There’s a lot of stuff going around these days conveying the message, “Do what makes you happy.” Sounds great at first glance, but dig deeper. Lately I’ve been soul searching and trying to connect with God more. I’d like to say it hasn’t been without its share of pain, but alas I cannot. One of the things that people tend to struggle with the most in life is finding their purpose. I know it’s something I’ve struggled with off and on over the years. What I have learned in this quest for purpose is this: your purpose can change with your life. When I was younger, my purpose was to go to school, get good grades, etc. Now my purpose is much different. My purpose now is to be a mother and guide my children by example to the best of my ability. The struggles that come with parenthood are plenty. It’s our approach that dictates survival. Of course some days are just getting from nap to bedtime without incident. For the most part this is accomplished, but there are those days when everyone is out of sorts and in all honesty, bedtime is best for all involved. Then are days when I’m truly blissfully happy. The kids are getting along and we’re laughing and playing together. Those are the days when I wonder if I truly deserve this amazing “job” of motherhood. Then I realize that those days are the rewards in between the tough days, the busy days, and the downright everyone is cranky days. Let’s face it, if everyday was bliss we wouldn’t appreciate those days nearly as much, if at all. I try to look at everyday as a fresh start. I have a certain ideality for my life and goal for myself which I rarely fully meet. I think, “Today I’m going to have more patience.” Next thing you know, I step on a Lego that I asked my son ten times to put away and it’s all over. I have failed. On the upside, I get to try again tomorrow. The good news is that children do not know anything different than unconditional love and by morning they will have forgotten how you yelled at them for not picking up their toys and you are once again Mother of the Year in their eyes.
I say all of this, not to make myself look good but rather to express the amazingness of life as a mother. Everyday I have to make decisions, both big and small that affect my children and thus, our family. Unfortunately those decisions are not always met with the support and/or understanding from those outside our nuclear family that we would like or expect. So how do we deal with those who disagree with us? Human instinct is to run the other way because that’s what makes us happy. If we look at the situation Biblically, Jesus did not preach about happiness, but rather tolerance and love. Nowhere does it say that loving others and doing the right thing would make us happy. So just exactly what were we created for? Is it happiness? I don’t think so. Originally perhaps, but then there’s that incident with the fruit and suddenly life took a completely different turn. No longer were Adam and Eve blissfully ignorant shall we say. The blinders were off and where there was harmony and contentment there is now discord and disconnect. Even childbirth was made painful! (And let me tell you, painful does not even begin!) I’ve seen people who have done nothing but things that were supposed to make them “happy” and they are the most bitter, cynical people you will ever come across. Living for yourself and your own happiness only makes you selfish. When you get married, you do things for your spouse to make them happy because in a healthy relationship, seeing them happy makes you happy. Same as doing things for your children. You don’t always want to read the same book for the 50 millionth time, but that look of glee on your child’s face makes it all worth it. We were created to serve and to love, not to please ourselves and make ourselves happy.