I’m in a season of life where my children are still pretty small. Everyday they are growing more independent, and I try my best to not do everything for them. I really rejoice in moments wherein they take it upon themselves to do something that they would normally ask me to do…well expect me to do for them. Just this morning while I was getting ready Cooper pulled a chair to the kitchen counter and got two donuts from the container that they were sitting in on top of the kitchen counter. One donut for himself and one donut for his sister. He hadn’t even asked me prior to this act to get one. He just did it and came to tell me what he’d done. I was so proud. I was so happy he’d taken that tiny little task off my plate. Because the thing is when you have tiny littles running around, they are demanding things from you every single second. It can be eternally exhausting.
You carry these precious babes inside your body for nine months. That is exhausting. I disliked being pregnant – so I have maybe a more negative slant on the whole thing than most…but it just felt like my life force was being sucked from me. I love my children and I’m so grateful for two healthy pregnancies and births. But listen. That doesn’t mean that I can’t express how I hated the whole thing. My point though – is that for nine months they demand the full attention of your entire body and mind and soul in order to grow into a whole little human. And then – they are born and they still need you for absolutely everything. I mean listen. I’m 33 years old and I still depend on my mom for tons of things. Things I could do on my own – but she’s there for me and is willing to do those things for me. Who am I to turn away her acts of love? 😉
It is so damn easy to get caught up in all that constant demand for your attention and time and energy and physical labor. Add being a mom to trying to maintain a career and keep your house from looking like an episode of hoarders because they are constantly taking their toys from their room and leaving them wherever they want. I know that without a doubt – I could spend an entire day just picking up the toys that my children sporadically and periodically leave all over the house through the course of a day. It can be all consuming.
That’s so dangerous. It’s so important to not let being a mom be all that you are. It’s a huge part of who we are. It’s one of our main identifiers. It’s not all that we are. I have to remind myself to not lose myself in the midst of being a mom to the two humans that I love the most. I have to remind myself to set boundaries and demand more from them. For my sake. For my sanity. And so that I give them the best opportunity to be the best version of themselves that they can be.
Obviously it’s important to have big dreams. Big goals. An endgame in sight for where you see yourself in the next ten to twenty years. And it’s important to do things daily that are taking you to that goal.
However, sometimes you might find yourself approaching your mid thirties and you’re not quite sure exactly what it is that you want to do with your life. You love your job: It’s easy and comfortable and lets you be flexible and doesn’t take up any of your time outside of the hours that you’re clocked in. One day you’ll figure out the bigger picture, but for right now you need to do things every single day that feed your soul and keep you sane within the chaos of being a mom. Maybe you’ve got things figured out? You still need to stop and set some boundaries in the everyday between who you are as a mom and who you are as a person.
These are some things that I do.
- I don’t drop everything just to tend to something my child wants me to do. Literally, since I’ve been writing this I”ve been interrupted at least 20 times. The most recent interruption was that they needed Rescue Bots restarted on Netflix. Oh. And also they are hungry. Like NOW. It is important to me to get these thoughts out of my body and written down. So I told them to wait. Give Mom 20 minutes. Give me 20 minutes to be me. They fussed for a second and then ran away to play. Don’t be afraid to say no. Let me finish this – then I will attend to your wants.
- When you’ve worked your tail off to clean the house, and it’s now almost five pm and they just keep bringing more stuff from their room to litter your kitchen and living room floor. Tell them to stop. Set a boundary. Tell them to that no more toys are allowed in the common areas. All playing must now take place in their room. Don’t feel bad for pushing them back a little. You need your space. You just busted your butt to get the house clean. Make them respect that. Teach them to respect that.
- Never be afraid to indulge in some time for taking care of yourself. Spend 45 minutes getting ready in the morning. Maybe let your preschooler go to school with wild hair because you don’t have time to comb it since you had to wash and blow dry your own hair this morning. He doesn’t care about his hair. You care about yours though. Probably, the rest of your day would have a little bit (or a lot bit) damper put on it if you have to walk around with extra greasy hair that no amount of dry shampoo can fix.
- Be yourself. Be yourself in every second of every day. Don’t waste time and energy trying to filter yourself in front of your children. Speak your mind. Say a ‘bad’ word. Listen to the music you want to listen to. Be honest. Be true. Be. You. I promise you that your children will respect you for that when they become adults. Probably before then. If you spend time trying to hide parts of yourself from children in an effort to maybe protect them or shelter them or whatever your reason is, you’re doing more harm than good. You’re hurting yourself because that’s just spirit trampling to have to pretend to be someone you aren’t. And you’re harming your children because who wants to grow up and find out that you actually don’t even know who your mom is? Are you trying to hide flaws? You cray boo. Our children need to see and know and learn from our flaws and mistakes.
- Sometimes I just have to stop. I have to quiet my mind. I have to stop worrying about all the little things that I need to do or buy or places I need to go or things I need to make sure I’m teaching my children or tasks I need to check off my to do list or WHATEVER. I have to to stop the whirling that are the thoughts in my mind and live in the moment. Whatever moment I’m experiencing: whether its time with my children – I’ll let the dishes sit in the sink overnight so I can get down on the floor and kiss on my babies or sit next to them while they watch a show. Sometimes it’s a moment that is all my own – like our Wine Wednesday Facebook Lives or solo time in Target or writing or reading a good book or getting lost for 30 minutes in my social media and just forgetting everything else that I have going on. Just to simply be here – now.
Those aren’t the only things I do – but I feel like those five things are what keep me sane on the regular. 🙂 I hope that if you’re struggling one of these things will help you to not lose yourself within the whirlwind that is being a parent. Being a mom is my absolute favorite thing. My children are always the brightest part of my day. I want to be the best mom that I can be for them so I know that I need to find balance between being mom and just being Ashley.
Also, tell me – what would YOU add to the list?