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Momlife Truth: I Can’t Do What I Used to Love Because I’m a Mom, and That’s OK.

Momlife Truth: I Can’t Do What I Used to Love Because I’m a Mom, and That’s OK.

There are some little secrets and momlife truths that we don’t really understand or even realize until we’ve been a mom for quite a while. The first year or two is a whirlwind, and while it doesn’t get easier as they get older, the beginning phases of being a mom generally just include holding on for survival. 

But even as our children get older, we don’t really snap back into our old selves. A momlife truth is that we are different, and our lives are different.

Like this momlife truth: Motherhood stops me from doing what I used to love. But that’s ok.

It’s not that I literally can’t. Sure there is a way I could figure it out, make it work. It’s just I don’t really want to anymore.

I’m not interested. Too tired. Outgrown it. The reasons are numerous, but the bottom line is I just can’t do what I used to. And while I’m a little bummed, I can’t say I’m really sad about it.

The truth is, those things wouldn’t really make me happy anymore.

Think about it… What makes you happy now? Do you even know? (besides your kids/family)

It’s not just a matter of remembering. It isn’t just that you’re so tired you can’t quite get a grip on who you used to be and what you used to enjoy, it’s that the person you once were doesn’t exist anymore.

Part of her is still there. She still lingers on the outskirts of your soul.

But now a new woman is inside of you.

You’ve been changed by motherhood.

So even the basic things you enjoy now aren’t the same, or have shifted even if in subtle ways.

I used to love to travel. And for the last four years since I became a mother I have held onto the idea of traveling as hard as I could. I mean, you could try to pull my passport out of my cold dead fingers.

But the reality? It’s not just that travel is nearly impossible right now with a 4 year old and twin 1 year olds, it’s also that I just have lost some of the desire.

The idea of packing up a family of five and traveling anywhere beyond the 2.5 hour trek to my moms, sounds terrible!

And travel isn’t the only thing.

Going out to bars? Wine tasting? Shopping? Knitting? Leisurely strolls through farmers markets followed up by day full of luxuriously cooking rich dishes from expensive ingredients? Even going to the gym?

Nope. None of that is happening.

But it’s taken me the entirety of motherhood thus far to come to grips with the fact that I either can’t or don’t want to do the things I used to love.

But I’ve finally accepted it.

Now that I accepted it? I love it.

I finally realized this… what kind of person would I be if I still had all of the exact same interests I did before I was a mom?

What kind of person would I be if I never tried anything new, or learned anything new?

At the least I would be pretty boring, and the most I’d be really unhappy.

Motherhood forces you out of any and all comfort zones. It’s a crucible. A gauntlet.

Sink or swim. Though really there is only the choice to swim.

Time is precious.

When just having a shower without an extra little body bobbling around in there with you seems like a luxury, you have be super intentional about how you spend that free time.

It’s not just a matter of remembering. It isn’t just that you’re so tired you can’t quite get a grip on who you used to be and what you used to enjoy, it’s that the person you once were doesn’t exist anymore.

Part of her is still there. She still lingers on the outskirts of your soul.

But now a new woman is inside of you.

You’ve been changed by motherhood. Momlife is not the same as single life.

So even the basic things you enjoy now aren’t the same, or have shifted even if in subtle ways.

I used to love to travel. And for the last four years since I became a mother I have held onto the idea of traveling as hard as I could. I mean, you could try to pull my passport out of my cold dead fingers.

But the reality? It’s not just that travel is nearly impossible right now with a 4 year old and twin 1 year olds, it’s also that I just have lost some of the desire.

The idea of packing up a family of five and traveling anywhere beyond the 2.5 hour trek to my moms, sounds terrible!

And travel isn’t the only thing.

Going out to bars? Wine tasting? Shopping? Knitting? Leisurely strolls through farmers markets followed up by day full of luxuriously cooking rich dishes from expensive ingredients? Even going to the gym?

Nope. None of that is happening.

But it’s taken me the entirety of motherhood thus far to come to grips with the fact that I either can’t or don’t want to do the things I used to love.

But I’ve finally accepted it.

Now that I accepted it? I love it.

I finally realized this… what kind of person would I be if I still had all of the exact same interests I did before I was a mom?

What kind of person would I be if I never tried anything new, or learned anything new?

At the least I would be pretty boring, and the most I’d be really unhappy.

Motherhood forces you out of any and all comfort zones. It’s a crucible. A gauntlet.

Sink or swim. Though really there is only the choice to swim.

Time is precious.

When just having a shower without an extra little body bobbling around in there with you seems like a luxury, you have be super intentional about how you spend that free time.

Now that I accepted it? I love it.

I finally realized this… what kind of person would I be if I still had all of the exact same interests I did before I was a mom?

What kind of person would I be if I never tried anything new, or learned anything new?

At the least I would be pretty boring, and the most I’d be really unhappy.

Motherhood forces you out of any and all comfort zones. It’s a crucible. A gauntlet.

Sink or swim. Though really there is only the choice to swim.

Time is precious.

When just having a shower without an extra little body bobbling around in there with you seems like a luxury, you have be super intentional about how you spend that free time.

So I am mindful AF about what I do with my time both while I’m with my kids and alone. 

 

I don’t try to live up to some expectations of what I thought momlife should be life, because now I know the truth of momlife

It’s hard, but it’s incredible. 

All the things I used to love (or at least a lot of them), just aren’t part of my world anymore. Maybe they will be again some day, but right now? Nope. 

And I’m happy with that. Being a mom and living this momlife truth is worth it. 

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28 Best Mom Hacks that Real Moms Swear By

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Can Moms Really Find Balance?

Can Moms Really Find Balance?

Yep I said it. Balance is bullshit.

Do you want to know the truth? The truth is finding complete and perfect balance a myth. If you think about a scale, you have to have the exact amount of weight on each side in order for it to be balanced. And in our lives, that is incredibly hard to do; for most of us, it’s pretty impossible.

Instead, the way that I like to think about it is not that I’m trying to balance everything at once, but I prefer to think of my life’s balance as having an ebb and flow, or seasons. Sometimes it’s high tide and sometimes it’s low tide. Sometimes everything is calm and working like a well oiled machine, and then out of nowhere your toddler gets the stomach bug and you’re up to your elbows in puke.

This is life. Life is messy and can’t be perfectly balanced. Plus, the whole reason we want balance in the first place is for peace of mind! We will have no peace in our lives if we are constantly trying to juggle that perfect ideal. By setting the expectation that we can achieve perfect balance we are setting ourselves up for more stress.

Instead I propose we set the goal of planning for and prioritizing self-care so that we can rest up, get our strength and be ready for when the going gets tough. If we don’t recharge our batteries as often as possible, we won’t have the power to push through those tough times to get ourselves back into an equilibrium.

With me so far? Great. There are two important and essential components to taking this approach to balance in your life: self awareness, and self care.

Self awareness means that you know yourself and how you operate. The key to this is taking the time to look inward, get quiet with yourself, and really understand yourself. The point with self awareness is to get in touch with your goals and how you’re feeling at the time. You should do this on a daily basis to see how you’re progressing, and also periodically to see if you should reevaluate your goals.

The second point, self care, is pretty straightforward: you have to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself. Our kids, husbands, jobs… All of these outside forces are putting pressure on us as moms! And they ask things of us, and need things from us. But if we are not taking care of ourselves, we cannot provide for anyone or anything else.

This is a little overused, but true… It’s like how in the event of an emergency on an airplane, all passengers are told to put their own oxygen mask on before they try to help anyone else. You literally have to equip yourself so that you can help those around you. It’s the same principal here as a mom, a wife, an employee, a friend.

 

Yes, balance is bullshit, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make an attempt at it so long as we have set the correct expectations for ourselves. Figuring out what balance means to us and implementing it the key to thriving and not just surviving in motherhood. So, let’s do this!

3 Reasons It’s Harder for Moms to Keep Resolutions

3 Reasons It’s Harder for Moms to Keep Resolutions

Every year I do it. I try to defy the odds and finally complete just one resolution.

But as the years have gone by, it isn’t getting any easier. In fact, it feels harder! Becoming a mom has not lowered the bar, and it’s clear that there are more than a few reasons that it’s harder for moms to actually complete their resolutions. So let’s talk about some of the top reasons moms have a harder time with resolutions than others.

How about you?

Super stoked about those big New Year’s resolutions you just made?

Don’t wanna be the one to blow the buzzkill horn, but let’s be real. Around 80-90% of resolutions fail. They are hard AF to uphold for most of the world, but for us moms, they are even harder.

But we don’t want you to fail, mama! We want you to crush it, and having the tools and info will help get you on that path to success.

So, let’s talk about three reasons why it’s so much harder for moms to keep resolutions, and what you can do to hack those stumbling blocks so you can actually keep your resolutions this year!

Problem: Multi-tasking and distractions.

The trope of moms not even being able to pee alone is 100% accurate. We even multitask our urination, probably opening a granola bar or some other ridiculois things asked of us by our overlords while we try to use the bathroom.

There is always constant distraction, which leads to the multi-tasking. At this very moment I am typing this into Evernote on my iPhone while my 3 year old sits in my lap and 11 Month old twins crawl around. I have just a few minutes before one of them starts fussing for snacks.

Beyond the fact that my time isn’t fully mine, it’s mostly theirs, there’s this other sneaky little devil called context switching that totally screws productivity. (http://www.apa.org/research/action/multitask.aspx) what is context switching? Basically, it is when you move from one task to another quickly or back and forth between multiple tasks. It takes your brain some time to catch up to the change so you won’t be performing at peak levels of productivity for some time. So if you are constantly multitasking and context switching, it’s like working with one hand behind your back.

All this multi-tasking and context switching makes it so hard for us to focus in on what we are trying to accomplish.

You get zeroed in on an important task for your goals, but keep getting pulled back out until you say “screw it,” and put it off another day. A day we all know never actually comes.

Solution:  Focus. Sounds simple, but with all the things on our plate it can be difficult to chill the hell out for a sec and prioritize. So then we end up doing it all at once. But studies show that multi-tasking actually makes you less productive. Time to cut that out. Don’t freak out mama. I know this sounds like it’s not really all that doable, but just for a second imagine doing (gasp!) one thing at a time.

This will take prioritization, but you can do it.

This means no checking email while fixing breakfast. No chatting on the phone while paying the bills. When we are constantly having our attention pulled in a million directions,

Problem: Busy with #allthethings (we don’t have time).

You lay down in bed at the end of the night, perhaps you know you’ll only get an hour or two of sleep in before a baby cries for their first night feed. You close your eyes and you know that you are so tired and you were so busy today. You did it all, and yet you can’t really remember actually getting anything done!

Solution: Firstly, we need to ditch this idea that we don’t have time. We do. If something is important to us, we will find the time to make it happen. Have a resolution to get in shape? Maybe it is really out of reach to get a sitter to watch your kids three times a week to go to the gym, but you can absolutely throw up some YouTube yoga videos on your Amazon Firestick (my fav way to watch). Then there is what I consider the absolute best exercise for mamas, walking. Load the kids into the stroller or grab their bikes and go outside. It’s family time, exercise and a breath of fresh air all at once.

Next, carve out time in the “Fringe Hours.” I read this book years ago, and I am still obsessed with the concept. We tell ourselves over and over again that we don’t have time for the things that are important to us or light us up because we are busy, busy, and more busy. But how often are you in a period of hurry up and wait? Rushing to get to your child’s school for pickup but then wait for 5 minutes for them to come out? Keep your knitting project or book you’re reading handy. Use those 5 minutes to actually do something related to your resolution instead of just scrolling your Facebook feed.

Problem: We come last and have absolutely no self-care practice.

Do I need to explain? We all understand this right? Everyone comes before us. 

Solution: it’s becoming ridiculous if I’m honest. We talk about self-care all the damn time, and yet so many of us treat it like a luxury. Why? Because a part of us doesn’t truly value ourselves and what we are bringing to the table for our families and ourselves. Think about it. You are either just not prioritizing yourself, or you are putting yourself last. Would you let a friend do that? No.

It’s time we became our own best friends. Held our own hands. How do you expect to reach a goal or complete your resolution when you consistently put your own needs and goals on the back burner?

I know, I know. You’re probably like me and think you should be able to handle it all, right? And the thing is, you can mama. You have the capacity to do and accomplish so much. But you can’t do it when you’re reserves are at zero.

I’m not going to sit here and pretend there won’t be times when things are really hard and you just need to put on your big girl panties and push through. But that’s why it is so critical that during the more calm moments in motherhood. Those precious days and weeks when all is well. Ya know, when there’s no teething or stomach bugs or growth spurts. During those times take time to refill your cup.

 At the end of the day (or beginning of the year) you just have to make a commitment to yourself mama. Focus. Focus on you.

Beyond the fact that it will add to your own level of well-being, isn’t this the example you want to set? One of a woman who has boundaries? A woman who goes for what she wants? A woman who isn’t afraid to say no to other’s outrageous expectations, and yes to her own dreams? 

Yeah??? So let’s do it mama! I believe in you. 

Want to supercharge your chances of crushing it this year? Check these oldies but goodies from right here on the blog:

http://momuprising.com/2018/08/30/5-productivity-tips-for-mom-entrepreneurs/

http://momuprising.com/2018/06/29/5truthsaboutmoms/

http://momuprising.com/2018/06/07/worklifebalanceinmotherhood/

5 Truths About All Moms: Ending the Stay at Home Mom vs. Working Mom Debate

5 Truths About All Moms: Ending the Stay at Home Mom vs. Working Mom Debate

I’ve been reading a lot lately about the differences between the stay at home mom vs. working mom. Maybe I’m spending too much time in comment sections, but I see a lot of petty snarkiness. 

Working moms feel judged and misunderstood. Stay at home moms (SAHM) want to make it clear that “all mom’s are working moms,” a sentiment that I heartily agree with, but then struggle to find the nomenclature that describes the reality that I leave my children in the morning for paid work and then return to them at night.

It’s easy to see how a battle of stay at home mom vs working mom seems inevitable. But the more I read from both sides feeling judged and misunderstood, the more frustrated I get. In fact, at this point, I’d like to call “Foul!” on the working mom vs. SAHM fight.

We really aren’t so different from each other. One of us certainly isn’t superior to the other. In fact, here are five truths that apply to BOTH working and stay-at-home moms:

Truth #1: We didn’t always choose this path.

Those of us who work for pay usually need to in order to support our families. Even if we are barely getting by during the day-care years, many of us know we have to stay in the workforce to keep our job and our level of pay when are kids are in school where childcare costs might go down a tad.

We might actually be the primary breadwinners, but our spouse needs to or want to work as well. But being a working mom isn’t always a deliberate choice we make. Same goes for SAHMs. I know plenty of SAHM who didn’t make enough to cover childcare, or got laid-off, or had flexible work schedules that turned them into the primary caregiver for their children without it entirely being their plans.

We need to stop pretending that, after having a child, a woman is faced with a golden angel who presents two paths: the paid work path and the stay-at-home path and it is really just up to our desires and conscious about which path we choose. We all know it is not nearly that simple, nor is it often that kind of a choice!

Truth #2: We have (many) days when we wish we were somewhere else.

I struggle with Monday mornings. Seriously struggle. It’s hard to get out of bed. I feel sad and desolate as I leave the house before my children wake up, and think about how I won’t see them again until 5:30 pm. At various parts of my workday I wish I was home, doing a puzzle with my daughter, or being there for for my son’s school pick up.

I struggle with Sunday mornings. My children wake up at 7:00am on the dot, ready to need me, to ask me to play with them, to climb all over me, to demand my constant attention. There are dishes to do, people to feed, laundry to start. At various parts of the day I look forward to tomorrow when I can sit at my desk, flooded with work, but where I control a tiny bit more of my own destiny.

I’ve been a stay-at-home mom and struggled with the tedious nature of it, the constant need, the realization that I haven’t showered in a while. I’m a working mom who feels an underlying guilt of always neglecting someone or something. They are both hard. And they both have rough days when we fantasize about being the other type of mom. Being a working mom and a SAHM means we sometimes (often) wish we were somewhere else.

 

Truth #3: We still do the brunt of the housework.

The American Time Use Survey (released in June, 2015) shows that women still do more housework and more childcare than men, even if they are also working for pay. You can read more here and here, but my favorite quote from the study is this one:

“–On an average day, 20 percent of men did housework–such as cleaning or laundry–compared with 49 percent of women. Forty-three percent of men did food preparation or cleanup, compared with 69 percent of women. Men were slightly more likely to engage in lawn and garden care than were women–11 percent compared with 8 percent. ”

This findings come 27 years after Arlie Russell Hochschild’s revolutionary book The Second Shift, all about how working women face the same home demands of the SAHMs of the past. Ladies, it doesn’t matter if we stay-at-home, work-at-home, or leave home to work. We’re still usually doing more than the dudes when it comes to house, home and kids.

Truth #4: There are too many balls up in the air

One of the truths about being a parent is that the minute you had that baby (or even had that positive pee test) is you just added about a dozen items to your to-do list. And most of them will never be done. Ready to feed the baby? Great! You got that done – now do it again in 45 minutes! Ready to make lunches for school? Great! Do it all over again in 24 hours, now with the added challenge of running out of bread! When you are a working mom you have multiple projects and demands at work, and the minute you step back into your home you have all the needs of your children, home and family back in you head. When you are a SAHM you have a ton of things you need to do to keep your house running, you children functioning, get everyone where they need to be going, and you do it day in and day out. We all have too much going on, and every day that we pull it off we should celebrate.

 

Truth #5: We need some love

Parents have it rough. Moms have it rough. Everyone needs things from us all the time. Sometimes (often) we forget to take care of ourselves. It doesn’t matter if you are a SAHM or a working mom: you need some love! All moms understand this. Even when we are all at little jealous of the other one (see truth #2) or even when we feel doubt about the mom-path we are on, we all owe it to ourselves and each other to show some love. Give your mom friends a minute to talk about their work, or their stressors with their kids, even if it feels like it might be a struggle to understand where they are coming from. Show some appreciation to a mom who is on a different path than yours. It won’t devalue the work and the parenting you do to acknowledge that, yeah, this mom thing is HARD! No matter which way you slice it, it is darn hard work.

I’ll close with one of my favorite thoughts about being a mom from Tina Fey’s Bossypants. She writes:

“Of course I’m not supposed to admit [as a working mom] that there is a triannual torrential sobbing in my office, because it’s bad for the feminist cause. It makes it harder for women to be taken seriously in the workplace. It makes it harder for other working moms to justify their choice. But I have friends who stay at home with their kids and they also have a triannual sob, so I think we should call it even. I think we should be kind to one another about it. I think we should agree to blame the children.”

 

We have more in common that we might think, no matter what parenting path we’re on. There is no need to feel like it is stay at home mom vs. working mom. Show love and kindness to each other and we can get it in return. And when in doubt: blame the children.

Marie Levey-Pabst is a parent educator and founder of Create Balance. She uses the very practical Create Balance Method to teach parents how to create balance between family, work, and personal fulfillment. Read more at the Create Balance Blog at her website: www.createbalancedlife.com

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Self-care Isn’t Selfish, but Moms Still Feel Shame for Needing It…

Self-care Isn’t Selfish, but Moms Still Feel Shame for Needing It…

How many times have you heard that self-care is essential as a mom? But the thing is… we don’t do it. Is it because we still don’t know in our bones that self-care isn’t selfish?

We chalk it up to not having the time. But the truth? Is something more insidious… and it has to do with shame and our inability to truly feel that self-care isn’t selfish.

Moms are being shamed left and right nowadays.

For breastfeeding. Not Breastfeeding. Giving their kids junk food. Being too strict with gluten-free or organic food. Staying at home or not staying at home.

But who is shaming us the most?

Ourselves.

(Just a heads up this post contains affiliate links, which help support this blog.)

We all talk and know about mom guilt, but the truth is we are feeling something more like shame than guilt.

What’s the difference? To quote the always wise Brené Brown:

“I believe that guilt is adaptive and helpful – it’s holding something we’ve done or failed to do up against our values and feeling psychological discomfort.

I define shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.”

(To read more from Brene Brown, check out her book Rising Strong on Amazon.)

 

Is fear holding us back from self-care?

Whoa. Is that it? Self-care isn’t selfish, but do we still believe it and fear that we are selfish for needing a little time alone?

Are we afraid that by not just needing, but wanting, alone time (time for self-care) away from our children that somehow we are unworthy of connection with them?

Do we believe that wanting time alone makes us bad mothers because it means we are selfish? So much so that we don’t deserve our children’s love, and therefore if we take that alone time risk the possibility that they will not love us anymore?

For me. Yes. Many times when I leave to go shopping or even just leave the room to use the bathroom, my toddler cries and screams for me, even if she is under the expert care of my husband or her grandparents.

Lately she only wants me. Part of me is so happy about this because it confirms in my mind that I am a rockstar mom. Part of me is confused because it makes me wonder if the attachment she has to me is normal or if we may have a problem. Part of me just wants to run out of the house and be alone for a while.

But my biggest fear eating away at me underneath it all is that big fear of losing the love and connection that I have with my daughter. I worry my “selfish” need for some time alone, for some self-care is going to sever our bond.

I wonder, what if this one time I give her to her Dad and walk away to hear screams, will this be the time she decides she’s done with me?

Now, I know how absurd that sounds. That will not happen. Ever. Parents need to do something exceptionally wrong to their children, and probably do that thing repeatedly to really lose the love and trust of their child. Nevertheless, it is a fear.

This is not the only thing that is causing me shame though.

The very idea that I want to have time alone makes me feel like I’m unworthy of the love and connection I have with my daughter.

What mother wants to be away from her kid?

Well… This one.

I need it. Sometimes I just need to close the bathroom door. Grab the keys and go. Take a nap without having someone else attached to me. Sometimes I can actually accomplish this without guilt and shame because I’ve convinced myself that self-care isn’t selfish.

But not always…

Many times there this intense feeling of shame for (gasp) actually being a human who can’t be everything to everyone all the time, but (speaking of time) I constantly feel time slipping away.

My daughter is growing. Getting older. She’s like a tiny woman sometimes with her insights and big personality.

Every second I spend away from her I’m missing it.

What if I go away for a day, and in that time she stocks mispronouncing basket as “spacket,” and I never hear her utter that little word again?

My heart just broke even considering that inevitability.

The sweet and sour part of motherhood is that, while we will be a mother for eternity, we will not be the same mother for eternity.

Our children grow.

We grow.

They change.

We change.

This tiny moment in time will not last.

So the shame of needing even a second of that time away from those precious beings is even more poignant.

And yet the fact remains.

You can’t pour from an empty cup.

All the love we have for those little rugrats will not be expressed in it’s best form if we are constantly overtired and underinspired.

I’ve heard people refer to this as needing to find balance, an equilibrium, having seasons in life… yada yada yada.

The bottom line is, what are you willing to sacrifice and when?

Will you allow this shame and fear to prevent you from taking the time you need for yourself? Or do you suck it up and keep on momming?

For me, I have no idea.

Honestly, I know self-care isn’t selfish, but sometimes I still feel this pull of guilt when I carve out time for myself.

I’m doing the best I can to go with the flow and get the occasional piece of time for myself.

What about you?

How do you stay sane? How do you practice self-care? What would you need to do to convince yourself that self-care isn’t selfish? Comment below and let us know!

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