Guest post by Courtney of Diaper Wrecker
Last year, after the summer Olympics ended, I saw a news story that described how many Olympic athletes experience a “post-Olympic depression” when the games end. After spending years training for the games, it’s just suddenly over. Now I’m certainly no Olympic athlete – division III swimming was the pinnacle of my athletic career – but I can understand feeling sad and lost when an intensely wonderful phase of your life comes to a screeching halt.
I’m a passionate person, so in my own small ways, I’ve certainly felt those moments of depression when something wonderful ends. I can’t help it. When I like something, I get really involved in it.
Current case in point: cloth diapers. When I was expecting my first child, I started researching the mystery that was the modern cloth diaper, and I got hooked on the idea. I loved them (no, I mean really, really loved them – I’m sure some of you fellow addicts can relate). I bought a full stash of cloth diapers, then bought some more. Started a cloth diaper store. Talked about cloth diapers on my local news. Launched a cloth diaper blog.
Sometimes I wonder, “What’s going to happen when this phase of my life ends?!”
Olympic image by Misha Japaridze
As the mothers of young children, we need to be involved and connected and passionate – perhaps more so than at any other time in life. Taking care of a baby can be mentally and physically exhausting, so of course we seek out support and encouragement through circles of moms who are on a path similar to ours. I think this is one of the reasons mothers can become so defensive about their parenting choices and get into those “Mommy Wars” we all dread hearing about.
When you have a baby or toddler depending on you to take care of all of their needs, the sum of all those “little” choices you make for them day in and day out can become one big deal.
Our parenting choices become intertwined with our own sense of identity. Navigating the field of mommy groups and their alliances can feel a bit like high school – there’s the cloth diaper clique, the babywearers, the breastfeeding moms, the alterna-mamas, the working moms, the stay-at-home moms, and on and on.
But no matter what mommy group you call your own right now, the seasons will change. We’ve all been approached by older, wiser moms who wistfully smile at us with our little ones and exclaim, “It goes by so quickly!” When it does go by quickly – and it will – where will we find ourselves?
I hope that I won’t feel a sense of sadness or lost identity when I wean my last baby or clean, fold, and put away my last cloth diaper. That’s not the center of who I am. I’m quite certain I won’t be sitting on the sidelines of my son’s high school football games comparing notes with other moms on whether or not we breastfed, who used which types of diapers, what age we potty-trained our children, and so on.
Image by Parker Knight
If we’re not careful, we can find ourselves feeling sad and lost at the end of any little phase in our children’s lives. While God is writing our life story, he blesses us with passion about different things during different seasons, but His utmost desire is that we are most passionate about our relationship with HIM. And faith can’t be lived out in solitude. It’s so important for us to foster meaningful relationships with others, whether they share our same “passion projects” or not!
For an introvert like me, building new relationships requires planning and resolve, but the effort is well worth it. Find opportunities to bring a meal to a family with a new baby, to spend time chatting with your neighbors outside, or to invite another mom over for an impromptu play date (in spite of the state of your house).
Connecting with others – even if it’s out of your comfort zone – will give you a support network of people who can help you maintain a healthy perspective throughout all of life’s seasons.
What season of life are you in right now? Do you ever find that your current season defines your identity?
Courtney Moser is the writer behind the recently launched cloth diaper information site Diaper Wrecker. She also co-owns the retail store Over the Moon Diapers with her mom. Courtney is blessed with a wonderful husband, a 19-month-old son, and a new baby on the way.
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Top image by simplyla via Flickr Creative Commons