Lindsay Wright was lost in motherhood before rediscovering who she was
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away one woman, a keen lover of coffee shops, design and youthwork, went to war with herself as she combated the tyranny and oppression of motherhood obligations and society demands to look to be her best self.
Okay, so let’s get one thing straight, I do not consider my children to be the enemy (most of the time), what is the enemy of my self is motherhood, or parenthood to be exact and its ability to put so many expectations, obligations, and time constraints on you that you lose who you are. Any free time can absolutely disappear. You don’t mean to, it just happens. Your sleep is destroyed and then the next thing you know is that your children need you as their personal taxi and your evenings don’t start until they’ve finally gone to bed. But then that’s the only time you get for life admin.
Is it little wonder we lose ourselves, that we forget the person who God has made us to be?
A few years ago I was at church talking to someone wat the end of the service when another member of the congregation came up to me, interrupted our conversation and asked “Do you see yourself as God sees you?” I stumbled to reply, eventually saying:‘I don’t know.’ They nodded and walked off.
It was a bizarre exchange, what I didn’t know at the time was this conversation was the start of me rediscovering myself with God. Becoming a parent was much harder than I thought, not the raising children part (I’d already kept them alive longer than my tamagotchi so as far as I was concerned I was already winning!), but in keeping me alive: the things that brought me joy, happiness and rest.
A few years later, unhappy at work, stuck in a routine, and several lock downs later life was in a major state of fog, I felt far from God, far from myself, and far from everything I knew to be lovely. I wasn’t living life, I was just going through the motions and hoping that if I just kept ploughing through, it would all get better. But through it all those words from that random congregation member kept running through my head and I decided to do something about it. I signed up for a mentor scheme at church and discovered it was the very best thing I could have done. Through these sessions I rediscovered my gifting of creativity, I learnt to value it not only as a skill but as a tool for prayer and connecting with God. I made time to honour it, which was hard at first, it felt so selfish to make time to draw, but I now know how important it was. The more a drew the more free I became, and the more the fog began to clear.
As a parent it is easy to put our own needs and interests to one side in order to provide for our children and our home, to make sure that runs smoothly and all is happy. What we don’t realise we could be accidentally doing is forgetting who it was God has made us to be We see ourselves as only ’a parent’ and nothing else - all other identity is lost.
Challenging myself to put God’s view of me in the centre of it all has been transforming. My self doubt is lower than it used to be, my self loathing too, I am beginning to see my worth and the irony is this: through making time for myself I am becoming a better parent to my children, I can listen more and we have more fun.
Maybe as you read this you realise you need to start putting yourself back in the middle of your life?
Let me take you, succinctly, through my own personal steps:
SIT, spend a period of time listening and praying, connect with the world around you, don’t rush.
GROW, sprout new shoots put into action the things you’ve learnt from your period of sitting, affirm who you are.
WALK, walk in confidence, step boldly into your new you-ness.
NURTURE, repeat the above, continue to make time to listen, grow and walk.
I’m still working on myself, I’m far away from the finished picture God wants me to be, but I’m working on it every day and reminding myself how loved, valuable and worthy I am, something I don’t think we tell ourselves as parents often enough.