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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Balance is Bullsh*t and What to Do Instead of Trying to Balance it All

Balance is Bullsh*t and What to Do Instead of Trying to Balance it All

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!

What Self-Care Really Means for Moms? Being Your OWN Mom.

What Self-Care Really Means for Moms? Being Your OWN Mom.

Self-care as a mom is almost a joke at this point. It seems like some luxury we will never be rich enough to afford either with enough money or time. We feel like we are always running on a deficit of either income or sleep.

But self-care isn’t about the mani/pedi’s and girls weekends we know we should do but can’t. It’s about the basics sometimes. It’s about finally taking ownership of our own well-being. Self-care as a mom is about learning to be your own mom. Self-care as a mom is about learning to mother yourself in the big and small ways.

“You’re going to need two root canals.” the dentist said.

My heart sank and my stomach tied itself in 5,000 knots.

I had never had any dental issues beyond an occasional cavity, and yet here I was at 31 needing not one, but two root canals! I knew it was coming. I had a sense something wasn’t right for a while, but it wasn’t until my daughter needed to go to the dentist that I relented and made an appointment for myself.

This was my first time at the dentist in 4 years.

Yes. Go ahead. Shake your finger at me and tell me how bad I am. I should be going twice a year. I know. If I would have been keeping up with going to the dentist, I never would have needed two root canals.

But in the throes of motherhood, this small thing just kept being pushed off and pushed off. My kids got to the appointments they needed, but me? My own health was always put on the back burner.

As I sit typing this, I am halfway through this dental work, having had one tooth done, and another one coming soon.

Beyond the obvious discomfort this caused, it’s also costing thousands of dollars that our insurance doesn’t cover, and it also made me realize something about my emotional state. To say this is an inconvenience is definitely an understatement.

A big part of the reason I didn’t go to the dentist sooner was because I just didn’t think I had enough pain. Sure there was the occasional discomfort, but I wasn’t in agony. I wasn’t in constant pain, and so I thought it wasn’t that big of a deal. I minimized it. I compartmentalized it. The dentist was shocked I wasn’t in agony, but I believed it was just mind over matter. So I blocked the pain out. I didn’t believe my pain was valid or necessary, so I put it in the back of my mind and refused to feel it.

Do you do this? Whether it’s skipping dentist or doctor appointments, or maybe it’s making sure the kids are always on time for their myriad of after-school activities, but then when it comes to being on time for yourself and the things that light you up, it just doesn’t happen.

I have to admit that when it comes to doing anything for myself, I just… don’t.

And I’m not just talking about the fun stuff like mani’s and pedi’s. I’m talking about the necessary, like not waiting until the final day to make sure I have health insurance from the marketplace.

Perhaps it’s about nourishing my body with healthy food. Some days I look at the clock and realize it’s 3pm and all I’ve ingested so far is black coffee.

I have totally suck at adulting when it comes to caring for myself.

But there is one aspect of life where I totally rock as an adult, and that is in motherhood.

My kids are happy, cared for, nurtured, loved, and have all their needs met.

One day it clicked.

It wasn’t enough for me to just care for my kids. It wasn’t enough to just be there for them. I needed to be there for myself too.

I needed to be my own mom.

Yeah of course I have a mom, but I’m a little past the age of having her make my dental appointments for me, or ensuring that I’m fed.

I love going home to my mom’s for a weekend and just letting her feed me, but that is the exception, not the rule. Someone needs to take on this role of mother to me the other 99% of the time, and who else will if not me?

This created a whole new framework that I have used to build a way of caring for myself, and it meant that the term “self-care” took on a different meaning. It no longer had a feeling of superfluousness or luxury, but instead turned to mean survival (not to mention thriving).

Viewing the idea of self-care through this lens of learning to mother myself, and being my own mom made it more clear what I needed to focus on. Instead of making it all about these superfluous things that I didn’t view myself as needed, I got back to the basics. 

It wasn’t about long bubble baths anymore, it was about making sure my basic care was included in my plans. 

When I called to make those doctor’s appointments for the kids, I took the extra 5 minutes to make on for myself. Instead of letting the gas tank get to E, I stopped for a top up. Instead of wearing yoga pants with holes, I decided to spend the $20 on a new pair.

 Self-care as a mom is not so far out of reach if we start to change our mindset around it. If we begin to look at this way, we start to see it as an essential piece of our lives. The essential piece that it in fact is, even if we ignore many times.

Are there weeks where we come last? Sure. But that needs to be true of our kids too. There must be times where we come first because that whole cliche of pouring from an empty cup is true. We need to take the time to fill ourselves up, and be fierce about take the time to do that. 

We can’t just mama bear the kids. We need to mama bear ourselves and our own most basic care. 

So while I am not a proponent for letting my kids cry. Go ahead, put the baby in the pack and play, let her fuss and go have that nice 5-minute shower, brush your teeth, and throw on some new clothes. The world will not end, and if you looked at yourself as if you were your own mom, if you started approaching self-care as a mom in this way, things will start to change little by little.

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This Real Mom Says Attachment Parenting is for Lazy Parents

This Real Mom Says Attachment Parenting is for Lazy Parents

written by Sarah of RealSimpleMama.com

We attachment parents like to think of ourselves as martyrs. The benefits of attachment parenting are undeniable, but sometimes we lose that focus by dramatizing in an attempt to look selfless and noble.

The media doesn’t help this misconception, portraying us as half-crazed self-righteous hippies. Our argument is always that we are doing what’s best for the child, and we are sacrificing so much in order to do so. And while I do believe that attachment parenting is usually the ideal way to parent (for both parents and children), this perception isn’t exactly reality.

 

It turns out, we’re also just lazy.

 

There. I said it. The internet now knows the truth! (And if it’s on the interwebs it must be true, right?).

 

attachment parenting is for lazy parents. Bedsharing, breastfeeding and babywearing make life easier for moms and dads

Attachment parentings is for lazy parents.

Attachment parenting is for lazy parents

When I started my blog, I wanted a succinct name for my website. My emphasis was going to be on attachment parenting and its three pillars: breastfeeding, cosleeping, and baby wearing. My name, “real simple mama,” came from the image I wanted to portray: that what’s best for the mama and child is also usually what’s the simplest.

Let me break it down this way – of course all parenting styles have pick-and-choose concepts, AP included. But you’ll probably find that you just need a lot less stuff. For example, breastfeeding eliminates the need for formula and bottles (even more so if you are lucky enough to stay at home, since you won’t need to pump!). No warming up water in the middle of the night, no powder to mix and no horribly smelly diapers. No, just whip a boob out and you’re good to go. Free, convenient, simple.

AP also loooves to emphasize the health benefits of breastfeeding for mom and baby, which are all certainly true: Mom has reduced risk of cancer, loses baby weight faster, the uterus shrinks back down faster, and she gets a delightful cocktail of endorphins in her system. Baby gets custom-made nourishment from the tap which has over 300 ingredients, as well as comfort from an irreplaceable bond with Mama. But really, it’s just so much easier to breastfeed! Fight through the first few weeks of newborn nursing, and you’ve got it made.

Cosleeping is the greatest. Seriously, I love it. I never planned to bedshare with my kids, but now I can’t imagine doing it any other way. It greatly reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in babies (if done safely and correctly), makes it easier to breastfeed in the night, gets everyone more sleep, and gives you peace of mind that baby’s ok… Because they’re right there! And if you bedshare you also lose the crib, mattress, pad, sheets… Less junk. Hey these are all fantastic reasons. But you forgot about the “I don’t have to get out of bed all night even though I have two kids under three.” See what I mean? Lay-ZEE.

And who could forget about my dear baby wearing? With two kids, I would be seriously screwed if I didn’t baby wear. (Or honestly, my baby would just have to sit in a bouncer or swing a lot, which isn’t fair to her). Baby wearing is what baby wants: to be close to Mama, to have body temp regulated, to hear Mama’s heartbeat like they did in the womb, to help stabilize breathing. Mama benefits from it too: baby is right with you, you have hands free to do chores or errands or unproductive activities, and did I mention you can nurse hands-free in these things?!

I think the most beautiful thing about being AP is that I just follow my heart. This became glaringly apparent the first night my firstborn was home. We had a scare, I had to call 911; while he ended up being ok, I was terrified to sleep without being able to see him. We brought his small bassinet into bed with us, and have not looked back since. Cosleeping is what I had needed to calm my heart, and it’s worked beautifully. I’ll always be grateful that I did what I felt was right, even though I didn’t know anyone else who had bed shared.

Now my infant daughter wants to be with me all the time, and the only way I can meet her needs and not stop everything is for me to wear her. She’s a breastfeeding champion and loves cuddling in bed with me; her needs are simple, and they’re easily met. AP is literally just a no-brainer – you do what comes naturally to you, and trust your gut. Less thinking, less worry, less stuff, less complex.

I know that new mothers are given advice from everybody in every direction, whether they want it or not. And when you have that first child, you’re so terrified that you’re going to screw them up. But let everything settle down and it will all start to make sense. You will start to recognize your child’s different cries, and will be able to anticipate what they need. The baby will start to sleep a little bit longer at a time, and you will feel like a human being again. And one day you will pause, realizing that you actually have a pretty good groove going on. Those instincts, that sixth sense, they’re there for a reason. It is hardwired into us as Homo sapiens and has been there for 200,000 years. And the attachment parenting benefits continue throughout your child’s life… and yours.

Attachment parenting really just takes so much of the unnecessary junk, literally and figuratively, out of raising children. AP tells you that it is OK to trust your heart. And that is the simplest, and most beautiful, thing of all.

“What good mothers and fathers instinctively feel like doing for their babies is usually best after all.”– Benjamin Spock

Sarah lives in south Texas with her high school sweetheart and their two amazing children, Kiddo and Tiny. A former music educator, Sarah now divides her free time between the kitchen, the laundry, and diaper duty. Even with endless messes, being a stay-at-home mom is the best job she’s ever had! Read her stories, advice and reviews at RealSimpleMama.com or follow her on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.

You can also read some of Sarah’s other super informative posts on attachment parenting and the benefits of attachment parenting:

http://realsimplemama.com/real-simple-my-ap/

http://realsimplemama.com/category/breastfeeding/

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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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