Not Drowning in Motherhood
By: Melissa Harper | Date: September 14 2018
The other day I sat with the ocean breeze on my face, the sun burning down on my skin, and the silliest grin on my face as I watched my girls jump in the ocean and my husband play in the sand with our toddler son. Just like any other time I’ve sat in those moments of watching my beautiful, happy family enjoying time together I thought how I wouldn’t change any of it, even the tough moments. All of those struggles were to arrive at these moments.
These moments don’t just happen on some beach either. They happen at the dinner table as everyone is erupting into laughter. They happen as we all find ourselves in the yard gathering fall leaves or challenging each other to a game of hoops on the driveway court. They happen as we give our whole weekend over to cheering on the sidelines as one of them challenges themselves on the playing field. They happen in the holiday or weekend moments where we get together with others we love but don’t see as much. They’re these amazing little moments that happen over and over that remind me this is a beautiful, amazing life – worth living every day, even in the messy moments.
Some days I feel like I’m lost out in that ocean, drowning in the struggles and expectations that weigh me down. But moments like this are my lifeline back to the shore to remind me that my life isn’t just an unpredictable rip current. It’s also this breathtaking view that gives my soul peace and reassurance to keep pushing through the tough moments that feel like they’ll drown me.
I let myself too easily get caught up in all that doesn’t go right or according to plan and occasionally I’m guilty of thinking about what we don’t have instead of what we do have. So much in life is about perspective, and when things aren’t going as I expected, it’s so easy to find myself going down a slippery slope of negativity. If I throw in the media’s obsession of focusing on the negative over the positive, or society’s pressure that no matter what we have or what we do it’s not enough, I can so easily drown in disappointment and misery. I could so easily be convinced to throw myself out into that ocean of uncertainty and hope it carries away the hardships and struggles of life.
But as I reflect back on it all – the highs and the lows and the struggles and the triumphs, I realize this truth: Although the lows suck – whether it’s finances, marriage or relationship struggles, loss of homes or jobs, health struggles and fears – they are what make the highs and the successes so incredibly sweet and lead me back to falling in love with this life over and over again.
I’ve learned in the tough moments to grasp every little sliver of triumph I can find. I find it in the moments I get to reconnect with my spouse – because as crazy as he may drive me, there are also things he gets and understands that no one else does. I find it in the victory days of accomplishment I have with my life’s work, that keeps me doing it even when there are moments I feel it could suck the life out of me. I find it in reaching our financial or personal goals after persevering through the struggles. I find it in our kids and the wonder of watching their journeys unfold as they navigate their way into the world.
Our struggles, I’ve discovered, is where we grow the most. Our victories would not be so sweet without our struggles. The struggles lead us to where we’re going. We wouldn’t get there and know the gratitude of being there if we didn’t struggle.
So whether we find ourselves at this moment struggling to stay afloat in the ocean or sitting on the beach admiring the view, there’s always so much to love about our journey. And about the people on this journey with us. And about ourselves in our highs and even in our lows.
We must keep snatching those golden moments and holding onto them with everything we have. The storms of life will try to rip those precious moments from our grasp, but our greatest strengths shine through when we not only hold onto those moments, but truly live in them.
Angela Williams Glenn writes about the struggles and joys of motherhood on her website Stepping into Motherhood. Her book Moms, Monsters, Media, and Margaritas examines the expectations verse the realities of motherhood in our modern day digital era and her book Letters to a Daughter is an interactive journal for mothers to their daughters. She’s also been published with Chicken Soup for the Soul, That’s Inappropriate, Her View From Home, and Perfection Pending. You can find her on her facebook page Stepping into Motherhood.