Being mama is, well…different than I expected. It is more busy, more exhausting, and more overwhelming. It takes nearly every ounce of energy I have each day. When I first started this mamahood journey I had PLANS, y’all. I would do all the things, all by myself, and I would do them well.
It turns out working fulltime and being a mama fulltime with a hubby who is in law enforcement was more than one little lady could handle. My values told me to mama one way – where my presence trumped all other things – but my schedule lacked sufficient timing to do this. And the demands of my firstborn were outside the norm. In other posts, you have seen me reference his colic and constant crying, the lack of sleep, and the his very finicky eating. All of this left me in a state of isolation and exhaustion. In addition, my hubby had just begun his career in law enforcement and we were ill prepared for the challenges his schedule and job would bring to our new family. I continued to work fulltime from home, barely taking a maternity leave because you know, “push through” was my mantra.
Fast forward to a very big mental breakdown and the diagnosis of postpartum depression and anxiety (see my full story here) – I finally let go and admitted that I couldn’t do all the things all the time. I worked up the nerve to tell my employer that I either had to quit or work part-time from home permanently. And by the grace of God – they said yes! 3.5 years later I am still working from home and juggling all things mama on my own for majority of the time. The hubs work schedule leaves him exhausted and out of commission for 5-6 days in a row (we do get long periods of him home too!) and this is where that push through mantra comes in handy. This life is not how I imagined, but it does work some way, somehow. Each day we are learning to do better. To work together more and to share responsibility. Each day I learn to let go and lean in when I need help.
But what I miss the most is the time, the energy, and the ability to work on the things that are just for me. While I love being at home, I miss working outside the home. I miss the space to think about things other than being mama and taking care of littles. While I know, this will return one day (and I will miss the busyness of the little ones!), there is still part of me that needs something here and now. I have these big ideas and visions and dreams. I have gifts that I believe were God-given for a reason and I want to use them!
But here is where I get stuck – there is SO much to do and so little left of me. There are so many ideas and so little time. Back to that “do it all and do it all well” thing – I want to do that in every aspect of my life, not just motherhood. So, when I think of my vision of starting a freelance graphic design business, starting a blog, and creating a business around mentoring mamas through food allergies – I get just a tiny bit overwhelmed. I want to do it all and do it all right now and of course do it all perfectly. And that overwhelmed feeling? It stops me in my tracks. It prevents me from moving and doing. It prevents me from stepping into my potential because I have those voices in my head (maybe you have them too?) that say I am not good enough and I need to focus all my time on being mama.
But you know what? Focusing ALL my time on being mama and forgetting to take care of myself isn’t healthy and it isn’t showing my son how to live a life of balance and happiness. No one ever said that when I became mama I had to give up every other part of myself (although sometimes society sends that message!). Somewhere along the line I became a martyr for motherhood and began shedding all other things that made me who I am. But…NO MORE! I can be a kick ass mama AND own my own business. I can follow dreams and creativity AND be present for my little ones. I can lead a life I love that holds both motherhood and career. And I can change the world both inside and outside my home. All I have to do is just BEGIN. Take a step toward loving myself too. Take a step toward growing this business. Take a step and write that blog.
Just BEGIN. Won’t you begin with me too, mama?