“It’s all downhill from here. I’m working my way right out of this job.” I thought sadly to myself as my preschooler began to chatter about starting kindergarten in the coming year. I sighed quietly and offered her a weak smile as we scouted for gym shoes with non-scuffing soles.
I love being a mom. It was all I had wanted to do my entire life. But now that I had my two little ones, I realized being a full-time mom was only an option for a limited time. Of course, it wasn’t like they would suddenly be packing off to college the second day of school or anything quite so drastic. But I was starting to see how fast children grow up, and one day their need for me would be reduced to more of an advisory role.
And then my purpose would be fulfilled. That was the end. Until then my job was to sign permission slips and pass out lunches. Was that really all I had to contribute to the world? What would I do with myself when I was no longer useful? Would the next thirteen-plus years of my life revolve around me waiting for school to let out so I would have something to do? Have a cookie, and pass me that field trip form.
These depressing thoughts whirled around in my brain throughout the next several days as I moped about the house doing my chores and chasing the children. Finally, either as an effort to cheer me up or because he was afraid my sullen face might really stay that way, my husband pushed me out the door to meet friends for coffee.
Once there, I listened while we chatted about all the typical young mom things: diapers, tantrums, how to sneak veggies into meatloaf and mom groups. It was good banter, and I usually enjoyed it. But I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that one day our muses would grow up, and we’d be left without anything to say. Then a question entered my mind and escaped my lips that turned the direction of our conversation to new territory.
“If you could do anything, without cost, location and education being factors, what would you do?”
The table went silent as everyone began to explore a question they had never dared ask themselves. There was real enjoyment in examining our inner selves without limits; a freedom in not having to subject our dreams to reality. Finally, the answers started pouring out; everything from an accountant who loves working with numbers to a doctor who loves helping people heal. We learned so much about each other that evening. About who we really were and what we were really passionate about. We weren’t being ungrateful or unrealistic about the lives we were living. We were acknowledging something placed deep inside of us and igniting passions too long suppressed. Some of us even surprised ourselves at what we discovered.
We left that night with a challenge. Somehow, we needed to find a way to feed the passion inside us. Some of the ladies actually did find jobs locally matching their interests and fit into their lives. Others found ways to volunteer with a similar purpose to their inner passion, leaving them feeling just as rewarded.
The bottom line is we became better mothers, wives and friends when we lived with a passion for something that left us feeling content. We were each built with a heart for something unique, and that is not by accident. Feeling fulfilled comes from finding that purpose and meeting it in some way.
“What about you? What would you do, if you could do anything?” my husband asked later that night, after I had shared the events of my evening with very animated spirit.
“Write.” I replied, “I want to be a writer.”
Because who can mope with all that excitement? Now, have a cookie, and pass me that thesaurus.
Jaime Schreiner is the mother of two and a freelance writer from the Canadian prairies. She has several publishing credits that include Thriving Family magazine, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and Hallmark. You can follow her on Facebookor at jaimeschreinerwrites.wordpress.com.