I overheard a conversation last week.
Someone I know asked someone else that I know, "What people group do you feel most called to?"
It was a good question - they were discussing various cultures and the world at large - and discussing how their role in the world could make a difference in the need expressed in other countries. I wasn't being asked, and I was more of a fly on the wall during this conversation, but the question has been beating in my heart ever since I heard it asked.
What people group do I feel called to?
It was a very simple answer for me. Maybe too simple?
I feel called to my family.
I know it sounds kind of phony and lame, but it's the absolute "yes" in my heart. This is my people group. These are my people. I made them, and I am continuing to invest all my time into caring for them. Everyday, I am feeding, nurturing, encouraging, reprimanding, challenging, changing and re-feeding these sweet (though I'll admit - exhausting) people. The little boys that are asleep across the hallway are counting on me, depending on me every day to raise them out of their beds and do everything to help them along in the world.
Sometimes it's weighty, when I really think about how much they need me. They need me to be on my A-game. They need all of me, not just the leftovers. They need me at my best, at my most engaged, at my most calm and brimming with love and satisfaction for who they are.
So while I love the world and I dream of making a difference in it, my sphere of influence has drastically changed in the past few years. I used to dream of making a difference through the arts - music and movies and creative content. I wanted to be an actress and tell stories to encourage people, to let them know they are loved and lovely and worthy. And it's not that those dreams and desires have disappeared, but they have shifted out of their day-to-day significance in my life. These days I play trucks with my boys instead of playing dress up in auditions and on sets.
I love that I have this opportunity to parent, because I know the years of having young children are short and fleeting (even though the days feel looong when there are too many tears and not enough cups of coffee). I don't want to miss the moments. And I don't want my boys to miss out on me, if I am heavily distracted with some other thing.
I don't want them to remember their mom scrolling through her phone while they tried talking to her.
This question of calling has been bugging me, and yet, igniting me.
I've been thinking of starting a small business. I've been thinking about ways to grow this blog. I've been sitting on a book idea for a few years and I want to grow my freelance writing business and I also want to start creating some video content for this blog. The dreams and brainstorming are endless over here, but - my time is occupied. I am wiping noses and teaching lessons about cleaning up toys and figuring out ways to prepare healthy meals my son will actually eat.
Quite simply, I don't have time for anything or anyone else.
Please tell me, friends, that I am not alone in this.
The margins in my world are currently minimal, and outside of caring for my family, I am lucky if I get to meet up with a girlfriend once a month or read a book at night before bedtime once a week. I schedule time for everything outside of my boys (when I say "boys", that husband of mine is included in this club we call family :) ) - my workouts, my meal prep, my social time, and even time that I work on this blog - it is all scheduled and planned ahead for, because otherwise, there is no way it will happen.
Intention + bits of rest + lots of coffee + saying "no" a lot = the only way to do this thing called motherhood.
I don't know how other women do this thing. Being a mom is hard, and being a mom with a side hustle takes some serious discipline and support. I can't even begin to fathom how my friends who work full-time and parent do it all - I am simply amazed at how incredible women are.
From what I gather it's a juggling act for most everyone I know. A constant balancing of where to put all the energy, attention and emotion required.
The priorities have shifted around over the past few years, and in the wake of Daxton's arrival, I am more aware than ever of how full my hands are. Full of dirty laundry and preschool art (and half-eaten mac'n'cheese that I just had to put the cauliflower in and that my toddler totally tasted and has therefore now rejected.)
I feel like I am in it right now. In the deep, deep throws of this vocation of modern motherhood. I love it, I am exhausted, I am hungry to do more outside of mothering, and yet I am so aware that I can't do more without sacrificing more.
So while my friend answered my other friend's question with an eloquent and studied answer about the tribe of people she feels most drawn to, I am left with a yes in my heart to the current season I am in. Motherhood - the good, the challenging, the humbling, sometimes infuriating, sometimes stripping of all prestige, most times tiring and almost always requiring prayers and caffeine and encouragement - this thing is no joke. But it hasn't dominated me - I choose to love my moment of shrinking margin and paused extracurricular endeavors. I choose to shift my priorities so that I can give the best of myself to my mighty little men. They might be small right now, but their character is being forged this mine of childhood adventure. I am partnering with them to become people of great heart in a world of shrinking moral values and vapid strut.
I am changing the world, it just looks different than I ever thought it would. Instead of telling other people's stories through the creative arts, I am telling my story through my time spent with my family.
I share this with you to connect, relate, and extinguish any lingering guilt. As women, mothers, people who will someday be parents and people who want to make a difference in the world, we shouldn't be so hard at ourselves for seasons of shifting priorities. It doesn't mean that goals go unmet and dreams are dashed - our sacrifice is beautiful, meaningful, and lasting. And if you're in the business of wiping bums and kissing boo-boos, I applaud you for the people group that you choose to invest in. They are worthy, so so worthy of the effort it takes to grow and nurture. And you, my friend, are an absolute gem. Although, you probably deserve a Starbucks and a solo stroll around Target with a giftcard to spend. No, not on your son's friend's birthday gift, but on YOU.
My thoughts can really ramble, can't they? Talk to me in the comments, friends. Do any of you feel me on this one? xoxox