Some days choosing joy as a mama is a struggle. Actually…if I’m being completely honest here, it’s a struggle most of the time.
It’s not that I don’t love my children or that I don’t count them as one of my life’s greatest blessings, but being a mom is just really, freaking hard sometimes.
I’ve shared a little bit about my struggle with anxiety/anger and how it can affect me as a parent and while I definitely haven’t conquered it by any means, I have realized that my mindset makes a huge difference in the way that I experience my days/weeks/minutes as a mother.
After having Alice, I was meeting with a counselor over a period of time and through that I realized that part of what I needed to do was intentionally choose joy.
Now, I absolutely do not want to discount that mental illness is a real struggle for people and one that sometimes requires more than just good thoughts and positive intentions. Sometimes you need medication to regular your brain chemistry and there is absolutely ZERO shame in that. But, for me personally, that isn’t the case at this point in time.
But, back to this idea of choosing joy. Acknowledging that you want to choose joy and actually choosing it are two very different things. But, I’ve realized that for me one of the greatest helps is to place little reminders around me.
Such is the case with this pretty, little sunburst necklace from Lisa Leonard designs. One of my favorite things about her jewelry is that every piece has a backstory and this one is no different. I chose it because of the description for the necklace. It says, “Do you know that feeling; when you’re walking through a dark time and you’re wondering if hope or joy are even possible? Your heart is grieving. And then you feel it–just a hint of light. The smallest ray of hope. And you hold onto it as tightly as you can.”
While I may not be grieving, I can absolutely relate to the sentiment of wondering if hope or joy are even possible. Some days it feels like the weight of motherhood and all the responsibility and minutiae just might crush me, but when I see the little burst of light, beauty in the midst of a hard season that is symbolized in this necklace, I am reminded that this life is beautiful and wonderful. I am reminded that there is joy to be had if I am willing to grab it.
Some days it is easier than others to embrace this idea. Some days I need more reminders. I’ll type up a little note of gratitude in my phone or scrawl out an encouraging Bible verse. Some days I literally write “Choose Joy” in different places throughout my house…like on the chalkboard…and then my kids come and smear the letters and all I can do is laugh. Because even though it’s completely ridiculous and exhausting sometimes, this messy chaos is my messy chaos. Those waking in the middle of the night, snot-covered, loud little people are the same people who bring me endless joy. That little boy who embarrasses me with his grocery store tantrum is the same one who will later snuggle up to me promising his undying love with an emphatic, “I love you forever and ever Mama!” The girl who drives me crazy with her stubbornness over every tiny thing will also blow me away with her servant’s heart. And that bitty baby girl who woke me up 5x during the night will babble and smile away at me when she wakes up bright and early.
Basically what I am saying is that joy is a choice and it is one that I am committed to making more often in this new year.
What have you committed to in the new year? I’d love to hear!
*This post is not sponsored, though I was gifted with this Lisa Leonard necklace for the purpose of the post.