When it’s quiet
My son’s kindergarten teacher made a comment one day about how Mason should stay home and do “Mommy’s job” one day… and vacuum the house. I don’t know why I didn’t correct her on the spot. I mean, I do vacuum sometimes, but that’s not my “job”. My job is running the (successful!) accessories company, Clippo. My job is writing (for real money, even!). My job is also running the household as I’m the one who’s here most often, too, but that’s certainly not my only job. She had no idea just how insulted I felt by her offhanded comment, but I stayed quiet. (So, hey, teacher, if you’re reading this… maybe next time don’t make those kinds of assumptions?)
There was a time not too long ago that I felt really down about myself, when that comment would’ve really hurt (instead of just insulted) me. I had the “stay-at-home mom blues“, as I called it. I didn’t know how to find value in what I was doing, or in the path I’d chosen. Some days, I would sit down at 9am, and it would suddenly be 3pm and I’d done almost nothing. How was I to find value in keeping my house tidy? In being the Head Scheduler? In being an unappreciated taxi driver? I used to sit in complete silence, with the only sound being the voices of judgment in my head. Imaginary voices, my own voice, telling me I wasn’t good enough, telling me I’d wasted my education, I’d failed myself. The voices were lying, of course, because being a stay-at-home parent is obviously very valuable, despite society wanting them to feel guilty for not being employed outside the home. Much the same way as it wants those parents who do work outside the home to feel guilty for that. We cannot win.
But one day in that quiet, I heard another tiny voice. I strained to hear what it was telling me. It was telling me I was in control of my life, of my path, and my own joy. It told me that I get to define what success is for me, and that I get to choose how to live happily. I realized that my happiness wasn’t anyone else’s responsibility but my own. I started taking stock of all the amazing, positive things that happen, all because I am home. I wrote a list of all the things that made me happy. I detailed my dreams for myself, even the most ridiculous ones. I took stock of my talents and positive traits. I re-opened my business, and started putting myself forward for more writing jobs. I even created a resume for the first time in more than a decade. I’m busier than I have been in years, and it makes me so happy, so fulfilled.
We all find fulfillment in different ways. But it’s on us to find it, to define it for ourselves. There is no place in the world I would rather be than right where I am. But maybe this isn’t how you’d find your fulfillment. And that’s ok.
When it’s quiet now, I can hear my own heart beating, and hear my kids telling me they love me. I hear my husband thank me for being here for the family, and for making the sacrifices I’ve made to be here. I feel lucky to be the one packing lunches and doing laundry, just as I feel pride in making my Clippo products or writing a solid article.
You are more than what the voices in the quiet are telling you. Go deeper, and listen to the smallest of those voices — the one that speaks of your dreams and what makes you sparkle. Do those things. Life’s too short for anything else.