Perhaps it's because, now that we have three kids, I started thinking we're suddenly in need of more space, or maybe because I spend so much time at home breastfeeding that I stare at the walls and toys and furniture that I've begun feeling that we need to change things. New paint on the walls. New rugs. New bins to contain the ever-increasing chaos that Legos bring. New pots and pans. New throw pillows. New sheets and towels. New, new, new. But because our income is not regular (but expenses are frighteningly so), there's no way we can buy anything new.
We're fine. Don't worry. But with three kids, gone are the days when Vince and I—newlyweds and both with cushy jobs at that time—could go on crazy shopping sprees. We still can if we wanted to, but responsibility stays our hand. Vito will go to preschool soon. Piero has his monthly vaccines. We really really need to get a health plan now.
So maybe because of this kill-joy responsibility or the fact I haven't shopped for me and just me since 2012, feelings of discontent have crept in. I've been working so hard, I tell myself, I deserve a treat. I had a terrible pregnancy and giving birth was so painful, I deserve a reward. I look in the mirror and see my whiteheads and fine lines and my hair that needs a cut, and I say, "I look unkempt, messy, tired. Will people think I'm messy and exhausted and unhappy?"
I, I, I. Me, me, me. Life really gets ugly when it's all about me!
Then my husband rearranged the furniture and suddenly our home is so spacious. Because I missed the chandelier hanging over the dining table, he made colorful lamps and said, "Pretty lamps for my pretty wife." When I was younger, I grew up with Mama constantly wondering when Papa would do anything for her.
I got sick. My kids got sick. While I was praying for our health to get better, I looked at my little medicine box, just a little Tupperware thing, and felt grateful that all we need is paracetamol. Grateful I could just pop into Mercury Drug next door and buy my asthma meds. When I was growing up, Mama and I, both asthma sufferers, stayed up all night for months at a time, struggling to breathe, all because we couldn't afford asthma medicine.
Our refrigerator and cupboard are full of food. At the supermarket, I never need to compare prices or buy the cheaper brand. My children eat abundantly. When I was growing up, we borrowed heavily from my aunt's grocery stall. While we never missed a meal, the food was rationed. No such thing as a second helping. And dessert? We had dessert only on birthdays and Christmas!
Growing up, I wasn't unhappy. It was only when I saw my mother working herself to death and getting into debt that I became unhappy. It doesn't have to be this way! Why was it this way? When I become a wife and mother, I swore it will not be my way.
And it isn't. My career dreams came true at 30. My health improved, too, at 30. My acne finally disappeared. I have a closet full of clothes and bags and shoes I don't even use. I live in a big condo unit with beautiful furniture we bought with a writer's/editor's salary, something we were told can never be big enough. My life is practically sponsored—free beauty products, free trips, free clothes, free food, free diapers! I get to do what I love—writing—and stay home with my family. My husband is hands-on with raising our kids. And our kids, our kids! They are healthy and smart and beautiful.
My life is luxurious. It's not filled with designer bags or glamorous events. It's not peppered with fancy trips all over the world. It's not punctuated with shopping sprees every weekend. It used to be and that was fun, but it didn't feel luxurious back when we had so much money. Now it does. With our good health, our freedom to choose the jobs we want to do, the time we spend with our baby boys, oh, the time with our boys! That's 24/7 with them, giggling, cuddling, tickling, playing, sleeping, bathing, reading, just breathing! We laugh every day. Every single, glorious day! Well, yes, this is a life of luxury.
LoadingMy baby boys!
I pray I never lose sight of how blessed I am. Thank You, Lord, for opening my eyes to Your goodness. May You also open the eyes of the mommies who read my blog and let them see just how amazing our lives as mothers are!
P.S. Moms, you have got to read this wonderful and funny essay over at Momastery. It is absolute perfection on getting us to see that our lives are so blessed! I especially love her kitchen makeover. Best before-and-after pics I have ever seen in my life!!!
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