Desperation is a “state of despair, typically one that results in rash or extreme behavior.” Usually being desperate is clouded with shame and sometimes regret. But not always. Being desperate can also be a great motivator.
Recently, a friend called me ambitious. At certain times of my life, I would agree. But this time it’s different. It’s like desperation wearing a mask of ambition. I’m so ready for a change, I’m clamoring out of my momma hole hoping to see the sunlight of a new day. The clamoring doesn’t make me ambitious, it’s the desperation that is motivating me. And the motivation needs to land me in an awesome, and somewhat predetermined, place.
In Alice in Wonderland, Alice asked the Cheshire Cat:
“Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don’t much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.
Alice: …So long as I get somewhere.
The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.”
I knew from experience, if I didn’t have an identifiable idea where to land once I launched myself out of my desperate situation, I would revert back to my old ways. Luckily, an idea had just started to take form…
For the past six months (or maybe six years?) I have found myself in this recurring rut of motherhood. Why didn’t I listen when people told me it was hard to be a Mom? This mothering gig is rough. We all know it and we all talk about it. We read books. We rant and confide in friends, spouses, and parents. We search for help because it’s SO hard. And it’s SO important that we get it RIGHT. Or as right as it can be. And when our actions don’t reach our expectations, guilt creeps into our mind. Oh the mommy guilt! Sometimes I’m waterboarded with mommy guilt.
When I’m in this spot, I always think “I need a job.” And “someone else could do this better than me.” So I tell my husband I want to look for a job and it makes him nervous. (Before he starts getting hate mail, he is wonderful. And I knew when I married him that I would be a stay at home mom. And I married him anyways.) Jake tells me I likely need TIME away, but not really a “job.” So he offers one night a week. One TRUE night a week where, after he gets home, I don’t have to make dinner, clean up, take care of kids, or anything. I come out to eat and to say goodnight prayers. And I treat my “time” as a job. I create. Creating is the therapy I need to wake up in the morning and get out of bed happily. To face the three beautiful children whom I love so much, but suck every ounce of physical and mental energy from me.
For my “job” I have started designing clothes. No biggie. (Extreme sarcasm here! I have NO background in design!) My clothes will cater to moms. Because I know of A LOT of them. And I understand a bit of what we need. Right now I’m in the “prototyping” stage. My goal this week is to send out various sizes of my prototypes to moms in exchange for their feedback. Creating isn’t new to me — I’ve done this for years, but to have a specific goal where I can almost see light at the end of the tunnel? That’s new. That’s exciting.
The desperate situation was me continuously thinking I couldn’t do this motherhood job because I wasn’t enough. I don’t live up to my expectations. Designing clothes doesn’t make me a better mom. Designing clothes helps my brain be happy and enthusiastic. I’m filled with hope for the future, and that’s no small thing.
Now I think about the pros and cons of fabric types, a business name, whether I should order tags, and will this REALLY all work out? The anxiety that riddled my days while I focused on my faults made me desperate. That desperation catapulted me into a new situation, one where I am more positive and hopeful. I’m working on a huge project, and I LOVE IT! Of course, who knows if I will be successful, but at the moment it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I’m no longer in that desperate state of mind. I’m grateful I got to that desperate state (not that I enjoyed it, because I didn’t) because it was the catalyst for change.
So choose to be motivated by your desperation. To change and to become better. Be grateful for desperation because it propels you to a better, more bright future.