Improve the Quality of Your Friendships
Happy Monday Lionesses!
I recently watched a Ted Talk (linked at the bottom) about the transition to motherhood and how there really isn’t a name for this transition. She actually compared it to becoming a teenager because of all the hormone changes and the mood swings! I think we can all agree, maybe there are some similarities!
For me, this transition has been somewhat smooth. And I think that is mainly because I was blessed with an easy baby (currently knocking on wood.) Everyone always tells you that your motherly instincts will come naturally, and personally that has been pretty true for me. But I don’t feel all that different as a person. I still like the same crazy horror movies and have a deep obsession with true crime. I still have a passion for working with and helping women feel empowered to be themselves. And I still enjoy spending time with my friends.
The most difficult part of this transition has been the guilt part of it all. Am I holding him enough? Am I holding him too much? Do I let him spend too much time away from me? Is he tired of me? Am I helping him enough developmentally? Am I talking to him enough? Am I reading to him enough? I could go on and on with the questions, believe me!
I think one of the things that has helped me the most is that I have made efforts to not lose myself in my son. I take the time to nurture myself as well as him. I work on my business, I read, I exercise, and I spend time with my people who make me happy. I’m not just a mother, or a wife or a teacher, I am a combination of all of these things and more! Plus I have amazing parents and in laws who love me and Braden and who help me to be able to take care of myself and for that I am SO grateful!
I am a good mother because I ask for help AND I take help when its offered, most of the time at least! A support system is so important for us as women and mothers, we MUST take care of each other!
My dad has always told me “be where you’re feet are.” And I’ve always rolled my eyes and moved along. My dad is the one always trying to teach life lessons. Trying to teach me to be patient, to not panic in stressful situations, to not cut corners when I turn while driving. Blah blah. I didn’t appreciate every lesson I should have growing up. But now, as a mom, the “being where your feet are” has suddenly hit me.
I’m the mom that constantly worries. The one who has anxiety. The one who struggles with working while my babies are little because I feel like I’m missing so much. The one who still does panic in situations. I am bad about “babying” my children too much and really bad about planning and organizing. The mom who makes my lists at night and pray it doesn’t get lost or forgotten. I’m the mom who 99% of the time does not know our weekend plans because it’s only Wednesday and I haven’t thought that far. So if all these are my weaknesses, you can only imagine how I am never where my feet are.
When I’m at work I think about my babies, when I’m with my babies, I’m thinking about night time routines to get us to next day, and making sure I reserve my grocery pick up order. On the occasional date night, I’m picking the restaurant that doesn’t have a wait time, and where the food usually arrives quick because I need to get home to put kids in bed and start laundry. I’ve tried to be the other mom. The organized planner with suppers and meals organized for the week, or even the month. It just doesn’t work for us. It doesn’t. Not in our current stage of life. It may one day. And I will look forward to that.
But there is something perfectly imperfect with coming to the realization that your routine might not be your best friends routine. Or your sisters routine. That it’s okay that my toy room looks like a F5 tornado went through It and I can’t pick it up because I’m almost 100% sure the bins the toys were originally supposed to go in, are broken. And my sister’s toy room looks like it belongs in a magazine. And right beside it, a family photo of them. And for a long time, a REALLY long time, all that bothered me. That I wasn’t that mom. I did a lot of comparing. A lot of crying. And then one day I actually heard my dads words. Be where your feet are. And I stopped. And I breathed. And I looked around at the toy room and laughed. And smiled at the laundry. And then played with the Kids. And read to them. And went on a date with my husband. And breathed. Because every stage of life is hard. Every stage. And it really is up to us to decide, and be confident, that we are enough. And if we want our children to also be confident in themselves, we must show them. We must not compare ourself to others. Because we don’t want them to do that.
Sometimes, in the stages of our life we don’t have the energy to BLOOM where we are planted. We only have the energy to BE where are feet are. And there is something so, so special about that.
Nearly four years ago I traded in my 8-5 job to be a Stay at Home Mom to my then one-year-old. Even though I loved my job and I loved working, the thought of staying home with my son was much more appealing. While I knew there would be a few challenges and hiccups during the transition, part of me also thought this would be a walk in the park. And it was……. Jurassic Park. (Just kidding!) Being at home definitely isn’t as easy as it looks or sounds though. You don’t just get to sit around all day cuddling the littles and watching soap operas (or trashy reality television in my case). Just like everything else, there are precious moments & hardships that come along with this job (see my post ‘Surviving Two’ for a little more on that!). Here is a little glimpse into my life and some of what I have learned and experienced as a full-time Stay-at-Home-Boy-Mom.
I quickly learned that being a SAHM means that in addition to keeping your tiny human(s) alive and well, you will also be cleaning…pretty much all day long. When I started this job I had twice the house I have now. Naturally, I thought when we moved to a smaller house I would have less to clean (WIN!). Nope! That’s false. I still clean just as much and maybe even more because I have two tiny humans now and back then I only had one. If I’m not just doing general house cleaning (ie: vacuuming, sweeping, wiping of surfaces), I’m doing laundry, cleaning up toys (I’m ALWAYS cleaning up toys, pick one up and 4 more are tossed down!), cleaning up after a meal, cleaning up after the dogs, cleaning something I missed the last time I cleaned that area, cleaning fingerprints off of all the windows. ENDLESS CLEANING. It never stops. You would think with all that cleaning my house would be spotless all the time, too. Nope, more untruth. There are days that I vacuum the whole house and by the time I get from one end of the house to the other end, you can’t even tell I have vacuumed. (I make cleaning fun by incorporating my kiddos. They are too young right now to realize that cleaning is a chore, it’s still fun to them, so why not let them help!)
Another thing I quickly learned, my days of getting dressed up and “ready” were mostly over. Kinda. I still straighten my hair most days and get blush and mascara on. However, if you find me in something other than a velour jumpsuit or yoga/workout pants, consider yourself lucky! In my opinion and as the ‘doer of all the laundry’, there is no need for me to get dressed in pants or jeans and a cute top and then later that evening when I go to workout, change into my workout gear. I’m not going to see anyone except for my husband and kids so I’ll just dirty up one outfit with snot and lunch particles and save the other for a day when I am out in public trying to blend in with the rest of the world. I call this life lesson, Embracing the Yoga Pants and I challenge other SAHM’s to this as well. You will thank me later!
Playing off the last lesson, I’m also guilty of doing this with my kids. Yeah, I said it. On the days that my oldest doesn’t have preschool and we don’t go outside of the house, I may or may not change my kids out of their pajamas! They don’t seem to mind and my thought is, “why dirty up another outfit and create more laundry?!”. Many of our days are pajama-casual days!
I learned that there would be plenty of days that NOTHING gets accomplished. Some days I had intentions of being so productive and the stars just weren’t aligned in my favor. I’m really hard on myself on these days because I have my own expectations of what I should get done and I’m a creature of habit, so when things don’t go as planned it makes my head spin and throws my whole day off. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how crazy those days make me, they still happen.
In all the madness, I have learned how thankful I am for my friends. I am especially thankful for the friends I have that are in similar situations as me and know the struggle. You know the one(s). The one you can take the kids over to their house, pop open a bottle of wine and vent to in your yoga pants while the kids play in the other room. THAT friend! Friends are essential in getting through not only motherhood but life and I feel so blessed to have great ones.
I also learned that panic and anxiety doesn’t stop when you become a SAHM. I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks and I was sure when I left my 8-5 job I would be leaving that behind as well. Wrong again. I still have anxiety and panic attacks, maybe not the same way I did when I was working outside of the home, but it hasn’t gone away completely and why would it? I’m still working… I still have a job. I just went from servicing insurance policies to full-time housekeeping, chef, teacher, accountant and chauffeur to my much younger bosses. The lesson: every momma has breakdown moments and a SAHM is no exception.
The most important lesson I learned is that this time with my children is priceless. It’s not always going to be perfect. Crankiness, teething, diapers and meltdowns (seriously, Surviving Two <– Read it) will get in the way sometimes. But still, occasionally,
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