I hit my threshold the other day. You know the one I’m talking about. The one where you aren’t quite sure if you want to laugh or cry. I was picking up in the bathroom and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. The woman staring back at me wore no makeup and an over-sized T-shirt to hide the extra 10 pounds that have seemingly taken residency on her body… 15, if I’m being completely honest. There was no spark in my eye.
I looked tired. Worn. Tense.
Somewhere between babies, working, and sleep deprivation I had lost my own joy.
These are the parts of motherhood no one prepares you for. The not-so-shiny moments. The moments where you don’t even recognize yourself.
But sister, in that moment, I had an epiphany.
That load, I was carrying? That was mine. I chose to carry that. Sure, I could blame it on my husband, kids, work, you name it — but truthfully? It wasn’t anyone else’s doing but my own. No one told me I had to do it all. No one told me that I needed to be everything to everyone, at least no one that actually mattered.
So what was I doing?
They tell us, “Make sure to fill your own cup too, mama.” But, do you know what my cup was full of? Guilt.
Guilt for trying to do it all, yet still somehow falling short.
Guilt for trying so desperately to keep it all together when really I was falling apart.
Every moment of every day does not need to be accounted for. Life isn’t meant to be a series of checklists and distractions, it is meant to be lived. I know there aren’t enough hours in the day. I know you feel like you can never get ahead, because I do, too; but maybe that’s the point.
Our focus is off. We’re putting too much weight on things that don’t really matter. We’re carrying things that aren’t really ours to carry and we’re missing moments that are happening right in front of us.
Sister, it’s not your job to ensure that everyone in your household is happy. But, IT IS your job to get in there and be a part of it.
I’m tired of missing moments because I’m watching them unfold from my kitchen sink.
We have to start protecting our own joy.
If it doesn’t serve you, let it go. If it brings you joy? Do more of it.
So, I made a pact with myself.
I’m taking back my joy. I’m giving myself permission to let go. To drop the comparisons. To slow down. To be present more and distracted less. To replace the words “in a minute” or “not right now” with one simple word. YES. I’m choosing to fill my cup with the things that matter. Moments.
It’s looking my baby in the eye and blowing bubbles in the hot sun.
It’s bike rides to the park and trips to the zoo.
It’s singing a duet of Old McDonald in the car at the top of my lungs.
It’s grocery shopping with one hand on the cart and my toddler’s hand in the other.
It’s belly-laughs and late-night snuggles.
I’m redefining what my version of motherhood looks like. I’m choosing to live intentionally. To let go of the things that don’t serve me and invest more in the things that do; and you should, too.
Because your joy? It’s worth fighting for, sister.
This story originally appeared on They Whine, So I Wine facebook page