Dreams are a funny thing. If you grew up in a good home, you were probably told things like "the sky is the limit!" "Dream big!" (maybe that was just my dad?!) And it's frustrating when your dreams become tangled up in diapers, dishes, and dirty laundry.
The idea of losing yourself admist the daily grind is scary. I think this has always been my biggest fear. That my children will grow up, and I will have nothing of myself left. I will have given 100% of myself to them, and they will just grow up, and go on to live their own lives, and I'll have nothing to show for those 20 years.
After years of genuinely struggling, accepting, praying, and re-cycling through these, I realize that it isn't that I don't feel like I'm accomplishing enough, it's not the accolades of a career that I really want. It's not the paycheck that I need. It's not more adult conversation. It's a legacy. I think that's why a lot of women seek out gratifying careers. They want to feel like they've really done something. Something to show their kids that they have accomplished. A dream fulfilled.
Except, your kids are your legacy. How can this just be really sinking in, when my eldest is seven?! It took me seven years to actually get it. Sure, I've heard sermons about it. Read books even, but it's finally in. I mean really deep down in.
It doesn't always feel like it, not every moment, not even every day, but to every stay at home mother, or any mother working so that she can put food on the table for her children, let me be the one to remind you, you DO have something to show for the days of building castles out of garbage. Of reading the same book five times in 10 minutes. Of playing barbies, again. You have your children. You will have a lifetime of memories and love and joy.
And also, let me insert here, I've never known a person, ever, that loved their job every day, every moment. That wasn't frustrated by the mundane tasks, bogged down by the stress, or by the daily grind on occasion. That wondered if their work was making a real difference.
At the end of the day, your career can be wiped out by a thousand things, a bad economy, a corporate restructuring, by a new boss who doesn't like you, by a physical ailment that doesn't allow you to continue working. But the time and energy you put into your children, no one can take those moments from you or from them. No one can steal the relationship that you are building with them. The lessons that you are teaching them. The God that you can introduce them to through the slow patience of continual conversation and constant presence.
This is your real legacy.
Matthew 6:20-21 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also