Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Nothing Special

I was always one of the top students in my class; I grew up hearing how talented I am, how I’m capable of doing anything I put my mind to. While I was studying for my degree, it was the same – I kept hearing how intelligent I am and how much is expected of me. Yet even then, I already felt the pull of my heart to be a wife and mother, and shortly after getting out of university I was blessed to meet a man who appreciated a wife who works in her home and cares for the children.

The few years that followed were some of the most intense of my life. I’ve had two children spaced close together, and many months were a blur of sleep-deprivation and constantly changing diapers. I’ve mostly gotten into stride now, so much that the addition of a third baby to our family went relatively smoothly, and I’m able to enjoy my life with my children, however…

… I had to step down and confess that I’m nothing special after all.

It was a humbling realization.

Am I doing important work? Yes. I’m raising my children and providing a safe haven for my family. Am I spending my days in a worthwhile, productive way? Yes (well, at least I try). Am I irreplaceable for my children? Yes. Flawed and imperfect as I am, I am the only mother they have. Would I trade what I do for anything else? No.

But still, I do just what women all over the world do. I take care of my children and the house, I clean, I cook, I do the laundry… I’m doing the same work countless generations of women always did. I can no longer pride myself on some very expertly written paper that got top grades, or on a lecture I gave in front of a professional, interested audience. There's no applause, no impressed audience, and no financial benefits. Today’s achievements consist of cleaning the stove, mopping the floor and reading a chapter of Pippi Longstocking to my children.

This led me to re-evaluating my worth, based not on what I managed to do (which someone somewhere can do better, no matter how hard I try), but on my being what I am… a wife and a mother. Like any woman, in the sense of what I do, but uniquely important from the perspective of my family and precious as a child of G-d.


Mostly this has been a process of shedding layers of pride. This is no longer about my talents, my expectations, my ambitions, my capabilities… it is about taking care of others, humility, and lots and lots of prayer. This may sound like sacrifice, but it isn’t really, because my journey is shaping me into a different person, one I like a lot better, and also one who is a lot happier and has a much truer sense of self-worth and dignity. 

9 comments:

Lanita said...

Very beautifully written. Each woman who stays at home is special, is unique, is important. No one can really do her job, the way it needs to be done. No one would love your children or your husband the way you do. Sure they could do the actual tasks, but it wouldn't be done in love, it would be done as a job, not as a calling. I love your perspective. Who we truly are is so much more than what society tries to say about us. Thank you for sharing from your heart.

maria smith said...

Moms have to remind themselves that they aren't just a cleaning service or house servant, but rather they are raising the future. I need regular reminders of that!

HungryForGod (Andi) said...

it's not what we are - but what G-d is.... :D

The Retro Homemaker said...

I beg to disagree, dear Anna. You ARE special and you have helped me in my calling of being a homemaker.

Alycia said...

Boy, do I relate to this! I was my high school valedictorian and graduated summa cum laude from college with a degree in molecular and cell biology. For the nine years I have been a parent, I have gone through major changes in my identity. Most people have no idea that I was such a high performer in my past, and it has been difficult to get accustomed to this. It is humbling - which is as good as it is painful.

Honestly, I find parenting harder than doing well in school school or scientific research! I had three children in four years, and I'm only just now getting my legs under me enough to consider trying for another child. Parenting is not for the faint of heart!

Heather said...

Wow! The first paragraph could have been written by me (except the last 1/2 sentence as I'm still single). Thanks for sharing Anna, the post was very encouraging.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I am also trying to embrace this truth. Changing the world probably isn't going to be a big event but a slow unfolding...as our children grow and we raise them in faith. Peace.

LeighSabey said...

I recently discovered your blog and I love your perspective. I have had a similar identity change since becoming a mother and homemaker. At first, I was surprised that motherhood didn't come easily to me, since so many other things always had: school, a short but successful career, etc. It's been humbling to realize that I'm not "special", and I agree, I like the new me better. It is satisfying to work all day doing things that are completely necessary and that I am uniquely able to do...feeding my baby, comforting a sick child, making a healthy meal for my family.

Elena said...

Thank you for sharing. I, too, was a smart student (best graduate of my faculty, PhD and whatnot) and now the Lord is humbling me, makinge aware of all my faults, limits and incapabilities (does the word exist?) as a wife, mother and homemaker. Thanks heaven this revelation is coming a bit at a time or I would be overwhelmed :-D