Monday, February 22, 2016

Loving The Hard Moments of Being A Mom

This is our last blog post revolving around February’s theme of “Love”. This was a hard topic for me to tackle this week. We wanted a post that talked about loving, and I decided to write about the difficulty I have in loving the current stage my life is in right now, being a stay-at-home mom to two small children. I find it incredibly hard to stay positive and energized to tackle each day. Balancing the responsibilities of caring for my family and myself, I think is one of the hardest parts of being a stay-at-home parent. Several months after our second child was born I calculated how much time I was able to get away from the kids per month. In one month, in general, I got 4-6 hours of freedom.  Once I realized how little time I got away from my house and kids, it made sense why I feel burned out as a mother. I came to the realization that I wasn’t crazy, but instead the situation was making me crazy.

There isn’t much I can do about getting a break. Like most families we don’t have the financial resources to pay for childcare/preschool/babysitter and we don’t have a family support system locally to help with the struggles of raising a young family. I am still struggling with the balancing act of trying to be what I consider a good mother, while not losing myself. I don’t just want to be the mother of two children and wife to my husband. I used to have an identity, I was my own person with my own interests. I didn’t realize choosing to stay home with our children would entail resigning all the things I did that made me, me. All the things that kept me balanced and happy. Since our kids were born I do almost none of things I did before having kids and have had to redefine how I see myself. And redefining yourself is freaking hard work, learning new habits, new ways of thinking, new hobbies, new friends….it is hard.

With all the change, and growth in the past four years I sometimes get lost in wishing about the future and going back to work, or worse, getting lost in self-loathing and negativity. One of my New Year’s resolutions this year is to work on being present with my kids more and to enjoy the stage we are currently in. I can’t change our circumstances - my husband works two jobs and is in graduate school. We only have so much money, and we don’t have local family. I can’t change these things, but I can change my attitude. I don’t want to look back at this part of my life and see stress and angst, nor do I want other people to view me that way. I want to be able to look back at this stage and smile and remember the happy moments.
To help with feeling less frazzled I have cut back on commitments. I used to be in two mom’s groups and am now just in one. My husband and I also decided to take our oldest out of one of her two extracurricular activities. The next thing I want to start working on is our morning routine, to help our days start with less stress. I am hoping this will help me in not becoming exhausted with the kids by 8:30.  I also want to work on spending most mornings with the kids instead of chores and errands. Lastly, I want to try and change my attitude. I want to be more patient with my kids, and work on handling stressful situations better. I am not sure how I am going meet this last step, but hopefully through reflection I can start to make small changes.
I have to accept that I can’t do everything, and that energy and time are finite. I have to decide what is more important, what do I want to remember after this phase has passed? And then I have to have the strength, motivation, and perseverance to do it and to keep doing it.

What do you do to help keep yourself sane? How do you stay motivated caring for your children?

Written by: Shawna

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