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All jokes aside…
My son turns 1 year old this week and that has led to some reflecting. Every parent does it. They spend time scrolling through photos from just 1 year ago and seeing a whole different baby in those pictures compared to this giant slobber bucket that sits in their lap now.
One of my biggest reflections has been those flashes of embarrassment when you remember something terrible you said or did to your parent(al figure) growing up. I then find myself immediately praying Shiloh never does the same to me while knowing in my heart he will. It’s weird to presently grapple with moments in your past you thought nothing of before. As a kid, and even in those months leading up to becoming a mom, you really don’t understand the weight you have on the people who raised you.
I’ve also been thinking about how much I learned. There are the things you think know because you have heard them a million times so it’s become entirely meaningless to you…
-it’s going to be a crazy instant love
-it’s going to be less sleep
– it’s expensive
But there are more surprises than I can count. I can’t speak for everyone, but these are what surprised me the most after a year of parenthood:
- It’s easy to get consumed in it. Maybe that wasn’t the surprising part. It was that I WANTED to be consumed in it too. It’s a joy to forget about everything but your little family. When you get consumed in it, going to a job you love is even hard. I can’t talk about finding balance with that because I haven’t. But having a kid and falling in love with being a mom is a fate fulls of highs and lows- which exactly why you thought your mom was losing it sometimes growing up. Next time I see a mom who looks tense in the grocery store, my last thought will be about the noise the kid is making and more about if she’s going to get a break at some point tonight.
- You forget about self care. Because you’re consumed in it, it becomes really easy forget self care. Don’t get repulsed. Things like brushing your teeth every morning and night. Finding a hairstyle that doesn’t require a hairbrush. Forgetting to the meal you heat up until hours later. It happens but let’s not make a habit of it. You care best for your family when your needs have been met. To be a super mom, your systems have to be operating at super levels.
- You forget to be romantic with your spouse. It’s a simple brush off at first. Blaming it on the sleepless nights- which is not untrue Eventually it starts to feel normal to not have time to be a wife or be a husband/partner. The time should be made. It is absolutely essential for a happy household that is setting their child up for a good emotional understanding. I secretly love the “date your spouse trend.” I think it’s wildly unrealistic to do one date a week but the concept is great and is something we are hoping to incorporate going into this next year.
- You *hopefully* become more compassionate towards other moms and women in general. Probably has something to do with my pangs from the past way I have treated my own mom or the negative thoughts I’ve had about someone who was probably a stressed out mom who was trying to make the best out of something but I think motherhood has made me a better person. Do I cry more no? Yeah. But I have definitely brought more smiles with my newfound compassion than I have received tears so good trade off.
Every year I know I’ll only understand more and more of the common things people say. For year one, the thing I want to stress to new moms (and maybe remind the veteran moms and childless readers) is that the burnout is real.
Both SAHM and working moms are at risk of burnout. Stay at home moms have very high expectations that their partner isn’t even necessarily setting on them. It’s just a societal expectation for someone who is at home all day to keep everything clean but also keep a hand on the child- but also don’t forget to enrich them! Don’t have the money to enrich them because you’re on one income? Find the time to DIY it all- you’re at home so you’re not busy, right? Working moms either get stuck playing the role as both a working mom and a SAHM or they are wracked with guilt about how they split their time or can’t be more involved. It’s important to recognize while it’s normal for moms to feel overwhelmed and burned out, it is not be any means how it should be.
I still have SO much to learn, I try to not think about it too much. The time goes by quicker each day and FINALLY I’m learning to saddle into the moment more often. With only a fraction of wisdom acquired I wanted to share some of the things I need to be reminded of that you might need too:
We are the world’s best jugglers…
It’s amazing how many people’s schedules we are able to manage. How much love we have to spread. How selfless we can be. Just because you can juggle, doesn’t mean you always have to. Take moments to let things go. Balance isn’t everything equal all the time. It’s the art of knowing when to pull back in certain places and kick into gear in others.
You are worthy of time…
It’s okay to not want to do something and then not do it sometimes. Asserting some autonomy is a healthy thing to show your child. If you are overworked you should should your kid how to ask for help or take a step back to care of yourself. It makes you a better mom sometimes to not volunteer for something. (A note to me.)
You can tap into “that” strength again whenever…
You know what strength I’m talking about. 😉
Parenting is on a pedestal and unappreciated all at the same time. It’s just one of those things where people who are parenting feel like they aren’t valued and people who aren’t walking that life are tired of hearing about something they just don’t have a way to understand. It’s like a video being sent from iPhone to Android- there is just always something getting pixelated in discussion.
I am so humbled by the first trip around the sun as a mom. Much to learn and not enough time ever catch up- but I wasted time writing this blog anyway.