The Mom thing.

9:21 AM

   I've been thinking a lot lately about life and motherhood.  What it means to be a mother, what it looks like, how it shapes your life and molds your world, and whether all of that is a good thing or not.

   I recently read a great post on this lovely young woman's blog, about living a "wild ocean life".  Now it was a wonderful, inspiring read, but it left me with a lot of questions...just what exactly does a wild ocean life look like, and how does that apply to motherhood?  Those are the deep questions I am facing in my life today.

   For example, she mentions never wanting her life to reach the point where the biggest worries in her life are Sunday potlucks and scrapbook parties.  And 5 years ago, I would have raised my fist and shouted a hearty, "Hear, hear!"  But not so much right now.  And I guess my question today is, "Does that mean my values/dreams/visions/goals have changed in a way that is bad, or that I have changed as a person in a way that is good?"

   Because the bottom line is, when you get married and become a mom, life changes.  Period.  It changes, priorities change, you change, he changes, it just does.  That's the way it is.  NOW, I am NOT saying that is has to be BAD change.  If you're Mennonite, you cringe at the word "change".  Maybe you even hush your voice when you say it, like it's some kind of curse word.  But the truth is, there is good change and bad change. 

   For example, if you get married and have a baby and decide that you can no longer keep up with any of your old friends whatsoever, or go on dates with your husband alone, because you just don't have the time and after all, this child is now the center of your universe.....I would call that bad change.  But if you get married and have a baby and suddenly cooking and cleaning are of interest to you, and you actually care what kind of dish you prepare for the church potluck, and you throw a scrapbook party with other moms so that you all can fellowship and refresh each other's spirits and retain your sanity, I would call that good change

  Another one of my unmarried girlfriends recently voiced her concerns about motherhood, and how it seems to really change a person, their dreams and ambitions, and even the connection and relationship of the couple.  Not to mention the sacrifice of the woman's career before marriage.  I think the whole picture just seems a little daunting to her, and so if there is one thing I could say to her, I will say this....

   "Your life is going to look different as a wife/mother than it did as a single person.  There will be moments when you stop, look all around and think, "How did I get here?  Wasn't it just a few years ago that I was traveling the world?  Meeting new people, doing exciting 'things for God' and living a wild ocean life?"  There will be mornings when you don't want to crawl out of bed and start a new day.  Your body, after birthing a child, will change.  I reached my pre-baby weight, but my body is still different. Your routine will change.  Your priorities will change.  Your interests will change.  In fact, it would take me a lot less time to list what won't change....very little.  But think about it....all those things will change whether or not you ever have children!  Your body might not have to go through labor, but it will go through old age.  You might not have to change diapers and play peek-a-boo, but you will have changing schedules, routines, and will still be busy.  And here's the bottom line.  

God doesn't change.  

   The God that was there for you as a single person, giving you strength to meet deadlines and face loneliness and the unknown future, is there to give you strength to love your husband and your children, and raise them for His glory.  It is the same God Who went on wild adventures with you across the oceans, into foreign countries, and distant lands.  It is the same God Who instilled dreams and desires into the core of your soul, and He is bigger than cooking and cleaning and babies, and so why do we somehow think those things will get in His way?  He would never let those dreams die just because of a change in your life.  Think about it.  What is your life?  It's a vapor.  A mist.  It's here one moment, like your breath in the December chill, and gone the next.  We are just a blink.  A whisper.  And yet we start to think that our lives are this all-important things that we can't bear to change, or "mess up" because after all, they're OURS!!!  But they're not.  They're His.

   And I'll wrap up with this thought.  No one is forcing you to get married.  No one is telling you that you have to bear children.  We choose these things We choose to love someone with our eyes wide open, and we know exactly what we are getting into.  We choose to have a child and while we may not know exactly what we're in for, God does.  And He's holding you in the palm of His hand.  Where would we rather be? 

   So the next time, dear friend, you are tempted to worry about all of this, just remember, if you are there one day, you chose it.  And if you don't choose it, that's fine!  It's OK.  I chose it, and it changed my life forever.  It has been hard, exhausting, frustrating, and completely and wholly draining, but I would do it all over again.  It has brought a spark and a dazzle into my life I didn't know existed.  It has given me vision for the future, and hope for what's to come.  It has blown my mind WIDE OPEN to a new definition of God's love for me, His child.  And we're just getting started!  I absolutely can't wait to travel the world again, but this time, take a little pair of wide-eyes with me, and show them everything there is to see.  I can't wait to pursue my dreams and ambitions, but this time, teach a little soul along the way how to be a feminine woman in a feminist world. I can't wait to be best friends with my little girl, and one day, best friends with a woman who will know me like no one has ever known me. I hope for these things, I pray for these things.

   Yes, it's possible to live a "wild ocean life".  But just what exactly that looks like, may change.  And I just hope that all the young, unmarried women out there with a vision for that kind of a life, don't find themselves cooking dinner and changing diapers one day and just throw their hands up in despair and say, "I didn't get that life after all!"  You did.  It just looks different than you thought it would at one point.  And as your life changes, your vision changes too, and you start to see things more clearly until one day, you realize, you are finding meaning and value in where you are, and what you're doing.  And that's not just something mothers have to deal with, we all deal with that, whether married, single, or somewhere in between.

   So don't be afraid.  Whatever the future holds, God already sees it.  He's already been there.  He knows.  He will be there with you.  EVERYTHING IN THIS LIFE, ON THIS EARTH WILL CHANGE.  But He never will.  

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  1. Beautifully written Shelley. You are such an inspiring outlet for me in my "single" world. For some reason everytime I read your blogs or visit your website to see what amazing pictures you have posted recently, I am overcome with a feeling that is hard to explain. It makes me wish you were closer still so we could have developed a closer friendship. But I am greatful for the little time I was able to be a part of your lives. I wish you the best and am blessed to have met you. I love your blogs Shelley! OH and Yes......Change can be an awesome thing! Keep em coming!

  2. Oh wow, Shelley. . . This is beautiful. Truth, truth, truth.

  3. You know, this makes me want a good talk with you again Shelley! I am on the borders of some of these huge changes you're talking about and I'm so so SO excited about them. No doubt about it, my world is about to be completely remade. I'm scared, but just that shivery fear mixed with excitement. Sometimes I wonder if I'll truly love being a mom... but something tells me I will... and you've given me fresh hope that I for sure will. After all, mothering is a part of our design. You nailed the one thing that just excites me so much about getting married and starting a family--the fun of getting to minister WITH my husband and live an adventure-filled life of ministry THROUGH your family. I can't wait! :) Call me 'love blind' I don't care. :) I am excited to step into this whole new phase and role of being a wife and hopefully someday, a mom! :)

  4. Well said Shelley! Jolene

  5. Shell! I love your blogging. Mostly I love you. Question: what email can I send stuff to you? I HAVE to send you a link that you will probably enjoy. :) (since i'm not on the ever-popular facebook right now, I'm going the old-school route: email.)


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