There's a lot out there right now suggesting that parenting is inconvenient and stifling and unappealing and scary and uninspiring and not as wonderful as seeing one of the last remaining rhinos in Africa. Sure, it's hard work and it interrupts life and it demands selflessness and it fills your schedule and it can bring out some of the worst parts of you. But it is also rewarding work and it gives you life and it refines you and it fills your heart and it brings out some of the best parts of you.
I was thinking about how many songs I've written post-kids versus pre-kids. It doesn't really make sense because I have way less moments to myself and times of quiet and space to finish thoughts. But somehow, the pages continuously get filled. Of course, it's not always a dreamy scenario. I quickly scribble lyrics and fumble through chords while holding a baby in my lap and playing around her fingers as the noises of cars/trains/lightsabers come from a preschooler in the other room. What a gift it is that God is still giving me songs even in the loud season of life I'm in.
Becoming a parent does not mean giving up on things we used to love to do. What it may mean is giving up on the way we used to do them. Sitting at the piano for hours would be great, but right now, I've got to be content with little 15 minute increments. Those minutes eventually add up and they add up to songs the same way that hours do.
We experience a lot of frustration when we hold on to how things used to be or how they used to work. Many times I have fought the feeling of well, if it's not going to be finished in one setting, then why even start the song? But rather than ending up defeated and songless at my own pity party, I embrace my new reality and accomplish what I can.
I remember my mom sitting down to play or practice or write at different points of my childhood and growing up years. In a way, those memories have given me permission to do the same. I want to keep working at my music. Not because there's any amount of money to be made or fame to be had, but because it fills me up. The definition of success in my world is that I keep doing it - keep writing, keep singing, and keep going - because of the joy, satisfaction, and life it gives.
Moms, if you feel you have lost yourselves and your interests, know that it can all be found. There are new versions of you waiting to be discovered. Give yourself time and know that those fun and fulfilling things that may be on the back burner while you adjust to your life can eventually return. You will have time to read, journal, sew, compose, bake, travel, take pictures, and run marathons. It may look a little different in your parent skin, as it's going to be combined with little hands and feet hopping along for the ride, but it does exist.
So what is it for you? What refreshes you and gives you purpose? Maybe you love setting up coffee dates with new friends. Maybe you had hoped to publish a book one day. Maybe you enjoy the simplicity of handwriting letters to the people you care about. Maybe your heaven on earth is sitting outside watching the sunset. Maybe you want to start a business or enroll in a photography class. Whatever it is, it's important that you do it. For yourself, for your kids, and for God. What's your song in this loud season?