Unbelievable doesn’t quite cover it. Just. how. quickly. this. past. year. flew. by. We moved. Found out we were expecting sweet baby number four. Our oldest started kindergarten. Our precious “expectation” finally joined us after the New Year. Two of our growing girls finished their school years. And suddenly, May arrived. The kitchen calendar began overflowing, and we found ourselves scrambling from event-to-event. Chaotic, but such a needed reminder of just what “blessed” truly means.

One of my favorite things about getting out to these celebrations? Catching up with other people. A little refreshment for the soul. Rekindling “sleeping” friendships. And, of course, meeting new and beautiful friends.

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Days of making sure we were constantly prepared. Dresses ironed and hung, in-waiting. Family invited. Gifts and cards wrapped and ready. Always one step ahead. Yet, what I didn’t realize was just how completely unprepared I would be. For one conversational question I was to receive over-and-over…and o.v.e.r. again. A question I had been asked hundreds of times previously. But, suddenly, a question for which I was scrambling to find a different and “suitable” response. Your average “ice-breaker” with an entirely new meaning…

“So, what do you do {again}?”

For twelve years, it had always been, “I am an elementary teacher”. Easy. It opened further doors to extensive chats and plenty of entertaining stories.

Now? Without thinking twice…”I used to be an elementary teacher. Now, I just stay home with our girls.”

Oh, sweet friends. Sometimes, I just want to shake myself. “I. just. stay. home.”

There was no confidence. No satisfaction in answering. Just a muttered, plowed-through kind of response.

And for whatever reason, after repeating this response several times at our daughters’ preschool and kindergarten graduation parties, I was left with a bitter taste in my mouth. And a nagging feeling I just couldn’t shake.

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What exactly was so uninspiring about where I am in my life right now?

First-and-foremost, above anything else in my life, is being a mother. But that wasn’t at all incorporated into my response. The most important part of my existence, and I skipped right over it. Almost in a shameful fashion. And I couldn’t figure out why. Maybe it just didn’t seem like “enough”. I wasn’t out-of-the-house providing for my family, as I had for over a dozen years. Instead, I am “simply” raising tiny beings…

Changing diapers. Wiping little bottoms. Filling sippy-cups. Reading bedtime stories. Resolving arguments. Sweeping up toys over and over…and over again. Finding suitable snacks. On what seems to be an hourly basis. Tying shoes. Supervising homework time. Wiping away tears. Cleaning up crumbs. Washing dishes. Waking up at 1:00 AM. 3:00 AM. 5:00 AM. Providing food. Ensuring enough bubbles for the evening bath. Hosting spontaneous dance parties. Enforcing time-outs. Sharing my meal. Instilling strong character. Explaining why “life isn’t fair.”

But, in the eyes of others’, and true to my people-pleasing nature, it still ensues doubt. So, in the company of so many other countless, incredible mamas out there, I sweep “who I am” under the rug. Because what I really want to share is beyond an earful.

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You see, beautiful souls, I am not just simply a “mother”. “Who I am” is so. very. much. more. than that…

I am nurse, tending to boo-boos, upset stomachs, bumps, bruises and just-right Band-aid applications.

I am a law-enforcement officer, emphasizing strong citizenship. Teaching about rules, fairness, consequences and respecting authority.

I am a teacher, every. single. moment. of the day. Instructing little babes’ adventures in shoe-tying, bike-riding, cookie-baking, letter-learning and every tiny moment in-between.

I am an executive chef, baking up chicken nuggets, cutting carrots and mixing up apple juice with the best of them.

I keep secrets. Find the “perfect” outfit. Change sheets at midnight. Clean up accidents through the hallway and down the stairs. I am a judge. A potty-trainer. A spider-stomper. I am a negotiator. A negotiator. An art-teacher. A therapist. I am a dentist. A home to my favorite five-month-old hip accessory. All hours of the day-and-night. I am a hair-stylist. The loudest cheerleader. Stuffed animal locator. Impromptu dance teacher. I am a lifeguard. Expert birthday-party-planner.

I can go hours without a bathroom break. Only to share my “private” moment with an entire audience of toddlers. I eat dinner at 10:00 PM. I indulge in hours of Disney-Channel-watching, just to appease a tiny tot not feeling well. I sacrifice wardrobe. Hairstyles. My bed. And sleep. I wear spit-up, dirt and tears. On a daily basis.

I sacrifice.

I give.

I love.

And I would not change it for the world. This is my current season. This is who I am. This is what I love more than anything in the world. And I am learning each-and-every day to fully embrace it all.

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Yet, when asked, it still doesn’t seem like enough. Crazy, huh, sweet souls? And deep-down, I know, this is something I have to work on. Building that confidence, through this shift in responsibility and current season of life. Along with all the incredible, selfless and beautiful mamas out there, knowing that anything-and-everything you are doing is more than enough. And “who” you are as a mother is never something to underplay. Instead, something to share with pride. To embrace. To shout from the mountaintops.

Because you are, indeed, holding responsibility for arguably the most rewarding, and challenging, job in existence. And that’s nothing to take lightly.

 

2 Comments

2 Comments on Who I Am

  1. Abby Butts
    August 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm (10 months ago)

    You are more than enough. To your girls and husband, you are everything.

    Reply
  2. Kelly Carpenter
    August 10, 2016 at 7:23 pm (10 months ago)

    I don’t want to sound political, but sometimes today’s feminism minimizes (and shames) the importance and dying art of at-home career mommies. You have goals and development plans. Your key objective is to raise four responsible humans who will, in turn, contribute to society in the long term. You do all this without asking for kudos or feedback, or getting little ones to everywhere at every time – on time, sweat running down your face, always worrying about if you are doing it well and if you are making a difference. Your role is private to the world.
    On the other hand, I have to go to work because I obsess over numbers and process optimization. I love the people company I work with. My goals are more widely visible. I wish I had the courage and stamina to do the former; but I’m not cut out for that.
    To each her own. Do not let that nasty dude Shame invalidate your worth. In fact, your *career* is more important to our world in the long term than any of my financial models could ever be.

    Reply

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