It’s true. 4.5 years isn’t a whole lot of “Mom-ing” in the larger scope of a typical lifespan but it sure feels like I’ve learned a great deal about motherhood, myself, my marriage, my friendships and my career during this time. Lots of firsts, lots of milestones achieved, lots of questions, lots of tears, obstacles, challenges, adventures, pictures, laughs, comparisons, thoughts and growth. Just because we are new at something, doesn’t mean we aren’t evolving. Am I an expert? Furthest thing from it. Different stages of our children’s lives requires different evolution. Infancy requires physical nurturing. Toddler-hood requires patience and hands-on learning. Teenager stage (as I once was one) requires more mental contribution as your child preps for high school/college and figures out who they are and what their life purpose will be. Here are 3 things I’ve learned as a mom in my 4.5 years of being one.
- Don’t get upset when the extra guests you invited to your kid’s birthday party sell out.
Seems silly right? It is, sort of…but not really when you take a closer look at what this may teach. As a new mom, our child’s first birthday is something most of us don’t take lightly. If you’re anything like me, the party went something like this. 75 person guest list, rented out the club house, first child of ours, first grandchild on both sides, exquisite catered food, professional designer, insanely pretty cake (and a smash cake) and a real Mickey came to visit… Why? Because it is special when your child hits 1 and you want everyone to be there to celebrate. You invite the family, your close friends, the Mom’s you’ve met at playgroups, Mom’s you’ve met through other moms, through friends, the neighbors, everyone. And soon you’ll realize, ding ding…the sound of your phone’s text noise on party day as cancellations start to roll in. It happens, it’s inevitable. I remember getting ready for my son’s party, already rushing and stressed and then getting cancellation texts the morning of. Was I upset? Yes. What did I learn? As time went on and we had our second child, I started to realize the ones who cancelled were almost always the “extras” on the list. They were the acquaintances. The guests you wanted to invite to be nice but not necessarily your family or very close friends. I started to realize that I didn’t need to impress “acquaintance” friends , invite them to parties, or get upset when they cancelled. My parties shrunk and so did my stress. Keep only the people around who want to be involved in yours and your children’s lives. Legitimate excuse to cancel? Fine. But the rest, you learn to weed out and with it, a magical weight is lifted off of your shoulders.
- It’s okay if your friends are sleep training masters and you’re a hot mess with no schedule.
Maybe I’ll get mom shamed for this by the Schedule Sally’s of the world but I have friends from all ends of the spectrum. I have the new mom friends who tell me they hired a sleep coach because they have post partum and their kid won’t sleep. The new moms who after 6 months of sleep training their infant want to start a sleep training company because they are that invested in this method. Me? I think I’m somewhere in the middle leaning more towards the hot mess, no schedule. Do I try? Absolutely. Does it always work perfectly? Yeah right. I have one child who semi loves routine and one whose brain never shuts off…no off switch, at all…ever. You’d think a child who wakes up at 7:30am, is at school all day, jiu jitsu, running outside…nope, 11pm still not asleep sometimes. I work full time and do pretty much all of the kid stuff each day on my own as my husband works a crazy amount of hours – getting the kids dressed, breakfast, making lunches, driving to school, getting from school, sports, dinner, bathe, clean dishes. It’s HARD (at least for me it is…I know there are some super moms out there who may not think so). Do I think I’m a failure because I’m leaning into that hot mess zone? Not really. We’re all different and need to relax with the comparisons. Your method may not be my right method and vice versa. What works for me may not work for you….and that is A-OKAY.
- Working Moms Envy SAHM and SAHM Envy Working Moms
As a career woman and full time working mom, I can tell you that I’ve dreamt of being a stay at home mom since conceiving our first child. With the lifestyle we’d adopted prior to getting pregnant (which was based on 2 pretty decent incomes), it just wasn’t in the plan to be able to stay home. Did I at one point start to think I wish I didn’t make as much money so I could stay home with my baby? YES. Is that crazy? I don’t know, maybe? Do I like contributing monetarily for our children’s security and future? Absolutely. Would I stay home if I could? Probably for 2 months until I yearned to talk to to adults and go to Homegoods/Target to frivolously buy pretty house decor! In all seriousness, I’m torn but usually lean towards envying my stay at home mom friends. You’re HOME with your CHILDREN. You get to teach them all of their “firsts” and make sure they’re safe, loved, learning the right things. Yet on the other hand, my stay at home mom friends tell me they’d go to work if they could make enough where it would be worth it. They want to talk to adults. I want to just talk to my kids (or at least in my mind it sounds good). Will anyone ever be 100% satisfied with their situation? No, probably not. It’s okay to want what you can’t have if you come back to reality and know the pros/cons and of your situation. It’s whatever works best for you and your family.
Mom-ing definitely has its ups and downs but there are so many of us just trying to figure out life and motherhood as we go along. It’s normal! Learning is a part of the Mom-ing journey and it’s a never ending evolution. What have you learned as a Mom that’s made you into a stronger/better person?