I didn’t realize how much I value freedom until I became a mom.
As the mother of three small kids, I had a tough time bringing the concept of freedom into my new reality. My life was in constant motion every day. It felt like a pendulum swinging between delight in my role as a mom and despair at my unmet personal needs. I felt confused that a role so fulfilling could leave me feeling disconnected, unsettled, and constantly in motion but going nowhere. At a moment’s notice, my emotions could sway from one extreme to the other, the volatility and loss of control leaving me motion sick.
Let’s never pretend that this pendulum swing doesn’t exist. Being a mom can be so beautiful and tender that we think we might burst, only then to encounter moments so difficult and draining that we feel like giving up. We are blessed, obsessed, then over it and done, familiar language in the narrative of motherhood.
Motherhood does not have to be viewed as the sole purpose of our existence, nor does it have to be a series of stages we must endure. Riding that pendulum back and forth between idolization and victimization can create instability not only in our family life but also in our soul.
Getting Free from Extremes
So how can we get off the swinging pendulum and find a better place to land our feet—one that doesn’t deny the difficult reality of raising kids but does provide the stability we need to cope with it?
I didn’t understand the power of freedom in Jesus until I had lived without it for quite some time. I needed Jesus, but I mistook that need for other things I lacked—such as free time, more sleep, and personal space. If I could get those things back, I kept thinking, thenI could get my life in order.1