JOY – joi/ noun – a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.
When I tell people I don’t find joy in parenting, half the time I am answered with a “hallelujah” and the other times I am totally judged. But see, it’s not that I don’t find parenting enjoyable and in moments joyful, it’s that I don’t feel PURE joy in parenting – at least yet. It is bone-chilling exhausting, frustrating, annoying, time-consuming, busy, full of mundane tasks, monotonous, scary, unpredictable…shall I go on? The list of positives is just as long, and I love those moments, but they are not independent of themselves or come without their challenges. Apparently I have to wait until my kids have kids of their own before I get to reap the rewards of my devotion. Awesome. Where is the reciprocity, kids??
Before I became a mom, I was the perfect mom. I grew up feeling I was put on earth to be a mom. I was going to love every minute of it, and I couldn’t understand why moms would say it was hard. It was going to be a breeze for me. My newborn was going to be my accessory and my marriage and life would be exactly the same. My toddler was going to be so well behaved and never throw tantrums or whine. And if he did, I would be such a good mom that he would stop right away. I judged those moms that “couldn’t control” their kids. Oh man, was I in for it!
I realize now that being a mom was ancillary to what I was put on earth for and all part of a bigger plan for me. Please don’t mistake that for not loving being a mom and loving my children so much that it physically hurts. Or that seeing the world through my toddler’s eyes has taught me to see the beauty in things and be present and so many other lessons that I would have never learned otherwise. But I know now that I wasn’t put here to be a mom. I am here to accompany new moms on their journey to be better individuals so they can be better at everything. That’s what makes me feel PURE joy. High even.
I am an empath in its truest form. It’s a blessing and a huge burden all wrapped into one disastrousbeautiful package of sensitivity, pain, love and the desire to make everyone happy at all times – often times at my own expense. I know, I know, I’m learning to be better about that! Growing up it felt like something was wrong with me and I couldn’t ever describe how deeply I felt things. But whatever it was, it wasn’t celebrated and supported – it was condemned and broke my spirit numerous times over. I felt so different from others that I didn’t feel worthy of them. If you want to read more about being an empath, this article explains me perfectly. It’s a little scary actually.
Needless to say, I didn’t experience a lot of joy. Most of my childhood and teenage years were filled with depression and loneliness. But since finding what I’m most passionate about, I feel pure joy every day, which in turn makes me a better mom, wife and individual. And I enjoy everything in my life more! Big shocker, right?
So moms, find what it is you are passionate about and do more of it. Join me on this journey of finding joy. Rid your life of the people who don’t bring you joy, donate the items in your home that are just taking up space and take time every day and think about what brought you joy and do THAT again tomorrow, the next day, the next day…you get my drift.
About the Author
Alexandra Spitz is a Certified Parent Educator, mom of two, and the Founder of OC Mommy and Me - an educational support program serving hundreds of moms in Orange County, CA. OC Mommy and Me provides warm and supportive groups organized by the babies’ birth dates so that all moms are experiencing the same phase in motherhood. For more information, please visit www.ocmommyandme.com