It was our first book club and as our discussion went on, I felt worse and worse. The book was an epic tale of a boy going on a quest: living his purpose, fulfilling his mission and making a difference in the world. The women in the club were talking animatedly, inspired by this book to live their purpose.
But I had no idea what my purpose was.
I came home discouraged and asked my husband for his thoughts. “What do you think my purpose is?”
Trying to be encouraging, he said, “Well, it’s to be a mom.”
I know why he said it: because motherhood was all I did, and really, all I had ever wanted to do. Besides, with four kids under six, my life WAS my kids. I loved them so much, and I thought that to be a good mom, I had to put them first on my list…and put myself last. From the moment one of them woke up in the morning, until I finally got them tucked in at night, I saw to their needs.
But no one was seeing to mine.
I was tired, worn out, and more than a little grumpy. Things were not going the way I planned.
Could this really be my purpose?
Things had gone according to plan BUT I didn’t feel like I thought I would. I was rushing around, feeling busy but not actually productive. My life felt chaotic and I was always dealing with the “urgent” and the next emergency. Sometimes the sense of overwhelm even blocked out the joy.
“But, isn’t this what I wanted?” I wondered. “Isn’t being a mom what it’s all about?”
It took a trip to the doctor to learn what I was missing. After testing my cortisol, he told me my stress hormone was through the roof. “You have to find ways to lower your stress,” he said, “Do something that you enjoy.”
So, slowly at first, I started to make time for me. I got up a little earlier to do yoga. I asked my husband to put the kids to bed so I could take a hot bath. I let Curious George take over for half an hour so I could read a book.
I started to feel energized and excited about life again. I began to recognize my own worth and the unique talents I was bringing to motherhood. I discovered more about my purpose.
l learned that there is purpose in motherhood. But our purpose has to extend beyond our roles and responsibilities. Our purpose is not our job title—whether that’s mom or CEO.
Our purpose is what we bring to the world.
I learned that motherhood helps us find our purpose and that we have to live our purpose and bring our unique gifts and talents to motherhood.
I needed to learn what brought me joy. I needed to learn what helped fill my cup and reduce stress. For me, that meant taking time every day to move, to write, and to work on my goals. I needed to make sure I took care of myself so that I could take care of my kids.
Imagine living your life with greater purpose. Imagine not just being busy, but moving forward clearly toward things you are excited about. Imagine living a life of meaning and fulfillment. That life can be yours.
QUESTION: What is your mission, your purpose, the thing only you can bring to the world?
CHALLENGE: Once you identify your purpose (or if you already know what it is), try to find ways to incorporate it into your mothering or in the time that you have just for yourself.
Edited by Sharon Brown and Nollie Haws.
Image provided by the author.