When I became a mum I had grand ideas…
Of summers with all the plans. Hazy days, would roll into days and we would all lose track of time. These days would also be peppered with friends, outings and big holidays. Only that didn’t quite happen because when my firstborn came along, he showed me another way. My son lived for days at home, for peace and quiet, for avoiding big days out and crowds. You see my son is autistic and needs the quiet, as much as I need air to breathe.
And I’m not ashamed to say, that for a long time, I grieved and envied the busy days that friends had, both in real life and online. And that envy ever only grew greater, come the summer time. I felt like I had somehow failed as a mother, whilst comparing my life to theirs. My heart was stamped on, trampled on and wrung out without a care. For so long I sought out conversations, blogs and accounts online, of those living life how I imagined. They were always doing, having opportunity after opportunity, all while we stayed home.
Every time I spoke to someone who glorified busy, (which was everyone it would seem), home felt less than, life felt less than and I would watch myself turn green. And It wasn’t a green where I just felt jealous, I felt completely and utterly bereft - for the life that I had imagined, for the motherhood I had imagined, it just all felt so much less.
Yet instead of dealing with my feelings, as I should of done and the life right in front of me, I drank in the lives of others, living the life, I thought I should lead. I knew it wasn’t good for me, I knew it but I did it, I wanted to see their busyness with greed. I wish that I could go back and tell my former self to focus on what I had. I wish I had known then how to shut out the noise, instead of turning it up loud.
My son and then a while later my daughter, were my absolute world. If only I hadn’t been so focused on everyone around me, I would have know I didn’t need anything else. I was convinced a bigger schedule would lead to more, yet if only I’d put my worth into being, rather than doing, I wonder how much happier I would have been.
Luckily, slowly, I was able to be thankful for what I had and how life was. I stopped being so consumed with looking outward and instead reminded myself, to be content with the life I actually had, for the love that I was gifted and for the slowness I was shown. Slow living may be a bit of a statement but for some of us, it is essential. And where I once saw missing out, now all I see is joy. Because when others are trying to outdo each other and keep up with all the busy, we are more than happy, with our big little life at home.
I’ve found peace in our slow and meaningful days, with taking the long way round, to stop and smell the roses, the sights, the smells and sounds. But summer will always be hard for me, no matter how much time goes by. And so after a while of feeling green, I send the ‘not doing enough voices,’ high into the sky.
Because when I look around and put my feet on the ground, instead of feeling stuck, I feel free. Free to notice the little things, that if busy I would miss. The significance of muddy knees and berry stained tees, I’ve got my biggest wish.
We are learning together that finding happiness in the simple things, is one of the greatest gifts by far. And I like to remind myself, when we are living slow and feeling alone, that there are many others, living this way too. Because even the days that feel like we aren’t doing much at all, are in fact, the days that we will remember more.