It’s the start of another new year! Another year to improve on ourselves, try new things, and be amazing! This means a lot of different things for people, but for me it starts at the blessing of being a mom. I don’t know about you, but at the start of each day, I strive to be a better mom than I was the day before. It’s a daily effort and struggle! I’ve been learning lots of lessons along the way, though, that have helped me to crawl out of what feels like an out of control whirlwind into a mild wind storm. Motherhood can be tough and sometimes you feel like you’re out there dangling by a thread and wondering how you will survive another day. BUT, we do it! We may not do it perfectly but we do the best we can with what we have!
I’ve taken what I have learned so far on my very early journey as a mom – working towards sanity, acceptance, and improvement – and broken them down into little tips and reminders that I pray will help you as much as they are helping me!
- YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Being a stay at home mom can be a very isolating, lonely, frustrating, and wonderful job. I did say job. Because it is. You don’t know until you’ve done it, right!? And yes, I am blessed to have all this time with my son and I’m truly thankful for the opportunity. That doesn’t negate the fact that there are very real emotions that come with it. For 2 years I have felt that I just didn’t have it together. That everyone else was handling this mom thing way better than I was. I was convinced that I had to do it all with ease and a smile on my face. I thank GOD for the many resources I have stumbled upon to help me realize that its crazy to think that way. Once I started looking, I discovered that instead of being the minority, I’m in the majority group of women struggling to do their best and fearing it’s not enough. Among the many wonderful resources I have read, the book Hope For The Weary Mom has been a blessing! I had reached the bottom and knew I needed someone or something in my life that I could relate to. As I read through this book, I slowly realized that what my husband had been telling me was true. I’m not a bad mom. I’m not screwing up. I’m not alone!! There are so many other women and moms out there that feel the emotions I feel. Outnumbered, overwhelmed, alone, and imperfect! The struggle is real.
- Picking Your Priorities. With all the household work, attempting to keep toys picked up, keeping up with social media and emails, and the blogging I would love to do (and don’t get enough time to work on) – I have learned that I HAVE to prioritize. Does busy work come before time with my little man? Not anymore!! I’m a doer. I’m used to getting things done; which was a HUGE life change when I brought my little angel home. It’s been a difficult path for me. However, I now fully accept that I’m home to be with my son. Time to stop missing out on quality time to work on my ‘to do list’. I’m choosing to join him for another pretend picnic, or another destructive game of cars and trains. He is my world and nothing else will come first. Yes, my emails are backing up. YES- the floor has more toys scattered about than there used to be. Dishes still piled up? Yep. No, I don’t always get to work on what I want, or sit down to read a book in peace and quiet. There will be time for that later. Time when I will miss my child’s laughter, and watching him learn and have fun. My advice is to love and enjoy your children first and foremost. We are blessed to be their mothers, and for this season of our lives, that is the absolute most important thing.
- Don’t forget other relationships. Not only am I a mom, I’m a wife. Can’t forget that (but so easy to sometimes). This is so important when I’m remembering that I’m not alone. I can’t make all decisions myself. There is more than one way to do things; even when I feel like my way is obviously the best way. Compromise is essential. Whether that relationship is with a husband, a parent, or someone at a daycare. Communicating and doing what is best for your child is key. There have many times that I have been wrong or when my way isn’t the best way. It’s hard to give up some of that control, but respect for others involved in your child’s life can never be wrong.
- Kids don’t develop the same. This was a big struggle for me early on in Marc’s life. There are books and websites with guidelines of when your child should reach certain milestones. The quiz that I’m given at every one of my son’s doctor appointments is enough to make me want to check off that he does in fact do these tasks! At least occasionally! Is he SUPPOSED to be doing them all?? I’ve driven myself crazy with what my son ‘should be’ doing. If that is you – STOP. If there isn’t anything medically that concerns you or your doctor, you really should try so hard to let go. I’m still working on this. My son is smart as a whip. He’s figuring things out so fast and accomplishing tasks that amaze his father and I. However, he doesn’t feel the need to talk our ears off about it. Oh sure, he’s jabbering in his own language, repeating what he chooses to, and gets his point across clearly without speaking it. Do my friends have kids that are giving speeches at this same age? Yep. Does it frustrate me to no end? Yep. All I can do is keep working with him, wait for God’s perfect timing, stop looking at developmental guidelines, and be so proud of him for the accomplishments he has made!
- Take care of yourself! That’s what I heard from the time my son was born. Yeah, it does sound like a good idea. However, when you are trying to be superwoman there is no time for that. I’ve happily, and finally learned that lesson. I know now that I am of no use to anyone when I’m at my boiling point. I’m not a good mom or wife when I’m exhausted and stretched thin. My body needs good food, vitamins, and sleep (IF and WHEN I can get it). I need some ME time to recharge and to not lose sense of who I am and what I enjoy. I’m blessed to have people in my life that are willing to watch my sweet boy for a few hours so I can get away (even though I don’t call in these favors very frequently). I suggest utilizing every resource you have. I assure you that most women you know will gladly step in to allow you a break! We gotta support each other! Even if it’s putting aside the ‘to do list’ we frantically bust out during nap times, to take a long hot shower! Get your nails done, take your own much-needed nap, go shopping, sit in your car and read a few chapters of a good book (see suggestions below!), or go get a Starbucks. Make it a priority. Or you’ll snap. And that isn’t fun for anyone. If you’re trying and you still feel like a monster or you just can’t get back to yourself, don’t feel ashamed to talk to your doctor. Sometimes the bravest of women have to ask for a little help! I’m thankful that I finally did so myself, and I strongly encourage you to do the same if you reach that point!
These thoughts and goals are of course my own. My road to where I am today, has been a long, difficult, and lonely feeling one at times. We moms have to remember to be understanding of each other. We are all at different levels of this game and for some of us the struggle is more intense and more hidden. Like I mentioned earlier, the emotions are real! There is anger and frustration. Again – you are not alone. Reading the books Triggers, and She’s Gonna Blow have shown me that there is a way to get a grip on those emotions and diffuse it. With my boys, I only get to read a few pages at a time, but I promise you that the very few minutes you have will not be wasted on these readings.
If you are blessed with boys such as myself and feeling outnumbered or defeated, check out the MOB Society. It has been a LIFESAVER for me! Brooke McGlothlin co-wrote the previously mentioned book Hope for the Weary Mom. She also has written many other amazing books including How to Control Your Emotions, So they don’t control you. Her blog, Facebook posts and other readings will leave you feeling like you have a new best friend on the path to raising boys! This is a starting point; keep searching – there are so many groups and studies and blogs that can help you!!
I’ll be on this wonderful journey for life and I’m so very thankful for what I’ve learned and the loved ones I have by my side! There are so many people out there to connect to for strength and hope! Find what works for you to bring a peace to your heart and to keep you afloat so you can begin to thrive! Keep digging! Don’t be afraid of your situation or asking for help and let’s make 2017 a blessed year for us and our families!
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