I used to notice that a lot of moms sludge through life like it’s an overwhelming, really expensive, snot-filled struggle. It’s part of the reason I never wanted kids because it just didn’t look like any fun. It actually looked rather scary.
Then I read a book called “All Joy and No Fun”, and it solidified my feelings even further. It’s a really great book, and I recommend that you read it for sure, but the basic premise is that, just as the title says, having kids is all joy and no fun. After finishing that book I was certain I was making the right choice. I definitely wanted joy, but I also wanted to have fun at the same time.
But then I met a guy and changed my mind in a second. Weird how that happens. Two years later we had R, and now she’s asleep on the bed, a fat little dumpling with the most beautiful smile. And sometimes when I look at her, I can’t help but think about that book and those overwhelmed moms. Is that in my future? Is my life going to become all joy and no fun too?
It’s true that my current insight might be heavily influenced by lingering postpartum hormones, and that at 6 months, my life with a child is not what it will be (obviously). But I can’t help think that the book got it all wrong and that those moms had lost sight of the most important things.
Which brings me to this quote I read in “The Happiness Project” (another great book) that I ponder often: ““It’s easy to be heavy: hard to be light.” What this quote says to me is that it’s always possible to be light, even under the weight of our daily burdens, even under a cloud of exhaustion, even after changing the 5th explosive diaper in a row. And I don’t mean the head-in-the-clouds, Pollyanna kind-of-way, but more like the Buddhist way of accepting what is and striving to always maintain a joyful mind.
But gosh, easier to say than do, isn’t it though? Both yes and no. Yes because I’m human so there will never be perfection, but also no because I’ve got a really deep why that underlies what I’m doing and is so much bigger than myself. Like Margy’s quote above, it’s a never-ending spiral that keeps unearthing more and more layers and meaning.
Having a kid is just so much more than those words could ever mean. It’s more like having an awakening, or the sudden realization that some kind of god must exist. It’s magic, and I don’t mean that metaphorically. It’s actual, unexplained magic. I watch my daughter watch her hands in awe as she turns them, twisting them into shapes, extending one finger a time, touching two fingers slowly together, reaching them out into the sky. I could watch her for hours.
Where did she come from? How does this unfolding of a human actually happen? And who will she be, what will she do when she is all grown up? I believe that the meaning to life is having kids, but I’m not talking about any kind of biological imperative. I’m talking about the magic, the mystery, and the unfolding of the spirit that we wouldn’t be able to witness any other way but through our children.
This is the deep why I’m talking about- what could be deeper? What could be more important? What could be infinitely bigger than me and the details of my life? It’s literally everything and beyond. It’s god in the form of a tiny flesh blob.
So, on a practical level, how does this apply to daily life when the baby is crying, we can’t find the keys to the car, and we’re already late for a doctor’s appointment? How can the deep why even matter at that moment??! It can because it does, and it’s the very reason we’re standing with our baby here in this place on earth in the first place. The keys and the car and the doctor’s appointment are all supporting actors, and this doesn’t mean that they don’t matter. They do, but not enough to cause overwhelm and frustration.
Shit happens, but we always have a choice in how we will respond, and it’s just a fact that we won’t always choose the best way. I for sure won’t, but my deep why is always a running commentary in my mind, reminding me of how big and meaningful this job of mom is, and that I’m nurturing and loving and participating in a piece of the great mystery. How could I ever take that lightly or for granted?
Exploring our deep why is the quickest and surest path away from becoming the overwhelmed, struggling mother that I referenced earlier. We might run into her once in a while, but we won’t stick around for long. Our why will draw us back into what matters over and over again, which I’m sure will not only include a whole lot of joy, but a whole lot of fun as well.
If you’re as intrigued about the concept of “the deep why” as I am, check out Margy Thomas over at Scholarshape and take her free 7 day course titled (obviously) Deep Why. Her course is the inspiration for this post <3
And let me know below what your deep why is :)