Confident Mom Series Part III: Maintaining Your Gifts in the Midst of Motherhood

Friday, February 17, 2017

Thanks for coming back for more of the Confident Mom series! This is the third and final installment:) I do hope you are enjoying it and feeling encouraged. Sometimes we moms get so focused on raising our children and helping them develop their strengths that we forget about ours! Our gifts can slowly get pushed to the back burner until we scarcely remember them, only to wake up one day wondering, "Where did that part of me go?" Sound familiar? Here's a quick example:

For as long as my memory serves me, I've loved art in all forms and fashions. Both of my grandmothers were artists, and both taught me to draw and paint from the time I was old enough to hold a brush in my tiny fingers. As a child and adolescent, I saw myself as a creative type. I loved drawing, painting, and making jewelry. When I graduated from college, my husband got me an expensive oil painting kit, complete with an easel, brush set, canvases, and quality oil paints. I had our first baby two months later and the oils have only been used once in seven years. I was too busy mothering that I never even made an effort to carve out time for the things I once loved and felt gifted in. One exceptionally cold day, I was invited to a last minute birthday party for a close friend. The party was that night, and I didn't feel like dragging my three littles out in sub-zero temperatures to find a gift. Suddenly, for the first time in ages, I thought about all the beads and jewelry making hardware I had in a box somewhere. I dragged everything out and within an hour, made my friend a gorgeous pair of earrings, and packaged it up in a pretty piece of fabric with a simple ribbon. My girls watched in fascination, eager to look at and touch and sort the vast array of beads before them. I felt so alive! This thing, this creativity and the artist in me that had been lying dormant for almost a decade had made an appearance, and I realized, I can throw myself into motherhood AND keep my passions alive. Sure, I don't have hours to devote to creating world-class paintings (not that I ever did in the first place...), but I thought, surely I can do this more regularly, and it doesn't have to be something that detracts from my role as a mom. No! Just the opposite! This was something that could add to who I already was as a mom! Just as my grandmothers taught me art, so should I take my deep-seeded love for creativity in the form of painting and jewelry making and pass it on to my own daughters! It is part of me, so it can be part of who I am as a mom. How freeing!

I think so many moms feel bogged down with the demands that motherhood inherently brings: from diapering and round-the-clock feedings; to never-ending dirty dishes and meal planning and grocery shopping and cooking and feeding (ever feel like your entire life revolves around food, mom?); to playdates and activities and reading stories and cleaning up. Need I go on? This is reality, and we put our game faces on and we get in there and get it done! Day after day, week after week, year after year. Sure, the diapers and midnight feedings pass with the years, but they are replaced with other things to keep you equally busy.

I know I felt this way! Some days I still do. I admit, I still have days where I throw my hands up and pray for a cheerful heart, as I struggle feeling like my entire waking existence is spent running after my darling, beautiful, MESSY, HUNGRY, IRRITABLE children. But other days, I've learned to carve out time for what I love. Yes, the laundry may not get folded. There is furniture I haven't dusted since who knows when. But my house isn't a pig sty by any means, and I've decided to forgo perfection on the home front, in exchange for cultivating my God-given love for art. It's part of my heritage, and I hope to instill a love of art in my daughters, whether they gravitate toward drawing, oils, watercolor, scrapbooking, jewelry making, whatever!! It doesn't have to be some guilty pleasure that I indulge in occasionally, or something I try to cram in during naptime. Rather it can and should be just something I do and something my kids do with me, catered to their appropriate age and capabilities. Lord willing, someday they will look back and think about how their mom taught them about art. Maybe I will get to paint with my grandkids. Think of it: five generations teaching each other to create beauty.

So, beautiful, busy mama:
What's that thing you've let go dormant? What have you pushed to the back burner? Maybe you even turned the burner off and put the pot away in a box in a storage unit to gather dust. Maybe it's been more than a decade and you think, "I could never be good at that again." WRONG! If you read this and something popped into your head, maybe made your heart flutter the slightest bit, than I think you're on to something:) I want to encourage you, even if you're neck deep in the thoroughs of motherhood, be it the little years, or chauffeuring teens a million different directions, find ten minutes this week. Any one can do that. Let a load of laundry sit (or make your kids fold it!) and get out that paint brush, that instrument, that journal, that gourmet cookbook. Close your eyes and remember how that thing used to make you feel. Then roll up your sleeves and have at it! And if it still makes a part of you come alive, then don't put it away. Keep it out. Do it once a week. Do it five minutes a day. Let your kids see. Let them help. Involve them. And let it become part of your unique mom-ness. (is that a word? I just made it one!)

Let your uniqueness and your gifts shine! You'll thank yourself, and so will your kids:)

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