I was thinking about this blog and how happy I am with the turnout of readers. So far I only have one follower but in one week (my first week) I have had 238 page views! It makes me really happy to know people care about what I think and that they appreciate the honesty in my reviews. Every now and then I will post something more personal and this morning I’m feeling it.
I have grown a lot in the past few months; more so the past month. A blogger that inspired me to share my experiences as a mother was dad blogger Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing. I’m not sure if you are familiar with his work; if you are not and you’re a parent I recommend following his blog.
Being a parent is by far the hardest job in the world but also the greatest. As a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) I am very lucky and blessed to be able to spend every moment with my girls. I’ll be honest thought when I first became a mother I never left the house because I was afraid of driving with my daughter, it was a lot of work keeping her calm, loading and unloading her in my car, running errands quickly because I was nursing and at that time too shy to nurse in public plus my car didn’t have a working a/c, and I didn’t have a lot of places to go and I did not have very many friends to hangout with since most of them either didn’t have kids or had kids but worked.
Being a stay-at-home-mom is a very different lifestyle. I went from just picking up my keys and heading out the door to trying to remember to pack extra diapers, remember snacks and sippy cups and toys to keep her calm for the short time I would be out. Everything that came with being a mommy was new to me; it was beautiful, it was exhausting, it was overwhelming at times but I was in love with my new job and proud of it.
There is an ugly side to being a SAHM a side it seems many will not talk about. The stressful side, the secluded side, the side I was not prepared for. Yes that is right the breaking point, the snap, the walk away and cry because you just cant take anymore screaming, crying, or angry child pulling and tugging and wanting something from you. At times being a SAHM can be so overwhelming that you just feel broken and emotionally exhausted.
The first time I experienced this my daughter was a few months old and had been crying for nearly an hour. I called my husband sobbing and asked him to come home from work for a few min because I just couldn’t be around her at that moment. I’m a mother, a proud loving mother, but I had reached my breaking point and knew I was emotionally in a state where I needed to take a break and walk away. I was frustrated and upset with myself for not being able to handle the situation; I felt like a failure. My husband is very supportive and understanding and is a wonderful father. He rushed home and watched our baby while I walked away and just cried. I knew becoming a mother was going to be stressful, I knew she was going to cry, fuss and need constant attention; I didn’t know how constant and overwhelming it would be.
I don’t believe its just having the baby that can do this to a SAHM, I think it also has to do with losing that social life and adult interaction. I went from seeing friends often to hardly ever returning calls because I was so overwhelmed with keeping up my home and taking care of my child. If there is one thing that as a mother you should always tell yourself is when your feeling overwhelmed its okay to ask for help. It’s okay to feel the pressure and stress that comes with parenting and it is necessary to accept that you are not perfect but it is important to strive to be your best for your baby. If being emotionally on edge is how you are feeling then I can guarantee you that your child is not receiving the best of you that they should be.
I quickly learned mommy tricks to comfort and soothe her and we became a dynamic duo; still in our house too much but together because we didn’t know very many other moms that we could meet with and spend time with. When you’re a SAHM it’s really easy to lose your communication skills; I went from a chatter box to a stare at you and try to process…wait what did you just say to me… oh your still waiting on my response um hmmm…If I could only get the Word World theme song out of my head …no sorry I got nothing…but Desi went potty today for the first time in the potty! YAY!! Dont laugh…okay laugh a little, but this really was and sometimes is me; a lot, no really!
Anyway, after having my second child ( 10 months ago) my time thinned out even more. You know I actually thought while pregnant it would be easier because I had already done this before. HAHAHAHA!!! Wow was I naive. I mean it was a bit easier because I knew what to expect but now I have to juggle two girls. One is getting into everything and the other one is climbing everything and jumping on the couch, riding our stationary bike, trying to open the fridge, “Desi stop hitting your sister!”
Now before I get a frantic email from a family member concerned and wanting to babysit. Let me reassure you I am fine!!! I’m just sharing my experiences.
Okay now I can continue.
Shopping with both girls is a mission all on its own. Do the people who design shopping carts even have kids and the special ones for multiple children…DO THEY HAVE KIDS? My girls fight, if they are within arms reach I can promise you as soon as Lexi sees Desi and can reach her she is pulling on her in some way to get her attention because she loves her big sis. Big sis on the other hand wants to be left alone and pinches when she gets mad. So I walk around the store. “Lexi, lets leave sister alone. Desi, stop pinching your sister. Girls quit it!” Is that a box of pasta? Yes it is, that means it rattles. Here girls play with the pasta!
I have had moments when I just couldn’t take it anymore. More so when I had Desi because I was learning everything. There are so many different articles, books, blogging sites, that suggest how to parent your child but really you just have to find what works for you and it’s a hard and long road of experiences that bring you to your ah ha moment; when you figure out, this is what works for me!.
Regardless of what you decide someone will always feel your not doing the right thing. So build your thick skin and learn early on to ignore them. In the end when your child is successful or unsuccessful you will be the one wondering if you did something wrong. I don’t know about you but I would rather stick to the decisions my husband and I make then allow others to try to push their parenting way on me and then I end up regretting it later because it affected my child negatively.
One of the major stresses for me as a mom was unsolicited opinions! Most parents if not all can relate to this. I honestly do not mind someone suggesting something every now and then but if it’s the same thing over and over again and they already know how I feel about it then I feel frustrated and wonder will they ever let it go!?! So, learn how to communicate with those people. Say things like thank you I will consider that! I’ll think about it. We decided to go this route but thanks for offering the advice. It will leave you feeling satisfied that you did not give in to everyone else and will quickly quiet the other person because they feel satisfied that you really listened to them. At-least, that has been my experience.
The housework can wait! Your time with your child is precious and should come first; unless there is a hazard in the home of course. Let them play, let them get dirty, let them ask questions, let them be themselves. Its frustrating I know when they ask the same thing over and over but that means they are learning, interacting, they are developing the way they should and this should be celebrated.
If your children are in school then appreciate the small amount of time you have with them. Figure this, if your kids go to school from 8-3:30 and you drop them off at 7:30 and pick them up right after school that is 8hrs they spent away from you. Now, assuming your kids go to bed at 8:00 then you have 4.5 hours after school to spend with them. You still need to drive home, cook dinner, make sure they do their homework, they need to shower and get ready for bed. That doesn’t leave a lot of time does it? So value the little time you have and eat with them at the table, turn electronics off, play a board game after dinner or watch a movie as a family, go to the park for a little while and enjoy your kids. VALUE the weekends and plan fun things to do because out of the 168 hours there is an a week you will only get to spend about 42 of them with your kids and about half of that is the weekend.
I wanted a better experience for my girls and myself. I was tired of screaming, crying, yelling so I took a big step back because I wanted to know what was causing this and what could change it. I found many things that needed changing; all of them had to do with me! I wasn’t planning enough fun time so Desi could run and play and use up all that energy. I was spending way too much time on my cell phone and computer or watching television. I was failing her as a mother in the sense that I was constantly yelling at her for something that was a result of my poor decisions to not provide that extra stimulation because I was afraid of going out and unmotivated to change. I need to be a better mother. As hard as I work at trying to be the best mom I can be I realized there is always room for improvement and as much as we work at providing her with a lot of educational stimulation I realized she needed more interaction with kids and more time to just play.
So I started taking my daughter to the park more often and making time for her to have more fun. My husband and I got rid of our expensive cell phones and just got a home phone; added bonus with that is it saved us $1800 a year. We disconnected our cable but kept the internet; watching tv shows became less important when I had fewer options. We de-cluttered our life from major distractions and focused on just us. I have to admit it was hard at first adjusting but after a while it was easy and it was nice to not have those bills. Since then we have gotten cell phones (two months ago) because we felt we needed a way to get a hold of each other in an emergency or while out of the house but all they can do is call or text and we are still considering letting one of them go because we got so used to not having that bill; I hate paying it now.
Children and adults need to be around their peers; its a necessity in life to have that interaction. I finally accepted this need and I started trying to find other moms with kids. I needed to be happy for my girls and to do that I needed some mommy time; I needed friends to talk to, friends that understood and related to everything I was going through but how would I find them? I couldn’t just walk up to other moms and say, “hey wanna hangout?” Which my old self would have totally done. lol Why not? If it means having that extra much-needed outlet; then why not? So, I decided to start a free moms playdate group on Facebook for local moms; I added the friends I knew about 30 of them and then posted the link on other pages where I thought moms would be and today I have 123 members. I say free because some playdate groups I have been told cost money to join and require applications and such. My group is simple if you’re a mother in our area and you want to spend time with other moms and let your kids play with other kids you are free to join. If you can’t make it to all the playdates that is fine. Anyone can schedule something for the group and whoever can make it goes and whoever cant that’s fine. No one gets kicked out unless they behave in a way that is dangerous or would be disrespectful to other mothers and their kids; I have yet to have to remove someone and I hope I never have to.
Needless to say I have found by meeting these wonderful woman that my struggles are real and I am not alone. I am so grateful for the wonderful friendships I have made with these amazing and I do mean AMAZING women and I am in a happier place emotionally because I simply allowed myself to have something everyone needs; human interaction. Desi used to fight and pinch other kids in a desperate attempt to get their attention so they could play with her. I am happy to say she hardly ever does that anymore and she loves having friends. So, my advice to any SAHM is you’re not alone, you need mommy time, and your kids need friends. As humans it is necessary to our existence to have that interaction so why deny yourself something you need? You deserve to be happy and healthy too and the happier the parents the happier and healthier the kids.
Some day when the girls are in school and I decide to go back to work the most recent job listed on my resume will be creator and molder of our countries future decision makers. Yes that is who I really am that is who we all are as parents. When looking at it that way; doesn’t it seem like the most important job in the world? That’s because it is. So why wouldn’t you, me, or anyone do anything and everything they could to ensure a healthy and happy life for their child? Take a step back, evaluate yourself as a parent honestly and take the step to be the best parent you can be for them.
Thanks for reading and I hope right now shut off your computer, put your cell phone down, turn off the tv, and put some shoes on and go outside to play with your kids. If its late just look at the stars and enjoy that amazing expression on their face when you explain to them what those little shiny dots are! Regardless of what kind of fun you have with them enjoy it and absorb every smile every giggle because you wont get that moment back and in a few years this stage of their life will just be a memory.