Before children, I had a promising career in education. I was a talented and enthusiastic teacher.  I had worked my way up to teaching many in-service programs, teaching courses at a university and working at the district office. I knew I would put it all on hold when I had children. I wanted to be a stay-at-home mother, and once I was one, I felt lucky. I just wasn’t prepared for how hard it would be. It was  not only the physical and emotional drain, but I missed being a part of the outside world. I missed feeling useful and intelligent. The other day I was talking to a friend of mine who is doing wonderful things in the education field and that familiar, wistful longing for that life returned. I was feeling sorry for myself and thinking about all of this as I was digging a hole in my yard to repair a broken sprinkler pipe, while my children were busily playing around me.

I had one of those “aha” moments and I looked at this new skill I had of sprinkler repair-women. My professional resume may be put on hold right now, buy my mom resume is amazingly full! In my longing to be smart and useful I began to realize how many talents I have acquired as I mother that I otherwise would not have ever taken the time to develop.

I have learned the elements of landscape design, and how to garden. I can perform pest control and lawn fertilization services. I can adjust, repair and add sprinklers with the big boys. I know how to mud and sand a wall, and use a miter saw and an air nailer for the baseboards. I can unclog a toilet and repair a leaky sink. I’ve learned how to decorate and choose paint colors–and get it right, so I don’t have to repaint.

I have learned to be a bargain shopper and the secrets of using coupons. I have learned to be patient and that everything goes on sale if I watch it carefully. I have learned how to prepare for an emergency and create a 72 hour kit. I have learned to be organized enough to prepare dinner for my family each night. I can scrapbook and sew quilts. I can care for a friend’s children and whip up a meal for a neighbor. I’ve learned to make Thanksgiving dinner and have it all done around the same time.

I have learned the ins and outs of childhood disease, immunizations and when to worry about a fever. I have read nearly every book on baby sleep theories and could write my own. I have learned to find patience from a place I didn’t even know existed. I have learned that my children don’t care if I’m smart, only that I get them their breakfast and know the words to their favorite nursery rhymes. I have learned to not be angry when my one-year-old wakes up in the night, and to cherish that he will lay still with me only in the wee hours of the morning, and never sit still during the day. I have learned that my daughter’s behavior improves when I spend quality time with her and play. I have learned to be silly again and to make my family laugh. I have remembered how to play make believe.

When I think of all the talents I have, there is no reason to miss my former life because this life is very full. (I don’t do all these things peacefully and often drive myself crazy; maybe I’ll learn that lesson later.) For now I am just grateful to know that I am still learning, growing and developing as a person. I am not stagnant, like pond water, doing the same things over and over. I am still moving forward, discovering new things. I have developed new skills and talents I never would have dreamed of possessing while in my career. I realize that I can learn anything if I want to.

QUESTION: What talents has motherhood helped you develop?

CHALLENGE: Stop and take some time to remember your talents, skills and knowledge.  We all have so many things to offer this world.  Be grateful for your crazy and unique talents!


photo by nuttakit @

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