I know you feel overwhelmed by all the cooking, cleaning, working, and driving you do every day. You’re afraid to admit that this isn’t how you pictured motherhood. It wasn’t supposed to feel like a job. Me too. I keep thinking there has to be more to motherhood. Don’t take that more as another thing to do. The more I’m talking about is actually enjoying motherhood. Even though some days it may feel like it, they don’t hand out one-way tickets to boredom when you check-out of the hospital with your first kid.
I’m certainly not the Fun Director, that title is reserved for another friend but there is a big part of me that misses having fun. I’ve become so obsessed with everything I need to get done that I lost the ability to relax and enjoy what’s right in front of me.
I can feel you rolling your eyes right now. This all sounds too good to be true and there’s a million reasons why it won’t work in your life right now. I understand exactly how you feel because I’m doing it too—2 jobs, going to grad school, shuttling kids everywhere. None of these things are bad but sometimes it’s just too much. It’s not good for us.
What does fun look like for me?
Fun doesn’t sound like me anymore. There are little glimpses of life that I enjoy—racing trucks, sitting on the beach, reading, hearing my kids laugh—but those things seem so far away from what I do every day. I want to have fun with my kids and not cringe when I hear them say my name.
You know what I’d really like to do? I’d love to be able to go through my day and not feel like everything I’m supposed to be doing is crushing me. I just want to laugh and smile during the day without worrying about the next chore or deadline. I want to hang out with my kids and watch tv or help them without feeling rushed.
What is it going to take for motherhood to be fun?
At some point I allowed work to become my thing. It took over my life, including my family. I’ve convinced myself that being the person who gets things done is who I am and it’s what people expect of me. Don’t dismiss this if you’re a stay-at-home mom because your house, your kids, church events, all of that can become your identity and land you in the exact same place. Guess what? This isn’t going to fix itself.
This isn’t healthy for me anymore. It never was. I got a lot of things done but I also lost myself along the way. I don’t want to miss out on my kids anymore. Our family needs to come first. Please don’t follow the path as far as I did because turning around is hard.
Fixing this means that people are going to be disappointed because there are going to be more no’s. The house might not be perfectly clean and it might take me longer to get things done but I’m going to pull in those who are closest to me and pour into them. My husband, my family, my dearest friends—they’re the ones who need me most. The world will keep spinning without me intervening. If we’re too busy to have fun with our people then we’ve missed the first step to living our dreams.
Why does it even matter?
My girls are watching. I want them to be strong and independent, ambitious and dedicated, but I also want them to enjoy life. There is a season to everything and sometimes life really is hard but if I can’t show them how much I love them and how much I enjoy them, what is it really worth? As they race towards adulthood, I want to be the type of mama they want to be, someone who loves her people deeply and shows them how to work hard and dream big without giving up on her family.
I want this for me and for you, for our children and our husbands. I’ve never shared one of my prayers with you before but I think we both need this one.
Please dear Jesus, lead me. Show me where you want me to be. Show me how to change, what to let go of, who to hold tight to. Help me release this life that I created apart from you. Open my eyes and heart to where you want me to be. Help me be grateful for what I have and to stop longing for the next thing. Show me how to be the mama I want my daughters to see. Teach me how to enjoy my life, just as you have given it to me. Take away the guilt that I place on myself. Free me to have fun.
This article originally appeared here.