By: Cristina Trette
During the very early years of parenting, I was doing exactly what I wanted to be doing. I chose to stay home with my children. Although it was not easy, I appreciated the time we had for bonding. For many years, parenting was my sole purpose in life. Despite all the sleepless nights, feedings, diapers, tantrums, and afternoon marathons, parenting provided fulfillment that carried deep meaning for me.
I have come to discover that we all have multiple passions and interests. Thera are many missions that we align ourselves with throughout our lifespan and most of us will have more than one purpose in life. When my oldest two children we were babies, my calling was to stay home with them. Eventually, however, I became restless. I knew there was more for me to do in addition to parenting. I began seeking a new purpose.
When my oldest child started full day school for the first time, I hugged her goodbye and thought I would get a break and the chance to find fulfillment. But in reality, there was no break nor did I find purpose. My days consisted of laundry, dishes, and errands, with my baby wrapped around me, and my toddler hanging to my leg. I was giving them a strong foundation and a great start at life. Yet, my own life was void of aliveness.
Meanwhile, other mothers were kissing kids goodbye at school drop off wearing heels, skirts, lipstick, and earrings. They appeared to have a skip in their step that I had not felt in sometime. Then there were stay at home parents that moved about with calm contemplation and contentment in their eyes. They seemed fulfilled. Whether they were working or stayed home, I noticed plenty of parents that seemed to be completely satisfied with what they were doing and where they were at.
After drop off, I generally went straight to the playground so I could chat with other parents while my toddler played with other children. It was through these conversations that I realized how many parents were experiencing something similar to me. Parents that were working, wanted to be home. Parents that were home, wanted to be at work. Some had stopped loving their spouses, others were drinking too much, many were anxious and depressed, some had dropped all activities and hobbies that were of interest to them. No matter what the situation and circumstances were, something was not quite right. They were stuck, they knew it, but did not know what to do about it. I could relate.
As I continued to seek purpose I realized my life was moving from dull to unraveled. If we fail to listen to the voice inside that is begging us to do something different, hardship or crisis will arise in an effort to force us to listen. For me, life unraveled completely. Everything was shaken up. Eventually the parts and pieces settled back down, this time in new places. When life settled, I came through the other side more grounded and deeply connected to my mission.
This was not some magic moment of discovery. Instead, over a period of years I devoted myself to finding myself. I made changes, put forth effort, committed to the life long journey of inner work, and took action. I did not find purpose as much as I created purpose.
As parents, we raise children, have careers, cook, clean, drive, host, organize playdates, attend school events, and volunteer. We do it all and will continue to do so. I believe wholeheartedly that the key to retaining sparkle and serenity through all the mundane tasks of parenthood is to stay connected to purpose. Sometimes I notice that the depth and meaning and purpose are missing. When this happens, it signals me to take on new challenges, growth, and expansion.
If there is something inside of you, that is begging you to bring meaning back into your life – listen - and act. What are your hopes and dreams? How are things going in the realm of career, love, friendship, health, parenting, finances, and spirituality. What do you want your life to look like. Having this awareness alone can be enough to create shifts and transformation.
What makes you feel alive? How do you connect to your highest self? Is purpose infused into your daily life as a person, parent, lover, and worker? And if purpose is missing, what can you do to re-discover it? I would love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments box below!
Hello! I am Cristina Trette. I am a Couples Therapist, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Certified in Perinatal Mental Health. I write on all things related to relationships, parenthood, and connection.