

And I believe no matter what stage of life you find yourself in-- young children at home or not-- there's a lesson in this for all of us. How are we doing to take care of our souls? How are we going to put what we love at the top of the priority list? How are we saying no to good things so that even greater joys can find us?

Sure, now I'm "her" mother. But I'm also a lot of other things. Pastor. Advocate. Wife and Friend. Thank goodness for the community of support around us right now that gives me time and space to lean into so many of life's gifts. I'm hoping today that you find space for this too.

This daily grind is about wholeness after all, isn't it?