Contentment? Nice to Meet You!

Filed under From Marriage to Motherhood Parenting Your Heart on May 20 13 by
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My daughter, Fiona, and me

Throughout the months of pregnancy, I worried about how I would feel after a baby arrived. Would I be elated? Panicked? Suffocated by motherhood? I was particularly worried about that last one—I didn’t want my child to feel her existence had squelched the life right out of her mother. Being a rather independent person, rather financially self-sufficient historically, I didn’t know how fully relying on my husband to “bring in the dough” would make me feel. But sitting in the grass, lying on a blanket beside my beautiful daughter this afternoon, I realized that God had finally taught me what true contentment really is.

Our culture is a big fat wad of contradictions. It says, “Be woman, be strong, be independent,” but it also says, “Mothers are loving, cuddly creatures, and motherhood is good.” It says, “You can have it all—be a high powered attorney and be a full time mom” (sounds exhausting to me, but if you can do it, more power to you!). Culture got me—hook, line, and sinker. I didn’t really want those things, but I thought I was supposed to. I felt like I should be out being “useful” and “productive,” and though I have always believed moms to be both of those things and a barrel more, somehow they didn’t apply to little ol’ me.

Since my Fiona was born, I have thought about doing other things—teaching again, leading a Bible study, being more involved in church, planning events for my local camp community—but I haven’t really felt compelled to pursue all of them in this season. I know the strengths God has given me, and I will continue to use them, but for now it might not the same way I have used them in the past. Sometimes I feel lazy because of that, but I’ve started to believe that isn’t my Heavenly Fathers views making me feel that way, but someone from a warmer place (not Florida—THE warm place).

When I pursue God’s work in my daily life, I don’t end up emotionally drained at the end of the day.

In saying that I am content being here, it doesn’t mean that I’m becoming complacent. Though God has put me in “mommy mode,” he hasn’t disabled the other things he has for me to do and be. “Here she goes,” you’re probably thinking, “We’re gonna get hit with a huge ‘to do’ list.” But that’s not what I’m talking about. Let me just give you some examples: while I’m out throwing tennis balls to the dogs and pushing Fiona in the swing, I can invite a girlfriend down to talk and play with her kids too, which furthers community and relationship. This Thursday, the Bible study that I attend is going to a retirement community to have conversations and connect with the people there, and Fiona will be in tow (hey, my baby is adorable—everybody loves her!). This past weekend, I was shopping at a clothing store, and they had a little play bucket with blocks that another little girl was playing with, too. I sat Fi down to play, and engaged the other little girl’s daddy in conversation. These are things I can still step out and do while being content where I am. I don’t have to have my huge “to do” list checked off every day! When I pursue God’s work in my daily life, I don’t end up emotionally drained at the end of the day.

God-given contentment doesn’t mean being “fine” with how things are going in your life; it’s about truly being joyful where God has placed you. It means being present in your present life.

Right now, I’m looking at the sliding glass doors on our apartment, and noticing all the slobber on them. Most of it is from the dogs’ noses, but the higher bits are from my little crawlers’ tongue. If you would have told me I wouldn’t have a hissy fit over the fact that my baby is licking right over the dog slobber, or when I find her chewing on dog toys, or gnawing on our dirty shoes, I would have told you you were crazy! But, that’s God’s grace too! I am content where I am—in the baby drool, the dog slobber, the “what is that in your mouth” days, and the giggly belly raspberries, splashing in the bathtub, crazy four-toothed grin days too. God has given me not only contentment for this season of new motherhood, but true joy as well, and I’m loving every minute! God-given contentment doesn’t mean being “fine” with how things are going in your life; it’s about truly being joyful where God has placed you. It means being present in your present life.

I am “tickled pink,” as my Grandmama would say, over this revelation! Me, content? Who’d a thunk it?!? I’m in love with waking up to baby smiles, even at the crack of dawn (though I’d still prefer them a bit later if possible). I tear up over a new silly face or the smile she greets me with standing in her crib. I laugh at baby farts and food in the hair (hers, not mine—I still have my priorities with this curly fro on my head). I would happily sit on the couch all afternoon with a sleeping baby in my arms, though these days she just wants to crawl everywhere and pull up on everything. And I am so giddy that I get to tell you all about it too.

Wow. God sure does bring me to cool places. If you let him in, he’ll teach you how to dance instead of the usual lope. I am enjoying this contentment thing. I can’t wait to see what God has to teach me next!

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Leigh Eddy Nelson
Leigh is currently a stay-at-home-mom, or SAHM, ministering to the community around her at The Oaks Camp and Conference Center in Lake Hughes, California. Writing has been a passion of hers since she was a little girl, and God has given her a gift to share her experiences in life, love, marriage, and her journey to, and through, motherhood. Follow her journey here every month!
  • http://forthisisthetime.com/ Esther Aspling

    There is great joy found in being present in each season. Id’ hate to miss a season without having enjoyed it at least a little! lol

    http://forthisisthetime.com/

  • Kelsey

    I loved this! I’m currently 35 weeks with my first baby, and it’s so great to have some wonderful insight by another mom. I’ll be only working two days a week, and like yourself I worry about not being as independent and having to rely on God and my husband to provide. Thank you for the reminder that God has us exactly where he wants us to be. I’m hoping to remember to trust him and be content with my current season of life!

    • Guest

      Absolutely! It’s amazing what you learn from your little one–the joys that come with seeing them literally grow in front of your eyes! I’m pretty sure it’s my new favorite hobby!