Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Navigating the Seasons of Motherhood


It's taken me almost four years to allow myself to begin following my passions outside of being Mommy. In the first few months of marriage I published a children's book; it was an exciting project and my husband was my biggest fan! Fast-forward nearly five years, and mothering two small children is beyond a fulltime job -- there are no nights or weekends off, no breaks, and no vacations (at least not yet). Being a nursing mother adds another plot twist that makes it quite difficult to just drop the kids off at Camp Grandma & Grandpa for a weekend of "freedom."

Before Keane was born, I ventured back into the blogging waters. It's been a great way to let my creative juices flow and fulfill my passion for writing. A year after he arrived, I decided to get serious about figuring out my DSLR...I didn't want childhood moments left to chance on auto settings or my never-enough-storage-available iPhone. Now that I've gotten a handle on shooting manual and am developing my eye for photography, others have asked me to capture their special moments and beautiful families. It's truly an honor that gives me a sense of joy and allows me to stretch my creative legs.

This new endeavor has been teaching me that it's not always as easy to navigate the waters of motherhood and doing things for myself. There is balance for all things, but it's not always easily found. Voices tear at me from all directions:

You'd be happier if you had a career.
Don't define yourself by motherhood.
Just take a vacation without the kids.
Letting them cry it out won't kill them.

While everyone is well-intentioned, my aim cannot be to hit someone else's mark of motherhood. Advice that works for some women is not a fix-all bandage for all womankind. It's easy to get caught up in other people's ideals, but I've learned that my finger must be on my own pulse...not those of friends, family members, or social media personas. The one piece of advice that seems to surface from seasoned mothers is this: This is only a season, enjoy it while you can.

I find that particular wisdom to be of utmost help. My children won't be so incredibly needy forever. One day (hopefully), they will both sleep through the night without assistance. There will come a day that they won't crawl up in my lap, and will be out of the house more than I'd like. Until that time comes, God has placed it on my heart to savor this season. I can take care of my children while honing my photography skills; I can document their childhood with talent, but I don't need to feel forced into a business that would just add unnecessary stress. As time allows, I can document other families' memories on a more regular basis...but my priority remains at home. Of course it's nice to get away for the occasional session, but I'm nowhere near ready to give up our family's evenings and weekends.

This season will be over in a blink of an eye. I will pine for it in my old age. My goals for this season are simple: Glorify God. Nurture my family. Live a quiet life. Savor each day.


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