motherhood

The top of the hill

At our latest MOPS meeting, we were talking about prioritizing, letting go of what isn’t worth our time or energy, finding a balance between sliding through the days with no structure and being overly structured and controlling . . . all of your basic mom worries, really. The women at my table are all knee-deep in the season of wanting to drop everything and just play with our kids but also striving to figure out a good meal planning system or a way to get all of the laundry done or a reasonable chore chart.

And then our mentor mom said something so good that I wrote it down right away.

“It’s not like you ever reach the top of the hill and plant your flag, you know?”

This simple statement struck me deep down in my core. While I think it’s helpful for me to figure out good systems for getting clean clothes on our bodies and good food on our plates, I’m not striving toward a set goal.

Motherhood isn’t really measurable. There isn’t anything tangible at the end, nor is there even an end, really. I’ve always been an organized person and a planner, and things like efficiency interest me, but I’ve always had a hill to climb, a place to plant that flag. College and grad school ended with degrees. Saving for a down payment ended with a house. Teaching high school seniors ended with their graduation. What achievements! What feelings of accomplishment! What checklists with everything crossed off!

What I’ve been missing in motherhood is that no matter how many systems I integrate into our household and daily lives, I’m never going to get that same sense of achievement. That isn’t to say I’m abandoning the practice of observing what causes stress or discontent in our home and working to fix it; in fact, you’ll see in some of my new year’s posts that I’m working hard to streamline and organize us. And I firmly believe that these practices can have a strong effect on my daily life and happiness. What I’m abandoning is this idea that I’ll feel like I’ve reached some pinnacle, some endpoint. There is no hill upon which to plant my flag.

Instead, there is a home and there are people who are growing up in it, and even though they will continue to grow up and someday leave the home, my role as mother will never result in a marked checkbox. There is no comp exam, there will be no commencement ceremony.

How freeing. How absolutely freeing.

Love and grace to you all today. Have a beautiful weekend.

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