“I see the cultural message everywhere that says an ordinary life is a meaningless life” Brene Brown.
This quote jumped out at me from the pages of Brene’s book “Daring Greatly” and it occurs to me that some of the biggest battles for many of us mothers is the pull between motherhood and meaning, between purpose and play, between achievement and acceptance of perhaps the more simple pleasures of life.
There is possibly an underlying social stigma to being a stay-at-home mum that we don’t realise we have bought into. Then it slips out, maybe in response to the question “what do you do” when we reply “Oh I’m just a mum” or even “I used to be…(fill in the blank with career of your choice). As if ordinary or simple holds little value.
Well, I spend each day with my nearly 3 year old daughter and my life now is a far cry from what it was. But I have found new wonder, deeper joy and a more wholehearted approach to living than I thought possible from a very simple and humble life.
Is a life where I wake up each morning next to my daughter and the first words I hear are “Mummy, I love you soooo much, in the whole wide world!” a meaningless life?
Is a life where I have time to read her favourite story two or three times before breakfast, time to make bread by hand, time to cook meals from scratch, time to play hide and seek a purposeless life?
Is a day where we pull back the curtains together to greet the day and I see the sparkle reflected in her excited eyes as she announces that “Jack Frost has painted the garden mummy!” one without wonder?
Is the ordinary daily act of eating breakfast together while watching the birds on the feeder outside our window meaningless? Or does it foster a life-long love of nature and a respect for the important things like feeding our bodies well and taking time with family?
Is the fact that I no longer have the time or the “significant achievements” to post on the status of various social media sites something I should be ashamed of in this world of broadcasting and approval seeking? Or simply a signal that I am spending time with my family and those that matter most?
Does the fact that I no longer travel across Europe to fulfil my work, or hold a stage in front of large audiences or respond to countless emails and attend high profile events mean I no longer have purpose or value?
Will people really believe that in the stillness of a crisp spring morning I can be moved to tears by the ordinary act of sunrise, simply because having a child has thrown open my heart wider than I ever thought possible?
Since I became a mother and a housewife, no longer defined by my work; my creative output; my social media following; my bank balance; or the impact and reach of my professional message, I have found that which makes me both utterly vulnerable and brings me an ordinary life of immeasurable meaning.