mom-giggling-eyes-closed

Last week a friend of mine said to me, “I don’t know how to be happy.” That admission has caused me to pause and contemplate the reasoning behind such a shocking statement. It has also caused me to think about you — us — moms and the issue of happiness.

Before motherhood, most of us had ample opportunity to pursue what made us happy. The world and our future lay before us, and the day’s choices largely were made based on our own personal needs. But once your name changes to Mom, something changes inside, and suddenly your own needs seem secondary; the well-being of your child takes precedence above all else.

This is as it should be. Unfortunately the world tries to tell us differently. Sadly, today’s modern society and many of those who hold the microphones are sending the message to moms that they are to place themselves and their needs above all others. I have been a mom for 17 years, and I am here to tell anyone who will listen that message is dead wrong.

Once I became a mom, I changed the way I made decisions. Decisions that were once made by Tracey the woman started being made by Tracey the mom.

Allow me to give you a few examples. At one point, I had decided I wanted to join a gym to get in shape. I went and checked out the gym, and the childcare arrangement at the gym was not to my satisfaction. So I decided my form of exercise would have to become walking. I would walk with my baby in the stroller or at a time when Hubby could be home with her and I could quickly get in a good 40 minute walk. Another example: I wanted to take a class, so I had to choose one that was offered at night when hubby could be home. I wanted to start a business, so it was selling children’s clothing out of my home. Or when I wanted to be a volunteer at a local women’s clinic, I had to wait until my youngest started preschool so I could volunteer while the kids were at school.

Each decision had to consider what Tracey the woman wanted but had to be answered by what Tracey the mom knew was the best thing for her family.

The messaging of the world is subtle, and some may think it is not really a big deal. Yet it is a big deal if you are being robbed of knowing it is a good thing to listen to your mom voice. In each example above, the “world” would have told me to think like Tracey the woman — something like this: “Oh, it’s just an hour at the gym. You deserve to work out. Don’t be concerned about the fact that the childcare isn’t ‘just right.’ She’ll be fine. Do what will make you happy.” Wrong answer! I need to do what Tracey the mom knows is best.

Will you have to make personal sacrifices? Yes. Will it be less than the perfect scenario? Yes. Will you not always get your way? Yes. Is this a bad thing? No.

But now back to the happiness issue. I think sometimes the result of this woman-thoughts versus mom-thoughts decision-making process is that the mom loses sight of what makes the woman happy.

So, I want to encourage you moms not to lose sight of what makes you happy. Write down your dreams and what you want to accomplish in life, and find ways to still “dabble” in what the woman in you wants but not at the expense of silencing the mom in you.

And trust me, your mom decisions will grow you more than anything else you will ever do in your life, and those decisions and the growth you experience as a result will be the very things that will allow you to fulfill the dreams of your woman heart.

Maybe, just maybe … God is growing you through the mom process so that you can be the woman He has designed you to be.