A New Perspective: Finding “Purpose” Is Different from Finding “Busy”

I cannot believe it is the start of a new school year!

It seems like the laid back summer flashes by as quick as a hummingbird’s wings. This time always brings me a sense of melancholy mixed with excitement about the upcoming triumphs and challenges. My children are excited yet dreading the start of the new school year. 

And I know I will once again wrestle with what my purpose is when they leave me behind. 

PurposeBIG CHANGES

This year will be especially strange. My baby girl, who has been my spirited side kick for the past 5 years will be in all-day kindergarten. My eldest is in college. Meanwhile, my youngest son, Gavin, will be starting high school and my middle son, Jakob, will be a high school junior. That means only 2 years until the dreaded “G” word for him, which I cannot even fathom without tearing up! 

While I am thrilled for them and a little joyous about it being, “Just me from 8 to 3,” I also envy them.

Sometimes, I long for the days where I was required to learn about so many amazing things except math, which I despised. I loved the daily socialization with my peers too. My children view school as a torture device. They would think me bonkers if I confided that sometimes I wish I could trade places with them. Exercise for an hour each day? Yes, please! I would relish that my only requirement for another class be that I attempt to create a beautiful painting or sculpture. Of course, I keep these musings to myself because they already think their mom is a weirdo. No need to reinforce that. 😉 

DEJA VU

I have been here before. At one point, before my daughter came along, all three of my boys were in school at once. I didn’t like it. I treasured the disappearance of the sibling WWF rounds and the cries of “I’m bored.” Or “I’m starved.” But between those bits of relief, I felt empty. Like I had lost my purpose.

I didn’t know who to be if I was not busy taking care of someone else. What had I been passionate about before I had children? 

I wasn’t thrilled about spending my time cleaning or cooking all day. So I desperately sought to fill the void with something. I ramped up the home business I had been doing for several years and I accepted a stress-filled job working for an attorney for over 30 hours a week. In my case, the decision wasn’t for financial reasons, but simply because I disliked being in my empty house, wondering each day what my purpose was now. But working full-time was a gigantic mistake for me!

I admire and respect each one of you who does it. I realize that many of you love your jobs; others simply don’t have the luxury of choosing to be a stay-at-home mom for financial reasons. 

EXHAUSTED MAMA

At the end of the work day, I was so wiped out I had nothing to give to myself or my family. Adding to the exhaustion was that I felt obligated to go to several home shows each week for my home-based business. I was completely overwhelmed. My health and marriage suffered and my boys felt neglected. This experience taught me that there is nothing shameful about not being able to do it all! 

It can be extremely beneficial to examine your life and determine what your priorities are. Then you can make needed changes in your life to reflect these priorities. 

Luckily, I was able to quit my job as a legal assistant and find the balance I was seeking. When I was not fulfilling my role as a wife and mom, I realized how important and how purposeful my role in the home is. Even though society often minimalizes this role, moms often are the glue that holds the family together. I was so consumed with giving everything to a boss who did not care and who could replace me at moment’s notice, I had little to offer my family who did need me and to whom I was irreplaceable.

AT THE “PURPOSE” CROSSROADS

I’m at this crossroads again, as I know many of you are or will be soon. This time, I’m going to refuse to put pressure on myself to get a full-time job or to volunteer just to stay busy. I am going to take the time to evaluate what I want to do; what I am passionate about.

Equally importantly, I will refuse to feel guilty for doing things I enjoy such as a regular exercise routine, writing and reading and spending time with friends during the day instead of fulfilling household duties.

The school days are short and at 3:00 pm each day, I will be back on the clock as a cook, a nurse, a counselor, a tutor, a chauffer and as their mom. What an awesome purpose that is.

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