Hey Momma, Don’t Lose yourself in the Everyday.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?

You Talk About Your Kids A Lot

As I briefly mentioned in my post When One Becomes Two  , I was never a ‘kid person’ until I became a parent. And really and truly, even now, I don’t really care for anyone else’s kids BUT my own. Don’t get me wrong. I’m definitely more interested in other people’s children now. I’m curious about their development. I want to know about the clothes they’re wearing. I take joy in hearing funny stories about other kids. Why? Because having kids of my own has made me naturally curious about other kids. 😉 However, I won’t be volunteering to babysit them. I’m not going to ask to hold some random baby, just because I think it’s oh so cute. … I could go on and on…. buuut

 

This is the point when I pull back and think – now, Ashley, what WAS your point? Lol

 

Ok, ok, my POINT is that I’m not a kid person. I never was. I still am not. And before I was a parent, I couldn’t stand how some parents would mention their child in every single conversation they held. I couldn’t stand how the fact that they were a parent dictated Every. Single. move that they made. I never wanted to be that mom. That mom that could not hold a conversation without mentioning her offspring.

 

Why?

 

Well, I am a mom. Maybe you are a mom. Or your sister is a mom. Or your friend is a mom. But being a mom does not wholly define me. I cannot just say. “I am a mom.” And nothing else – when someone asks me to describe myself. If you are a mom. Or you know a mom. You know that is completely true for them as well. So, I refuse to become that parent who cannot or does not hold a conversation wherein their child isn’t mentioned. I’m not going to regale my non mom friends, who are not involved in my children’s lives or ongoings, about the sleepless night I just had with Sophie and Cooper because they were throwing up all over me and themselves. Who wants to hear that story when we could talk about the latest drama going on with The Real Housewives of Atlanta??

 

I mean. Really. There are a million other things going on in my life – or that I’m interested in – or that I know a lot about – that I want to talk about. I love my kids. My kids are my number one. I would lay down my life for my children, but I’m more than just their mom. And I make a conscious effort to remind myself, and those around me, of that very important fact.

 

Do I love talking about my kids? Heck yes. At one point in my career I worked for a women’s clothing store. I was the store manager and I had an assistant manager and another employee who each had little boys that were around the same age as Cooper. Whenever I worked with one of them, we could spend an entire shift (in between customers…. Of course 😉 ) going on and on about our children. We could talk for hours about our birth experiences. We would talk about and compare our children’s development. We would share funny stories. We would commiserate over lost sleep. It was heaven. I could talk about my baby with no fear of judgement. I could spill my mom guts all the while knowing that these two ladies were genuinely interested in hearing what I had to say. And I felt the same way about them. It was like getting to participate in your most guilty pleasure – with zero repercussions or side effects. It was like eating an entire pumpkin pie, and not feeling like crap after because of all the sugar I just consumed. It was like spending a whole day binge watching an entire season of The Good Wife without missing out on anything important that you just NEEDED to do. It was like going to ULTA and spending your entire paycheck but still having enough money in the bank left for bills. It was fantastic.

 

However, no matter how great that time was – I knew that it just wasn’t practical that my entire life consist of conversations like the awesome ones I had with these two great ladies. Just like all those guilty pleasures I listed. You can’t do that stuff all day every day.

 

Rhonda and I talk to each other – pretty much every day. We have this super cool blog together…all about doing Motherhood our own way. However, if you looked through our text messages, you’d be hard pressed to find tons of conversations about our kids – or about being a mom. We talk about EVERYTHING. We know sooooo much about each other, including the personalities and habits of our kids. BUT we see each other as Rhonda and Ashley first. Not solely as mom to .. our million kids. 😉

 

Why am I talking about this? Because I think it’s important that we, as parents, don’t lose ourselves. That we don’t forget the person that we were and that we are, apart from our children. Otherwise, you will not be the best parent that you can be. And, learning to intentionally have conversations or thoughts that do not involve your children is one small way that you can hang onto yourself. That you can differentiate the person that you are from the parent that you are. Because you are important.  You are more than a parent, and the people around you –  sometimes they want to know about and hear about just you.

 

So – don’t  immediately take offense if someone ever comments that “you talk about your kids a lot”. Maybe they aren’t trying to be catty. Maybe they are just trying to let you know that they want to hear more about just you.

 

And if they are trying to be catty? Well fuck them. Because your kids are super cool and so are you! 😉

Week in Review: Rhonda

What a week!  I actually switched stuff up a little, which was nice.  I am a lover of routine, but it’s nice to have change sometimes too.

Unfortunately, I woke up Monday with an ear infection.  Claudia helped me ship some orders at the post office and I went on a laundry adventure in which I washed a Queen comforter in a tiny washer.  Other than that, all I did was some makeup stuff.  And of course, we sat on the patio to watch Stuart arrive to great fanfare.

I woke up on Tuesday still sick and Claudia passed out in my bed while I was still having coffee.  She woke up wanting me to put numerous ponytails in her hair.  I wanted to spend the day in bed, but needed to do some meal prep and film a makeup review.  When the kids laid down for their afternoon quiet time, I had a beer and filmed the review.

At 2:30 am Wednesday morning, I heard Claudia crying hysterically and went to see what the problem was.  The party chick was frantically trying to hold up a painting as tall as she is, because she was playing all over the living room and knocked it over.  I had a hard time sleeping after that, which was unfortunately since I had to get up and out the door early Wednesday so I could get some stuff done with the kids before their weekend trip to their dad’s house.  I ran errands and helped the kids make their Valentine bags for our homeschool party.  The boys enjoyed the announcement I made that we were taking the entire week off school and that the next week would only be Wednesday and Thursday.  They celebrated with XBox.

Thursday, we got up to head down to meet the kids’ dad.  It was an uneventful drive down and I was super excited to jam in the car solo on the way back.  I then took the coveted-by-all-moms solo Target trip.  I wandered down every aisle before going home to get ready for date night with my guy.  We finally cashed in the gift card we got for Christmas and had a lovely seafood dinner.

Stuart surprised me Friday morning by taking the day off work so we could spend more time together and so that he could go with me to get my license.  I’m so glad he did, because I ended up being there for several hours.  After some wine shopping, we came home to binge watch Sense8.  What a mind fuck that show is!

Childfree weekend continued Saturday morning with our usual breakfast and mimosa routine.  It was a lovely day out, so we decided to go for a bike ride.  After a ride through small-town Texas, we were starving and thought another dinner out would be a lovely idea.

Sunday morning, Stuart woke me all the way up by asking the ridiculous question, “Do you want to go to Bolsa?”  You’ll soon find out, dear readers, that Bolsa is our slice of heaven.  It’s OUR brunch place, where we fell in love, and where the staff became our family.  I ALWAYS want to go to Bolsa.  After a leisurely brunch, we came home and rearranged our bedroom and I love it so much now!

It was truly such a lovely weekend.  As much as I love my kids, I cherish the time I get to focus on my relationship and get things done without literally tripping over my little shadow.

I hope you also take time for yourself and your relationship if you’re in one.  It’s so important!