Practising Contentment Within Parenthood

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I don’t know if it’s because I’ve exercised this morning and had a large coffee, but I’m feeling all energised and ready for life today. Not that I don’t feel ready for life normally, but I have more energy than usual for some reason.

I am a searcher by nature. Constantly searching for: things to read, things to learn, things to eat, things to think, things to do. Always searching for “the next thing”. Over the school holidays we’ve been talking here about the things we want to do over the next few years (and there are many). But countering that are thoughts about slowing down, about resting where we are, about being mindful of where we’re at: living in a small home on one and a bit incomes raising three little children. Don’t we have enough to do, just thinking about that and acting it out each day?

People all around me are busy and stressed. My step sister cut open her hand last night on a cat food tin and is now in surgery having it fixed, after a long week of study and work and raising three children.  My husband is at work trying to get things done before he goes back to his job as a teacher next week, after working at his second job as a fitness instructor. My Mum is trying to make changes to her diet while working flat out and constantly feeling overwhelmed by social and professional pressures. One of my sisters has a young baby and is juggling that with study and extra work from home.

I’m no better: overwhelmed with motherhood and community development contract work and writing, raising children and constantly thinking I should be doing more, learning more, being more.

What are we all doing?

The urge to do is not going to disappear by itself. But each day we need to make conscious choices towards being, and staying, mindful. It is not easy. Pressures are all around us, on social media, in our circles, but also made up as well – those niggling thoughts and expectations that we make up ourselves and which may or may not be true. I have many of them. No one has actually told me that I should be doing this or that, but I boss myself around and compare myself to others and am always telling myself that other people are doing better than I am. Whatever “better” means I don’t even know!

KB and I are going on a date this afternoon, our first since Pea was born. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to sitting down face to face, with no one crying or hungry or grabbing at our ankles and really talking, even if just for an hour! We are feeling so much pressure to buy a bigger “proper” house, to be more educated, to get better jobs, to strive to be something and look like we have it all together. We know that our expectations of ourselves are often misaligned with what is actually going to make us happy, and not only that, but what is actually already happening.

Are we happy now? Yes! I think if we tear away all the ridiculous expectations and wants and the bullying inside our heads, what we are left with is something truly beautiful.

We are full and whole now, leading blessed lives. We have enough money to buy good food, to buy or make our children clothes when they need, to run two cars and a small household. We might not be planning holidays or buying new things for our house, we might not be able to get or do all the things we would like to, but we are healthy, we get out in nature as much as possible and we spend our days together.

I am happy. I am lucky. I am grateful.

What more could I ask for?

2 Comments

  1. Grandma B July 7, 2016

    I just wonder if those outside your box, those who are working ridiculous hours and earning big money have the time to do the lovely family activities and have the time to spend precious moments with their children as you do Lucy. Once time has passed it can never be reclaimed. I’m sure the children ofpeople in the fast lane will look back in years to come and wish their parents had been able to spend more Mum and Dad time with them. Enjoy your KB date

    Reply
  2. Fay Richards July 9, 2016

    Excellent writing Lucy. Says it all. The importance of priorities. I hear people saying how both parents HAVE to work and then see what they spend on outings, holidays, presents etc. Don’t really need that second wage I feel.

    Reply

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