I had my first baby two weeks after I finished college. And in the months that followed, the questions just came rolling in from my fellow graduates, child-free friends, older career moms, and former professors: “Do you feel like you’re being challenged in your daily life?” “Are you getting to do the things you’re passionate about?” “Are you using your college degree?”
I didn’t mind the questions. I had a thick enough skin over my stay-at-home, 22-year-old-mom-body to take the questions. I expected them. But the offense was when I asked them of myself. Because sometimes the answer felt like a defeated “No.”
I wake up when he wakes up, some time before 8am. We eat. We read. We pray. We pretend. We climb. We explore. I get a precious two hour nap window. That’s when I can clean without a mess-maker two steps behind me, un-cleaning. It’s when I can prep for dinner with both hands, not required to hold a curious toddler who needs to see what’s in the pot and then demands that I stir it before his eyes. It’s when I can do anything at the computer. Or, it’s when I can catch up on the sleep I missed when he needed me in the night. He wakes. We eat. We play. We dance. We sing. We build. We eat again. And it always seems like those hours between his bedtime and mine would leave me free to be constructive and do as I please. But there are always dinner dishes, conversations and cuddles with a husband I’ve missed all day and, of course, rest.
So, it’s hard to find time in a day to have a challenge or a passion or a side job.
And then I get to questioning, is it wrong that I don’t desire some inspiring side hobby or job or extra purpose? Am I lazy? Is it not enough to simply be a mother and wife? That’s when the world has won the moment-by-moment battle for my mind. Because, to the world, raising a child is a terribly ordinary, comfortable, unremarkable thing to do with your life. Anyone can do it. Millions already have.
But we live in a world that doesn’t value life the way we should. My son’s life has eternal value. There are hundreds (maybe thousands!) of people whom he will influence in one way or another throughout his life. Perhaps he’ll have a family that he will someday love and lead. And he has an eternity beyond all of this life on earth. Every hour I invest in his life and his siblings’ lives to come, it will have eternal return. He won’t be a baby forever. He won’t be a child forever. He won’t be under the same roof as me forever. The time I do get with him is so precious, so worth losing myself in, so worth sacrificing for. I only devalue his life when I question the value of mine. And I think I’m secure enough in my vocation to say that I’m wildly passionate about striving to be a selfless, loving, attentive mother and wife. No paychecks. No awards. No popularity. And although any side jobs or hobbies–including this blog–will be a welcomed addition to my life as they come and go, they will never give my life more value than it already has.
May I not lose sight of the value of one little life: his life nor mine.