Fear of Missing Out for Moms

“I used to travel and be adventurous. I used to jump on a plane at a moment’s notice. Now, I spend all day nursing an infant and peeling the skin off grapes for a toddler. Does anyone else feel this way?” It was an honest question my friend asked in our mom's group. 

Did I waste my potential? Life with kids...

Another friend is wrestling with late night fears as she puts her career on hold to be a stay at home mom. Is she wasting all the hard work she put into her career?

My friends’ concerns are echoes of mine. Maybe it’s because we’re (relatively) young, maybe it’s because our culture is obsessed with choices, maybe it’s because we’ve seen so many women struggle so hard when their kids leave home, but we all wonder at some point…

am I missing it?

A lot of people told me I had potential when I was in highschool and college. That sounds boastful, but it’s not. To listen to their predictions, you'd think I'd have single handedly cured cancer by now--or at least, that’s what I thought. Spoiler alert: I haven't. Not even close. Sure, I walked away from a career to be a stay at home mom, but it was hardly a shiny career. Part of me cringes--have I wasted my potential?

But there is something fundamentally wrong when I think in terms of “potential.” I heard this line recently, and it’s stuck: Jesus didn't come to fulfill his potential; he came to fulfill his assignment. I’m following a false north star if I’m pointed towards potential.

The crux of it is that my purpose isn’t results or accomplishments or achievements. Those just aren’t my concerns. I wake in the morning, I put my blinders on, my nose to the plough, and I press on to know Jesus. I lay my guilt or worry over missed opportunities or unfulfilled results at his feet, because our my story is already written, and oh! What peace floods my soul in those moments!

Honestly, “nose to the plough” is a poor illustration.

Because I’m anything but a plodding, bored, tired workhorse when I’m yolked to Jesus. Sure, there’s something about the mundane sameness of everyday with very young children that feels a little--plodding. But what is it with us humans, that a little lack of sleep or a little fiery trial makes us lose our perspective? I’ve cried my eyes out during heartbreaks and bad interviews and bad jobs and pregnancy heartburn and sleepless nights with newborns...but you know what? Not a one of those things is still my life.

Let me lay this on you as I lay it on myself: where you are now is not where you'll be forever. One day, your kids will not need you to wipe the excrement off their rear ends. One day, they'll leave home (well...). And you'll get to rediscover who you are, in a brand new way. There will be tears and heartache, as there always is when a season ends, but our God is a god of the new. EVEN IF you had to put every single dream on hold until every child graduated...fifty and child-free isn't a death sentence, friends. And it's going to go fast. Let's be women who aren’t afraid to shovel in the trenches now, and dream new dreams when He calls us up and out of these ditches. Amen?