When my husband was three or four, he climbed up onto the top bunk bed in his room and jumped off—fully expecting to fly (though he admits he kept his legs under him…just in case). Unfortunately, no flight took place that day, poor guy. I bet everyone has a story like that—a yearning to fly, an unpleasant realization that gravity is no respecter of persons, and most likely a conscious or subconscious decision to avoid pain in the future by giving gravity the awe and respect it deserves.
Now that I’m “grown up” (it makes me laugh a little to write that), there’s a whole new kind of “gravity” with which to struggle. This isn’t so much a physical pull as it is emotional, mental, and spiritual. It’s the gravity that counteracts my desire to be more than I am. “More” does not mean cooler, more popular, or richer to me. It means being more purposeful, doing things that are meaningful, using every available unit of brain power I possess, developing talents, making a difference, and feeling at the end of the day that I did the very best with what I had.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think everyone has a desire to defy that kind of gravity. No one wants to get to the end of his or her life and say, “Boy, I really messed that up.” Whether we realize it or not, we have these feelings because we were made to do important things (not necessarily “cover-of-Time-Magazine” important; more like, “the-world-is-a-better-place-because-we-were-there” important).
Mothers experience this gravity of the mind more than any other group of people I know. Children and families, while great sources of love and motivation, require constant attention. Add to that the nature of mothers’ responsibilities, the way we program our minds, and the way our society is set up, and we’ve got mothers attempting to conquer metaphorical Hulk Hogans if they want to achieve their biggest dreams (or even small dreams that are a big deal).
The purpose of this article is to spark some thoughts and dialogue that can help us, as mothers, to defy the gravity that tries to keep us down every day. My hope is that we can see things as they really are and start to reach a little higher. Once we identify the “gravity” around us, its power is minimized. Just thinking about these ideas during the past couple of weeks has had a huge effect on my productivity, my happiness, and my family life.
QUESTION: What type of “gravity” is holding you down every day?
CHALLENGE: How can you reach a little higher?
#1 Deb Lowe Said this on 9-16-2008 At 11:42 pm Oh my, you are such a good writer! I am so motivated to fly right now, thanks to you! Thanks for uplifting me and inspiring me to be a better person. I’ve been feeling very overwhelmed lately with my five kids and all the responsibilities and dreams I need and want to accomplish. I will be more patient and do something that I find hard to do so that I can grow and be that better person. And I know if I can just do a little bit each day, life will get easier. You are amazing, April!
Reply to this Comment #2 saren Said this on 1-7-2009 At 01:29 pm What a great reminder. I can fly! At least in some areas at some times. I’ve always wanted to play the guitar. My 9 year old son has wanted to play for several years now and we gave him a guitar for his recent birthday. So he and I are going to learn to play together this year. It’ll be hard fitting in the online classes we’re doing together and making sure we practice. But music and learning new things are important to me and I haven’t made them a priority for way too long. I know we can make this happen and I know it will make me happy to feel I’m progressing at least a little in something I’ve always wanted to do. My dad used to always say “you can eat and elephant if you do it bite by bite” – weird image, yes, but does help me keep in mind that baby steps towards big goals is the way to go.
Reply to this Comment #3 Allyson Reynolds Said this on 5-6-2009 At 01:15 pm I think this type of essay is exactly what so many moms (like me!) need to hear. I don’t know how you do it, but you have put into words what I have been thinking and feeling for years! (Funny to read this after already talking about flying . . .) Thank you for yet another fabulous motivator to be the woman and mom I know I am meant to be! Reply to this Comment