I’ve seen that the choice of 'staying home' has different names - special needs support, health issues, spouses with jobs that demand intense traveling, uprooting lives to support a partner's career or dreams, or a simple choice of preference.
Women know that choosing the full-time job of ‘motherwork’ goes far beyond playing “stay at home mommy”. There’s nothing glamourous in the mundane housework chores, nothing sexy after sleepless nights, and no words to describe the self-giving efforts the job demands. We carry the scars from the challenges faced along the way, in our body and in our hearts, and it’s the joy and the love in being our children’s caregivers the stamina that keeps a lot of us going.
But the high demands - demand it all. In becoming mothers, we may find the biggest source and platform to a multiverse of personal growth. It’s the role ‘motherwork’ plays in our life when it occupies our entire universe, that gets in the way to pursue other paths for personal fulfillment and growth to complement our life.
To me, two major components play a significant role in performing full-time ‘motherwork’ roles that prevent us from having a greater sense of fulfillment and wholeness: lifestyle and time.
Lifestyle - For some of us, the idea of being locked in ‘motherwork’ wasn’t a dream we planned or envision. But life takes it turns, and sometimes we end up spending important years of our lives unable to make our preferred choices fit the lifestyle we are in – moving around the Country or the world, children with special needs, health issues, …
Then there’s time - the whole thing will pass by so fast. We take time for granted, locked in devotedly doing, giving, and caring for everyone – we fall into the shadows of self-giving, forgetting to invest more in ourselves. Not assessing assertively, the impact it may have in our future. I call it - being locked in transition.
But how can you predict the future? No-one can. Life develops with the choices we make every single day; and all choices have outcomes. In embracing motherwork full-time, there’s the outcome of having a professional development gap and the risk of underestimating that the frustration of unlived potential and personal achievement of goals and dreams may have a greater impact in your future than you think. I know this of course, after years of being in that struggle myself. After realizing I had been locked in transition.
Here are 5 steps that can help you get on the path to get unlock from transition and move forward to a more fulfilling life:
1. Start with addressing what’s your current situation in life – what do you want?, what makes you happy?, what do you want to change?, what’s missing for you right now?, how do you want your life to be different?
2. Be Present – Day dreaming, wishful thinking, and jumping from one to five different projects can burn you out and become more stressful than fruitful. Choose wisely how you spend your time and in whatever you choose, be fully present, listen, observe and have fun. Not having fun will push you back to day-dreaming.
3. Savor the moments – Whether is full-time work outside the house or in motherwork, or a mix of both, savor your work. Let’s stop pretending we’re going to live forever and let us enjoy the life we’re creating now. Focus on quality. Focus on caring for yourself first so that you can truly excel in caring for others.
4. Invest in positive relationships – Friends are the best medicine for the soul. Invest in people who respect and authentically care. Those who are real and transparent. Those who you can laugh and learn with. Those who are not afraid of showing their love and with who you feel free to express your love and care.
5. Practice gratitude – Start with a daily practice, a journal or a prayer. Make it a habit. Be thankful for everything, not only what’s clearly a gift, but also for the lessons that are helping you become a better human being.
Finding your dharma … Part II