As you can see, it’s been fairly quiet on the blog here since little Reid was born. I’m now beginning to enjoy longer periods of time where he is not attached to me, and I’m able to get a few more things done instead of just hurriedly wiping my face with a cloth to suffice as a face wash in the morning, or bouncing a whimpering baby on my hip while trying to throw some kind of meal together for Tatum and I (those nights that David is at work until 10 can be interesting…). Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t imagine our lives without our sweet baby boy. But I definitely did not expect it to be this…difficult to juggle the needs of a baby with the needs of my five-year-old…and the needs of myself, my household, my husband, and on and on. I’m currently typing this with one hand, while breastfeeding Reid and trying to open a yogurt tube for Tatum. Juggle, indeed.
When I was still expecting Reid, I would see other mothers out with their children who seemed so confident, organized and calm. They had it all together. I could do that! I WOULD do that. I am an obsessively organized person by nature, and my hard-sought-after routine that I had been working on for our family of three over the past five years would just carry over and work for the four of us. I would immediately be able to continue along with my regular cleaning schedule (and yeah, I actually had a cleaning schedule. Sighh.), do a craft with Tatum every day, get 30 minutes of exercise daily, always look completely flawless, blog daily, manage the grocery store on my own with both children, and any other crazy idea I had prior to becoming a mother to two.
And then little Reid burst on to the scene, and I was over the moon. He fit right into our lives and he just immediately belonged with us. But, I had a c-section, and needed to take it easy for a little while to recover. No big deal. I was ok with a week or two of lying low. David was able to take two weeks off, which was a HUGE blessing for me. I wasn’t able to accomplish much besides breastfeed Reid and play a bit with Tatum. Over those two weeks I began adjusting to mothering two children very slowly. I was beyond happy with my new role as a mom of two, but needlessly stressing myself out by thinking about all of the things I wasn’t getting done.
Then the fateful day where David had to return to work came. I would be alone (alone!!) with two children (two children!!) from 2pm to 10pm. I put on a brave face until David gave me a kiss before he left for work, then promptly burst into tears. How was I going to do this by myself? Juggle these two children who are in completely different stages with completely different needs? I then proceeded to scold myself. Get a grip! I know some moms who were back on their feet, cleaning the house from top to bottom, going for daily walks and working again at three days postpartum. What was wrong with me? I should be doing that. Why am I not doing that? And so began the vicious guilt cycle that most of us moms fall into — the compare-myself-to-other-moms-and-feel-like-I-need-to-be-doing-more cycle. It’s not healthy or productive for us to fall into this continual guilt-trip.
I’ve quickly realized how damaging to both my mind AND my body this is (constant stress can do a number on you!), and as a result, rather than think about all of the trivial things I’m not accomplishing, I am going to begin to applaud myself on the things I do every day to nurture myself and my children. Realizing that I am still a human being and not an organic-meal-making, Pinterest-crafting robot-mom is the first step! I will:
-Realize that I am not the mom I saw at the park with perfectly coiffed hair and manicured nails. At least not right now. And that’s ok.
-Understand that just because the laundry sometimes piles up, or that I don’t get a chance to put the clean stuff away immediately doesn’t mean I’m a horrid housekeeper. And hey, it’s more easily accessible when it’s not shoved in those pesky drawers….right?
-Know that responding to the needs of my baby all day, every day might not look like I’m “getting anything done,” but oh, I am. I’m raising a little human, a little person with a soul, and nurturing them so they feel safe and cared for in this new world.
-Remember that even though playing Barbie, My Little Pony, restaurant or coloring a picture for the thousandth time might become tedious, it’s not for my daughter, and I’m creating happy memories for her. I’ll try to remain present while playing and refrain from checking my phone or thinking about what chores I “should” be doing.
-Take half an hour for myself sometime during my day. It’s so important to feel your best when you’re a busy mom. Taking time to recharge and rejuvenate will benefit both me AND my children.
I think it’s time that we all let go of mom guilt. I will be focusing on creating a happy, loving and fun environment for my family without tearing myself apart over the small details.
What will you tell yourself for encouragement instead of shooting yourself down over the little things?