I remember, after I had three children, I needed to do some soul-searching and life-changing.
Out of necessity, I had grown a hobby into a business. I was still at home all week, but I would fit “work” into times when my husband was home on a week night or a weekend.
It was a lucrative business, and it helped so much during the years when we needed it to. (I know you will ask. I worked for decorators, doing faux painting and murals for clients.) I worked hard at both jobs, being at home and painting, taking care of my kids and my clients. I often did samples at nap time, returned phone calls when kids were busy, and met with decorators in the hour or two I would employ a sitter.
It seemed like the dream job because it allowed me to do both things– stay at home and make great money. But the truth was, when my third child came along, I was running myself ragged, stretching myself thin, trying to do too much. My heart was in one place, my mind in another. It was nice not to be “poor”, to have extra money for “things”, but after awhile I began to realize that I was sacrificing my state of mind and more than ever, my family. My little ones needed me to have their full attention.
I think when we mothers try to do too much, something or someone pays the price. Sometimes it’s the kids, sometimes it’s the marriage, sometimes it’s us. In this case, it was me.
I remember older ladies stopping me in the grocery store, admiring my children and saying, “Those were the best days of my life.” or “What I would do to have those days back.” or “It goes so fast. It’s gone in a blink of an eye.”
At the time I felt this general malaise in my heart.
I did some soul searching, talked (and probably cried) with my husband and made the decision that if I would regret anything in life, it would NOT be spending these precious days of raising my children without a feeling of peace.
When I am that old lady in the supermarket, I want to know that I spent quiet days, loving and having fun, learning and NOT missing the small moments. I did not ever, ever want to have regrets. I don’t think I could live with myself.
I quit. It just worked out that my last job was a huge one and enabled me to “retire” with confidence. I was proud of the business I grew, but it had served its purpose and I let it go without a look back. Things were tight again, but I was okay with it. Because the peace in my heart was worth more than anything.
I have found one of the best ways to examine the life you are living is by asking yourself, “Will I regret this?” I picture myself in a rocking chair on a front porch, watching my grandchildren, or great grandchildren play on the lawn.
Will I look back with peace in my heart? Will I say,”I wish I would have slowed down and savored every moment?” It’s not really a fun thing to do, but it always enables you to spit out the right answer. It always tells me to stay focused, run against the grain of the times, and enjoy the small moments. It reminds me to say “no” to the excesses of life, and “yes” to the things that really count. It reminds me to stay strong and centered about what I want to believe: that even when everything we read and hear and see is sending us the opposite message, simply raising your children, being a mother and a wife, is enough.
QUESTION: Do you feeling like there’s something you are currently doing or not doing that you might one day regret?
CHALLENGE: Find a way NOT to regret it.
Photo by Danilo Razutti at FreeDigitalPhotos.
Originally posted on July 6, 2011.