My husband once told me "you're the type of woman who can't be satisfied." He wasn't talking about in the bedroom. He meant, I'm never happy with my current situation. That's not a compliment, I've learned. I've told close friends that I wish I could just be happy with a simple life. I know that's a bit like the grass-is-greener mentality. But, I've wondered, why couldn't I just be happy staying home and being a mom?
"You don't have time to be a mom," my defiant 11-year-old snapped at me the other night. Ouch. I took her head firmly in my hands and told her that I work for our family, doing the best I can in the time I have and I don't like to be guilt tripped about my choices. Later, re-telling the story to a friend, I realized my daughter was partially right.
Here I am blogging about what my possible next steps are in my life when my time is stretched between running a magazine, managing a home, mothering four girls and pushing myself to peak physical performance. I've always been an over-achiever — taking on more things than I could possibly get done (never mind doing them well!). Maybe it's time to look at my choices more closely before I add one more thing.
The friend I related my woes of motherhood to is a good fifteen years my senior. She's had two boys who are now grown and out of her hair and she has been through two divorces — the ink on the second one is just drying — and she's been a working mother through it all. She always gives me the most thoughtful, sound advice and I love her dearly. She told me that she used to want to save the world/make a profound difference in her work, too. Now, she's just grateful she has a good job. She told me that maybe my desire to do something big needs to be shelved for now...because maybe my "something big" is being a mother to four girls. Right now.
When I had my first child, I resented that all my dreams and aspirations would have to wait. In some ways they have. I haven't finished college, I haven't written a book, I haven't made a million dollars, I haven't won any major awards, I haven't traveled the world, I haven't bought my dream house on the shores of a quiet lake...but, what I now have is four little women (just call me Mrs. March) with potential to each make a difference in the world. Does that mean I have to put my dreams on hold until they are grown? I'm not sure. But, it may mean that I need to stop trying so hard to always be doing more. Maybe I need to simply work on being satisfied with what I've been given.