Lately, I’ve been giving thought to many of the hopes and dreams that I set out for myself a long time ago: some before motherhood came a-knockin’ and some since; some before the attainment of the wisdom that I now have, and some since then; others since childhood, and others the makings of real dreams – the things that the nightly ones are made of. While I do many things, and rarely do I have a moment to truly be bored, I will admit to wrestling with the idea of purpose. What is my life’s purpose, and am I living it?
As a stay-at-home mother of three, I realize that I am blessed beyond belief to have the opportunity to be home with my children, and to be as hands-on as I am. This is especially a luxury given the current state of our economy; however, I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that the occasional question, of whether I should be doing more, does rear its head every now and then. I am of the belief that most of us are alike than we are different, so I don’t have to poll other stay-at-home mothers to validate that my question is a real one. I know it’s the case. Furthermore, I live in a community in which I can easily find other women such as myself – accomplished, smart, educated – women who had been successful in their own right before children, women who either chose or were chosen, to be home with their children, so my sample population is legitimate.
Among these women is a group of sister/gal friends that I call my sisterhood, one which I deliberately set out to create, out of necessity. Our family relocated here just over four years ago, and while we were very blessed to land smack-dab in the middle of a place which offered a community of other progressive families with young children, I realized that the onus was on me to forge ties with other women in order to create a network for my family and children. I was determined not to pass up the opportunity to build relationships with other like-minded, or similar situated folk! I vowed to not insulate myself, which many stay-at-home mothers tend to do because for some reason or the other, they don’t think that there are other mothers that can, or want to, empathize with the unique nature of their roles. (Perhaps we’re still looking for those Superwoman/Supermom awards in going it alone? I can create an entirely separate post on that subject.)
As a result, I have a few really good sister/gal friends that I can call on in the event that I need to…for whatever reason. They don’t look for reciprocity, but they know that it’s there when/if they should need it. It’s not about calling in a game of favors. The relationships are authentic. This is my circle of sisters. We look out for each other’s children, talk about the challenges of being married and raising children, and are uncompromising in our priorities. We may not always know what the next season may bring in our lives, but our values are unequivocal and nonnegotiable.
From these women and from my own experience, I’m learning that the question of purpose will continue to surface, but the answers will also take shape over time as well, as we ourselves change, and respond to the unique seasons in our lives. As we tell and share our stories, we re-discover our true gifts and recognize that what we thought we initially set out to do might have been someone else’s dream. We become unapologetic for what we now know, and seek to re-invent ourselves apart from what has been projected on us as the “ideal”.
As for our hopes and dreams? We still have them, but we realize that some of them may have to be put on hold for a while – deferred, but definitely not “dried up” - for very important reasons. Some of them had to be redefined as they took away from that which we deem as most important to us, and that is not an entirely bad thing. Others had to be retrofitted for our specific lives and the arrangements that we chose. While we live out our most visible dreams as mothers, wives, writers, sisters, friends, and lovers, we maintain credibility in our families as women with unparalleled vision. As such, we impart wisdom and understanding to the dreams of others, and facilitate their success. We take great pride in knowing that we’re planting seeds for generations to come by making the investment of time and care in our children.
As for purpose? I know that it is not a position or a title, but rather a multiplicity of things, among them to affect change and inspire joy at a very personal and meaningful level for many. And for now, I’m cool with that.