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Making Space for Your Dreams in the Trenches of Motherhood

When I imagine being a writer, I visualize a cozy chair in a quiet corner of the house where the sunbeams rest at the peak of day.

There’s a place where a hot cup of coffee rests on a tiny table besides a well-worn journal and an array of lovely pens.

Or perhaps, I imagine a sleek, uncluttered office desk with an aesthetically decorated bookshelf in the background. The computer is facing out a window that opens to lush foliage and next to the computer is a large cup of coffee – again, hot.

However, as I pursue my dream of being a writer I’ve quickly realized that this is far, FAR, from my current reality. In fact, it’s far from any reality that I can imagine for several years – especially the hot coffee bit.

Why? Because I am a mom of three beautiful, rambunctious littles (5, 2 1/2, and 1).

Because motherhood is beautiful, purposeful, soul-filling, heart-bursting goodness. And it’s HARD.

One kid is hard.

Five kids are hard.

Three week old newborn? Hard. Thirteen year old? Hard.

The trenches of motherhood require your focus, your time, and your energy. It is difficult to find space to do the things that you need to, let alone the things you want to.

But I am choosing to believe that it can be done.

Why?

Because others have done it.

How?

By letting go of the picture perfect vision and embracing progress in the middle of the mess.

I’ve come to realize that in this season of life, allowances have to be made from the way that I would want to do things in a perfect world in favour of getting the job done.

Consider housework, for instance.

If given the choice, I would always err on the side of a thoughtful, well-executed, and intentional approach to completing a task.

I would tend to wash dishes in a particular side and dry in the other. I would hand wash pots and pans and use the dishwasher only for utensils, plates, and bowls. I would sort my clothing drawers by style or functionality. I might even fold baby face cloths.

Instead, I swallow my Type 1 tendencies (thank you Enneagram), shelve those expectations, and choose the simplest path to get the job done.

Which means that I wash dishes on the side that is most empty. I stuff the dishwasher until it is at capacity, running it sometimes twice a day. I celebrate if my clothes actually make it out of a basket and into a drawer at all. I throw baby face cloths into a drawer. I clean just about anything and everything with a half-used package of baby wipes.

You get the idea.

Somewhere along the way we adopt the mindset that there is a “right” way to do things, an unwritten set of rules we are to follow, and if we aren’t doing it that way we’ve failed somehow.

If we change our expectations, not lower them, but simply change what the path to our dreams should look like in this season, we will find more grace, more fulfillment, and hopefully more success.

For me, I have set aside (temporarily) the perfect writing space. Instead, I write anywhere and everywhere that I can. Sometimes I can get a few sentences down while the kids play. Sometimes I can jot down ideas in the kitchen while they have a snack. Sometimes I write in bed while they sleep.

Is it ideal? No. Am I making progress? Yes.

You cannot compare your progress to anyone else, especially as you do the beautiful work of raising your babies. There will be a day that we can embrace the beauty of refined spaces and efficient time, but for many of us that won’t be right now. Simply aim to end the day a little further ahead than the day before.

It will be messy.

It will be raw.

And some days it just might not happen.

But have grace for yourself. Heaps and heaps of grace.

What obstacles are you facing as you make space for your dreams? How are you making adjustments to your expectations in this season?

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