Sometimes Being A Mother Means You Have To Put Your Dreams On Hold

Having children has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Despite all the snot, laundry, and meal prep, it gives me a purpose greater than myself. I know that kids are not for everyone, and I give the utmost respect to those people who don’t want to have them. I get it, even though I have three of my own.

Being a parent–at least a good one–means that the life you have envisioned for yourself often changes drastically. And this cannot be any truer for a woman who is destined to rear the children.

Although there are stay-at-home dads, which I personally think is super cool, often times it’s the women who are left to hold down the fort and keep the kids alive while Daddy is off at work.

But what about all the dreams you had for your life, the ones that were for you, the ones like becoming successful or traveling the world? Those dreams get put on pause, and for those of us who don’t have the emotional support, financial means or the courage to pursue them once again, they often fade away.

For me, when this happened, it became a major problem. My dream was to combine a passion for something I loved with the opportunity to earn a decent living. I grew up with a single mother who worked her ass off to provide for me and a younger brother and I have a burning desire inside of me to earn money. I know that my husband loves me, and perhaps I’m a little jaded given my past, but I want to know that if something happened I could provide for myself. For me, I need that mental security.

I can say for myself that finding my dream again has made me a better mother. Not only because I am earning and I can help my husband to pay for things which helps to alleviate his stress, but because I get to reignite those passions and those dreams that I locked away for years when I was deep in diaper mode and playdates. I would say that I am lucky but that really isn’t the case. I worked tirelessly to get to the point that I am at in my career. I sacrificed so much of myself to get here. I earned this dream that I am now getting to live.

For me, that was my dream. Everyone has their own. Sure, I’d love to travel. That would really fantastic, but that will have to wait till I am much older and my kids are grown. They need me too much now. I can’t part with them without worry. And besides, all those beautiful places will be there in another 10 to 20 years. It can wait. For now, I am perfectly happy with this dream.

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9 Little Things For Moms In The Trenches Of Motherhood

Before I was a working mother, my life was totally different. I had several moments where I was bored, frustrated, angry, confused–and also several that were amazing because I was able to give my undivided attention to my kids 100% of the time. And then there’s also the fact that my presence was a lot less questionable during that time, I know this because my husband makes mention of it. Now some days I’m lucky if I remember to shower.

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Fast forward to my life now, and I work because it keeps me from totally losing my mind and it helps me to feel important to someone over the age of 5. I’ve also had major life changes that don’t give me another option to be able to stay home full-time. And god made alcohol (or manโ€”although it should have been a woman, if you want to get technical), so I can totally do that once the kids are asleep at night to calm me down from the stress of life.

I don’t ever think anyone should ever have to apologize for wanting more, or have to justify their rationale to those who are quick to judge. I work because that’s my thing and I’m lucky enough to have found something that allows me to do it from home.

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We are all mothers here, we can all relate to certain things. And these are those right here:

-Alcohol: Yes, and lots of it. How else am I supposed to go to sleep at night after cranking coffee all day long? Plus, when I’m annoyed, it helps me to keep my eyes from permanently rolling in the back of my head.

-Curse words: Sometimes it just feels good to let the shit fly, and if you don’t think so you are totally full of it. But I use enough of them for you that there’s plenty of them to go around.

-Coffee: see alcohol. Also, my reason for existence on earth.

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-The Magical Thing Called โ€œBed Timeโ€: My kids know the drill: From 10PM-6AM, I’m off the clock. Go bug your dad, because Mommy is unavailable to talk your calls or give a shit about who hit who or where your Beanie Boo toy is.

-Social Media: I need this because when I am slammed with work, and I happen to pop on social media for some air, I love to see how hard other mothers are working on Pinterest crap with their kids. Honestly, if I went to someone’s house and saw a wreath made out of popsicle sticks, I’d wonder if they knew it looked like shit on their front door.

-A Good Sense Of Humor: Shortly after my third child was born, I went on a run to the grocery store at night with my oldest in tow. When my daughter saw me breeze by the wine aisle, she asked if I was going to get any, to which I said “no” and her response was simply: “But you drank wine when you were pregnant?” Needless to say I wanted to die then and there but had to walk away quickly. Funny now, not so funny then.

-Yoga Pants: I did yoga a few times, put me right to sleep.ย The longest I hold still for is when I am driving because if I didn’t I would run off the damn road. But the pants are comfortable and they come with an adjustable waist band. #momass

-Dessert: Chocolate has superpowers. Enough said.

-Close Friends in the Trenches: Sometimes there is nothing better than being able to message another mother at random, because you know she can relate to whatever shit you’re going through. Life is short, and we can all use someone to lean on.

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Learning To Unplug From Life–And Work

When you work from home it’s not the same as working in an office. Sure, you are working, but “shutting it down” is just not the same as leaving an actual office when the clock strikes 5PM.

We are all guilty of “taking our work home with us” from time to time. For myself, I have been very guilty of this. But I’m actively trying to get better. I’d like to think it’s working.

I know for a fact why I do, and why I did this for so long to the point at which it was unhealthy. I liked feeling important. I liked the feeling that other people “needed me” outside of my home life. Sometimes when you have kids back to back and you’re deep in the trenches of diaper duty, meal prep, laundry and covered in spit up and snot, it’s nice to feel like your opinion matters to someone over the age of 5.

It’s also nice to hold adult conversation. For me, it serves as a fundamental outlet to escape and to satisfy my unbreakable passion to earn money and earn purpose outside of my family. None of this would be possible if I couldn’t work from home. My personal life wouldn’t allow for that. I have to be home to play shuttle bus driver, among other reasons.

But when is it “too much” that it becomes unhealthy? For me, it was when I realized what I defined as my level of “commitment” was a stark extreme compared to others. The phone can wait, the messages will still be there after the alert goes ding.

Above all, I’m actively learning that you don’t need to go on an actual vacation just to get away from work. You should have enough strength and will power and commitment to yourself and to your well-being to be able to shut it down even when you are at home.

Life needs balance. Without it, there are sure to be consequences. I think back to January of this year. I’m one of those corny people who goes guns blazing with personal “New Year’s Resolutions” I seek to fulfill because I convince myself that it will “make me a better person” when all is said and done. Typically I choose 3. This year was to give up caffeine, alcohol, and to try and take on side jobs and grow my “writing career” other than my editing career in hopes of self-fullfillment.

Fast forward to mid February and I was sick as a dog. My body, mind, and spirit were so run down and exhausted I could hardly move. Why am I killing myself to try harder? I couldn’t see that I was trying too much. For anyone that’s ever worked freelance at anything–or commission based–you understand the strange feeling of declining offers. You have this overwhelming sense of guilt that’s attached that makes you worry that you may not get this golden opportunity again.

Having to turn down the opportunity to earn more money was hard, but not when it came at the expense of spending less time with my kids or less time allowing my brain to have some downtime. The sense of worry was outweighed by practicality and I made myself speak up for the tiny voice in my head that was begging for a break.

Take those 5 extra minutes for yourself. Sleep an extra hour if you need it. We are all human and being a mother is like working two jobs that no-one is sending you a check in the mail for and if you throw a career on top of that it’s damn near impossible not to lose your mind on a few occasions. It’s okay to “shut it down” and detach. Don’t feel bad for needing or wanting that each day. Because if not, you’ll just be doing yourself an injustice that will transform into a major issue before long.