“Is it harder to hold on than it is to let go?”
I asked myself.
I set my alarm early to wake up before my kids and go for a run. I woke up early. I got my workout clothes on. I was heading out the door when plans unraveled. The baby woke up crying and needed to be nursed. I picked up my baby from his crib and nursed him, the minutes passing by. By the time I was finished nursing him, it was 8 am, and my husband had to leave for work. There was a pit in my stomach as I saw my husband leave, knowing he wouldn’t be back until late that evening. I had missed my chance. I didn’t get my run in that day. My four-year-old daughter woke up, hungry and ready for breakfast. It was time to start the day.
In my living room, surrounded by clothes that needed to be folded and toys that needed to be picked up, I started to cry. It felt like the mess around me was swallowing me whole. “Is it harder to hold on than it is to let go?” I ask myself.
There’s this idea that in motherhood, you get your life back when your kids go to school. I don’t know what I think about that, but I do know that I miss the old parts of me, the 18-year-old Laura who would wake up at 7 am on a Saturday to run miles and miles simply because she enjoyed it.
Motherhood is amazing. I love my children fiercely. But I feel myself growing sad, and I’ll admit-resentful at times when I’m not doing the things I love, like working out, traveling, or journaling. People sometimes view motherhood as martyrdom, sacrificing everything in the hopes of raising amazing little humans, putting your life on pause until one day, you can hit the restart button. As a Christian woman, I believe there are sacrifices a woman needs to make in order to raise her children in the faith. However, the idea of being a martyr for motherhood doesn’t sit well with me. I recently listened to a faith-based podcast on parenting. The host said that we are all created with unique gifts and went on to say, “It’s about how your hobbies and interests fit into this season of life.”
That statement left me emotional. Someone had put into words what I knew deep inside me. I didn’t have to let go. I don’t know what things will look like, but I’m taking steps to bring the old parts of my life back into this new phase of life. I bought a jogging stroller recently. I’ve resolved to pick up an old painting project. I’m proud to say my four-year-old daughter’s been joining me for workouts for the past 12 weeks.
There’s selfishness there that I fight daily. They say you’ll have more free time when your kids are older and more independent; I believe it. For now, I continue to push forward, to carve out time to do the things that I enjoy; when I do so, I’m more energetic and excited to pour into my family.
Laura, nicely said! I definitely can relate! Even though I don’t have children, I get immense anxiety when thinking about these very ideas you mentioned! Running is like a strength and curse for me though. I love to run and it helps my mental health so much that not being able to run/workout just creates immense anxiety for me! I guess it’s the sacrifices we make for ourselves! Society puts a lot of pressure on us to hold up to these ideals we have for ourselves! I feel guilty for not having children yet. I do have a longing for them, but I have also thought that not everyone is made to have children even though that is very hard to accept sometimes.