Rebekah Lyons, at Qideas, with a powerful set of ideas and questions:
Its 3:45 a.m. and you have been lying awake for almost an hour, plagued by self-doubt and anxiety. It begins with your son’s dropping grades at school, and how he is losing his confidence. This rabbit trails to your daughter’s heart, and the defiance that leaves you exhausted. You blame yourself and how you are failing to reach her. The clock keeps ticking and you move on to other stressors: you don’t call your parents enough, your siblings are far away, you have an inbox that never empties.
Two restless hours pass and the sun is rising and you have given up on the thought of going back to sleep. The sleep deprivation migraine kicks in, and you stumble out of bed a few minutes later to get your kids ready for school. You are a spent, hollow version of yourself and you make a mental note to not go to bed without a Tylenol PM or Benadryl ever again.
This routine is painfully familiar for many women.
Different topics include a baby that won’t sleep, a toddler that won’t stop screaming, a husband that works too late, a friend that doesn’t call back, parents that are sick, the uncertain futures of our kids, our financial stability, and on and on it goes.
Are we grieving our lives because they don’t look the way we imagined they would when we headed off to college?
Could it be that we put pressure on our children’s potential because we realize we aren’t living up to our own?
Have we faded by surrendering every moment of our days to the cultivation of everyone else…but ourselves?…Recently, a friend confessed through tears that she is struggling with deep bitterness. Her life doesn’t look the way she imagined it would. She couldn’t reconcile how her life—looking so successful on the surface—could disguise the aching void that brings her tears the moment she lets herself feel any deeper.
What is most alarming is that many women don’t see past their manicured lives, a grasping for society’s definition of being “put together”. We have pretty ways to mask it, don’t we? We use all kinds of retail therapies and beauty products. We have homes to furnish and decorate, then re-decorate once we tire. We have styles to keep up with, parties to throw and attend, and a rigorous pace to maintain. While these things are all delightful and beautiful and worth celebrating, the danger comes when we use them to conceal a desperate identity crisis.
So we compromise. We say, this life I lead ought to be enough. I ought to be content being a mother. The dreams I had in my youth were simply that—dreams. Let it go. And we push down any hope when we see it flair up. The desire for change uncovers that which we are most terrified of—failure. …
In either case, this displacement of a mother’s purpose (beyond child-rearing) becomes a huge loss to our communities. If women aren’t empowered to cultivate their uniqueness, we all suffer the loss of beauty, creativity and resourcefulness they were meant to contribute to the world.
Can we imagine a mother chasing the dreams that stir her heart and simultaneously raise her children?
What if husbands saw it as their responsibility to cultivate the unique gifting in the lives of their wives?
How could our communities of faith support this type of lifestyle?