Mom life is work. Mom life is hard. Mom life will be the best and the hardest thing you will ever do. Throw in a full time job and mom life is simply exhausting but so rewarding. Simply put — mom life is bittersweet. I wanted to say mostly sweet but the truth is that it isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. It isn’t always full of cute mommy and me outfits and it sure as hell isn’t as sweet as the pictures we so carefully stage. I just want you to know that it is okay to acknowledge that mom life is HARD. I want you to know that you are not alone.
MY JOURNEY IN MOTHERHOOD
When I was planning to become a mom, the first things on my mind were cute baby clothes, an adorable nursery, and naming my baby. I never really thought about the sleepless nights, endless diapers, spit up and dreadful car rides. Honestly, with my first, I had all of the sweet things. Sure times were tough occasionally but for the most part, being a mom to just my daughter was pretty easy.
Once I had my daughter Kalie, I was pretty convinced that I could easily manage six kids. I was ready to start planning for baby number two just a few months after having Kalie. My husband was completely okay with it because he just didn’t want to be an “old” dad. He just wanted to have the babes back to back so that when one grew up, the next wasn’t long behind.
At the time, we had already had my stepson, Carter, who lives with us full time. Carter was 9 when Kalie was born. And to Matt, my husband, that meant time was ticking away to keep him from being that old dad he always talked about. It wasn’t long before I was pregnant with Kyler.
Initially, I was super excited and so ready for this next adventure of a pregnancy. Then, it hit me. I couldn’t just nap when I wanted to. I couldn’t run out for cookie dough ice cream whenever I felt like it. I now had a 9 month old that needed me and I was prego. You see, the first time around was easy. There was no other baby to care for. There were no other things holding me back from just enjoying my pregnancy — eating and sleeping when I wanted to.
Flash forward to when Kyler was born and wow! Life got chaotic really fast. I can honestly say that I would not have survived without the help of my husband. Having two babies so close together takes a lot of patience and teamwork. It definitely hasn’t always been pretty or easy but it has been so worth it.
I AM NOT A TERRIBLE MOM
I beat myself up so many times thinking I am a less than average mom because I get stressed, angry, upset and frustrated with my children sometimes. I don’t like to admit that but that is the truth. Sometimes I raise my voice and I don’t mean to. Sometimes I don’t rub their back for as long as they demand I do. Sometimes I don’t color or read with them. Sometimes I just simply don’t do the things I feel I “should” do. It isn’t because I love them any less. It isn’t because I don’t want to. Trust me — I want to do all of these things, all of the time but I also have other responsibilities. It is all about balance between work, mom life, your husband, your friends, the cleaning, paying the bills, grocery shopping, laundry and more. Not to mention, taking time for yourself.
Ah there it is. Taking time for yourself. Sounds selfish, doesn’t it?
I am here to tell you that it is NOT. I am here to help you see the importance of self-care in your own mom life so that you don’t lose yourself in motherhood the way I did. Taking care of yourself does not mean that you do not love your children. It doesn’t mean you are a weak mom. It does not mean that you shouldn’t have had babies. It simply means that you are taking care of you to be able to better care for your family. It simply means that you acknowledge your feelings and that you realize it is okay to have some negative ones every now and again. It is okay to acknowledge that this is hard work. It is okay to take time to recharge.
OVERCOMING THE NEGATIVE MOM THOUGHTS
Each moment I spend with my kids is a gift. And today, a little over a year since my son was born, i’m still saying it is bittersweet. I am a full time working mom with a full time working husband. We have Carter who is now 11, Kalie (2), and Kyler (1). Every day is an adventure and my type A personality has lost all abilities to plan out our life, keep our house spotless and worry over every detail to try and maintain perfection. and guess what? THAT IS OKAY!
There are so many days that the floors of my house are covered in toys. There are days I refresh the laundry in the dryer 3 or 4 times before folding it. Hell — there are weeks that go by where every laundry basket we own is filled to the brim with clean, unfolded clothing because there just wasn’t time to fold it or we were just too tired. I’m not proud of it but there are weeks my kids eat chicken nuggets twice in one week because we needed a quick dinner. I have skipped bath nights. I have gone days without taking the kids outside to play. My point here is that we don’t have to be perfect. We don’t have to be a super human. When these things are falling behind or not getting done, there is more family time, more movie nights, more snacks on the deck. It takes balance.
So how do I keep it together?
Well, for a while I didn’t. Then I realized the importance of nurturing myself so that I could better nurture my family. Self-care has become a huge part of my life. Whether I take time to run, do a HIIT workout, read a book, listen to a meditation, sit outside or make a craft — I know this is an important part of my life. Without these things to nourish me and fill my cup, I am empty. I can’t give myself to others if I don’t first give to myself.