Taming the Beast

We all have different callings and stations in life. Inside of me is a beast with an inherent need to succeed.  It nags me when I feel like taking a break from bettering myself, it slaps me across the face when I want to give up and sometimes, it gets scared of the continuous upward climb and questions me to see when enough is enough.  How far in life do I have to go before I’ve decided that I’ve reached the level of ultimate success? What position must I reach before I decide that I’ve finally “made it”? With the beast of success driving me to my destination, there are often feelings that I push to the side and hide from even those near and dear to my heart.  Deep inside, tugging at the beast’s core and yelling to be recognized is guilt. What exactly do I have to feel guilty about? Why should I feel guilty about wanting to succeed, wanting to have a career, or wanting to provide a better life for my family? What’s so wrong with that?

As I have stated in a previous post, one of my main issues is, I’m superwoman. Really, I am.  I want to be everything to my husband, children, family members and friends. Why, because it’s the beast inside that feeds off of excellence that is driving me to do it.  I want to be the best wife I can be; have an immaculate home, cook hot meals morning, noon, and night, have no laundry piled up, kids in perfect tip-top shape, workout for hours at a time, and be the woman of his dream, and more.  I want to be the best mom; always having a fun activity going on, continuously educating and schooling, taking them out to play everyday, keeping up with what is going on in their lives, and staying abreast of their current feelings.   To everyone else, I want to be the best; best daughter, sister, cousin friend by attending every event, helping everyone out, always showing support, and never missing church or Bible study.  Pretty ambitious, I know but hey, I’ve got to feed the beast.  His appetite is ravenous and he never sleeps.  I mean, I’ve worked two jobs, taken three Masters courses at a time, started a new career, traveled everywhere, helped coach a YMCA basketball team, worked on a novel and blogged, simultaneously.  All the while being a wife, mother, sister, and friend.  I don’t think I slept more than four hours at a time in two years.  Hey, I was thing about me, with my family in the background.  The beast wanted to have a Master's degree and become a leader within the healthcare industry and would stop at nothing until he had the sweet nectar of success in his mouth, all the while knowing that it wouldn’t be enough.  His appetite to climb the corporate ladder, make more money, and have more letters behind his name came first while my family, my home and my health came second. I won’t lie, I fed this beast generously until one day, something set in and I did a complete about-face.

I didn’t want to feed the beast anymore.  He needed to go on a diet.  Besides, the more I examined myself, my life, and what was important, I realized that my children were suffering.  They had a mother who was smart, driven, accomplished, and educated but, they also had a mother who was tired.  Distracted by her research and papers or the every growing list of things to do and appointments on her calendar.  She only half-heartedly listened when they told her about their day. She didn’t have time to play games with them like they wanted her too and the park was something they did with their dad because hey, mama had two papers to write and a three chapters to finish reading by Sunday. They seemingly lacked for nothing. Except for their mother’s undivided attention.  One day, I decided to sit down and have a long talk with the beast. He was running my life and it was time we got an understanding.

I had an epiphany and, instead of taking the beast’s word for it, I went out and bought a chain and a cage. I put the beast away. I decided that, watching my children grow up, truly enjoying them and being the type of mom to them that my grandmother was to me, was way more important that making a name for myself in the world.  They are my world.  My reason for living and breathing but, they are also my reason for slowing it down.  I reevaluated myself and decided that the most important role I could play in this life, besides being a fervent follower of Christ, is to be a wife and a mother.  Nothing else matters.  Teaching is the first job I’ve ever had where I’ve never gone home at night and said, ‘I want to quit.’ It’s the one job where I’ve never minded going.  No matter what issues may arise, no matter how much my students may drain me, and no matter how many times I feel like I’m flying by the seat of my pants.  I have found my peace, my ultimate place in the world.  Nothing could make me happier (except being on the New York Times National best seller list but, hey in due time).  As I told my husband the other day, you can always, ALWAYS make more money, but you can’t make more memories.  My kids are growing fast and I cherish every second that I get to spend with them. From going to the park, checking out books from the library, visiting museums, watching movies together on Netflix, and being off every weekend and holiday, I enjoy the time we have together. It’s priceless and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  I’m not saying that I don’t like going out into the world meeting new people and making connections but, what I am saying is that, the most important lives that I need to make a difference in, came from my own womb.

In closing, all have an expiration date. Don’t let a moment pass you by without cherishing it to the fullest. You can always make more money, but you can’t always make more memories.