Chasing Contentment

Saturday, July 14

I love lazy Saturday mornings. I still feel like someone's sitting on my chest (I really need to get an allergy/asthma doc here in town), and I'm worn out, but I at least feel better than I did earlier this week. My boys are going outside to mow before it gets too hot, and Eliza's curled up in our bed watching 'her shows.' So I have a few moments alone (really, this is as close to alone as I get these days).

I spent more than one sleepless night this week, trying to think about things other than my sore throat or my unhappy tummy.

I've thought about how motherhood changes us. Now, I know fatherhood changes men, too. Mike is immeasurably more amazing now than before children. But I think that motherhood changes something fundamental in women. (Motherhood - not pregnancy or childbirth, though those certainly can change us.)

My friend, Mandy, is a good decade younger than me, and Mike and I have always talked about how looking at her was like looking at me in my early 20s. She has always been strong and opinionated and independent and determined and bold. There was no under-served population group or overlooked individual she was not willing to support or befriend. Right and wrong were clear. I was always like that. And these are qualities that I admire in her (and in my icky moments wonder if are lost in me now) and that I hope for in our Eliza.

And then I had kids. And things went crazy. Strong though I have always been, I had trouble adapting to new life situations (hadn't figure that out from reading the blog this last year, had you?). I had trouble blending into marriage without losing me, and I had trouble being a mama and being Chel and being Mike's 'Chief' all at the same time.

I had always been a worrier, but children opened up a whole new realm of possible worries. I did eventually figure it all out enough to know that my roles are always evolving, and I figured out that I had to trust God a whole lot more and try to worry a little less (I'm still not up to a whole lot less). And I got a little less bold and a little more measured. And I picked my battles more carefully. I've finely honed my battle response to something we refer to as the 'Mama Bear.'

Mandy told me this week that she worries more now that she's had Olivia. And I was reminded of how motherhood changes us. I think I'm more gentle now, more willing to see the other sides of various situations. I'm more aware of the dangers out there and of the fact that I can only do what I can do and that I have to leave the rest to God.

When I get that panicky feeling (or when I tell Mike that we need to take a digital photo of the man who lives next door who talks to Eliza about his puppies and is probably a very nice man but whose name I do know not know and of his license plate -you know... so if he were to be some horrible SVU man who would take my kids, I could give the police the photo and the tag number), I take a deep breath and remember that these are God's children first and mine second and that He loves them infinitely more than I ever can.

I haven't quite resolved that belief with the things I read in the paper and that I know happen to people who are also God's beloved children, but that falls into the category of those things that I just have to accept and not try to rationalize or understand. Before motherhood, I was less willing to accept that some things just are. And now, those things break my heart a little bit more than before.

[  posted by Chel on Saturday, July 14, 2007  ]


Well said. This post articulates the struggle in every Christian mom's mind and heart. It is hard (and at the same time wonderful) to realize that, worry though we will, we don't really control anything.

By Blogger Corinne, at 4:59 PM  

Oh! The things I've worried about or that have crossed my mind since I became a mom!

Silly things once I calm down;)

By Blogger A Dusty Frame, at 6:00 PM  

Part of how amazing God is, is to realize that He does love our children more than we ever can fathom. Is that just unreal?! It amazes me. I can't even imagine what more will amaze me once I actually meet Him and see what Heaven really is like! :)

Great post, Chel.

By Blogger it's me, Val, at 11:04 AM  

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