More Myself

I have become kid-chaos. Who I am is a person rushing out the door grabbing folders and backpacks, reminding everyone what day it is. I am the one who does laundry at night. I am a chauffeur, a cheerleader, a shoe finder, and a homework deadline drill sergeant.  My waking hours are defined by so much of what’s needed for survival.

A lot of other parents express a similar sentiment. A friend shared that she and her husband recently started commuting together. While it hadn’t left her as much time for calling her family or friends throughout the week, it’s become the most consistent uninterrupted time she and her husband have without their kids. “We actually like each other,” she joked.  Beneath the chuckle is the struggle so many caregivers discover. We allow ourselves to be so consumed by the ones we serve, that we lose ourselves completely. 

I’ve noticed certain friends, especially those I’ve known for a lot longer than I’ve had my kids, have a way of reminding me of who I was in the “before.” They remind me not just of funny (or embarrassing memories), but of aspects of my identity that have been sidelined. They remind me that I am more than the morning, afternoon, and evening chaos. They remind me that I have ideas and thoughts that matter to the world, even if some days it feels like no one around me listens to what I have to say. “You STILL aren’t wearing shoes?”

What if I stopped allowing myself to be lost in the chaos? I imagine Mary as consumed with Jesus as I am with my own kids. Except instead of losing herself, she found herself even more.  

What if I allowed my life to be as overwhelmed by Christ as my kids have overwhelmed it?  In doing so, perhaps I can be even more myself in the midst of the everyday chaos.

Published by jencoito

Jen Coito is a California native with diverse experience in parish, academic, and national ministry settings. She has a Masters in Pastoral Theology from Loyola Marymount University. She worked for the California Province of Jesuits for seven years promoting Christian Life Community on university campuses and other diverse ethnic settings. Jen has collaborated on the creation of formation materials, discernment tools, and small group processes that are being used around the country in Vietnamese, Korean, Spanish, and English. In 2013, Jen and Jesuit priest Fr. Tri Dinh co-founded Christus Ministries out of a desire to engage local young adults and form young-adult friendly parishes. Jen works for the Sisters of Notre Dame in California as the Associate Director of Mission Advancement. Jen, Jason, and their three children live in Southern California. You can read more of Jen's writings at www.jencoito.com.

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