Anyone else identify with the following?
In this season of mothering, the demands of my life have shifted, but I haven’t made the necessary adjustments.
I came across these words in a magazine article. I can’t tell you what the article was exactly about or what other pictures, stories or ads were also within its’ pages (I blame my diminishing long-term memory on my three children), but this one line hit me hard. This one line defines the struggle I seem to be wrestling with EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
I’m always feeling like there isn’t enough energy or hours in the day. Often carrying a feeling of guilt for not being the mommy or wife or friend that I think I ought to be. Why do I hoard all these negative feelings? I now know the answer … in this new season of mothering, the demands of my life have shifted, but I haven’t made the necessary adjustments to meet them or accept the woman who I am because of this shift.
I still have expectations of myself that I had as mommy of one. Anyone with more than one little human being life depending solely on you for their survival knows that life with more than one bambino is nothing like life with one. So If I know this, what the hell am I doing? I know that answer too … I’m expecting too much of myself.
I expect to be a mommy that crafts and teaches with organization and ease as I had with my first baby. But the realization is that I now have three, all with different personalities, needs and interests. No longer just one to cater to.
I expect to be a mommy that makes it on time to every library story time with attentive and quiet children. But the realization is that I now load three in and out of car seats to make the trip to the library. I walk and hold the hands of three little ones. My lap isn’t big enough to fit three tiny butts as we listen to book that isn’t age appropriate for all three.
I expect to be a mommy that finds enough time to spend one on one time with my oldest baby while my youngest babies nap, yet still finding enough time to decompress from my head being on a swivel from the first part of the day. But the realization is that nap times are usually cut short with the odds of two babies sleeping the same amount of time, with my eldest wanting to decompress on his own watching cartoons rather than hanging out with me and by the time I clean up lunch, write a few blog words, talk briefly with my husband, go pee and let the dog out nap time is over.
I expect to have enough energy at 6 am to workout and enough to fold 5 loads of laundry at 9 pm. I did it as a newlywed, as a mommy of one and even pregnant with twins. The reality is that sometimes I’m so tired I sleep past 6 am (ear plugs in of course) and then I’m in bed way before the clock even flashes 9 pm.
I expect to have the house spotless and hot meals on the table three times a day. The reality is that some days cereal is all that is eaten and drive-thrus are used with the sink full of dishes and Play-Doh in the carpet.
I expect to have the patience of a saint as three little ones compete for my attention by seeing who can cry the loudest. However the reality is that I’m not a saint and my patience is often used up before breakfast is even over.
I expect to be a MILF for my husband, donning matching bra and panties with perfect hair and makeup. Yet, the reality is that the days that my hair is unwashed out number the days that it is and by the time my husband walks through the door I have something wiped down the front of my shirt.
I expect to be able to chaperone every field trip and contribute to every class party. The truth is, I have two other little ones that also need me as their mommy and I also have a budget to keep, so I’m not always going to be able to attend and contribute to every single class event.
I expect to be outgoing and likable at all times, making friends wherever I go. In actuality, there are days that I am racing through the grocery store or the pick-up school line to beat the tantrum clock. Or if alone in the store or at the gym, I just want to enjoy being alone for the first time all day.
There are the occasional days when all my expectations are met and I feel like super woman and super mom. But the reality is, I need to embrace this new season of mothering, along with the shifted demands of my life and make the necessary adjustments within my expectations of myself.
So know that you are not alone if you have yet to succumb to the shifts of your season. Whether those shifts are a sick child, an addition to your family, the loss of a loved one, a professional change or a new season as a different marital status, face them and adjust to the season you are in before the chance is gone. It may take some time to make the right adjustments but just like the trees of autumn, I’m letting my leaves fall away to stand bare and vulnerable in order to grow with the shifting winds of this season of life.