What did you do this past weekend?
I went to the beach with my kids and we:
- played on the beach,
- smashed sand castles – because destroying is better than building,
- walked up the doon on hot sand about 27 times to go poop (because you can never do it on the first or second try),
- ran in circles – lots of running in circles
- purchased and set up a slippy side; then couldn’t use it because it wet our hair – and that’s just unacceptable and
- watched Dora 297 times.
In comparison, here’s just some of the things my facebook friends did this weekend: weekend trip to the Country Music Awards to hang out with the stars, girls’ beach trip, had drinks on the tailgate of a safari vehicle in Africa beside some elephants, tried our new swanky restaurants, had date nights, finished 5ks, attended Triple Crown parties with cool hats and I think everyone on Facebook except me went to the weekend outdoor country concert in our town. Unbelievably, everyone I mentioned here (except the Africa trip friend) is a mom! Like a mom with kids – at home – not in college!
It seems everyone else is traveling, going on adventures and doing these great fun things; they are realizing their dreams and accomplishing big things while I am celebrating a solo bathroom trip.
Simply, enjoying a glass of wine is a challenge because by the time everyone is in bed and I have a moment to breath, I am simply too tired to enjoy it so I just shrug my shoulders and crash into bed.
There is so much joy in having small children and I am not complaining or whining – I love them and I am beyond blessed!!! My children are healthy and happy; I have a great husband and I have lots of help from my parents. There were days in my life I didn’t know if I would ever have children so I am NOT complaining about having them.
But now that we have that out of the way and I have acknowledged how lucky I am and that I am living all I ever dreamed of, can we just be honest as moms together for a moment?
Being a mommy is HARD and during that small window when your children are really small, it can be REALLY hard. We are up all night with teething babies trying to sleep train while our friends are getting nice long sleeps, we are pumping at work while our co-workers go off to lunch together on nice sunny days, we are rushing home from work to make it in time for that next feeding while friends are meeting after work for a drink, we are pouring juice at 6:00 a.m on a Saturday when our friends are sleeping in and we are swinging in the backyard at 8:00 pm on a Friday night when our friends are getting dressed up for a night out on the town.
I want to be real – especially with all the other moms out there with small children – Some days it’s hard. Being the mother of small children can make you feel like you are being left behind – it makes you feel lonely and friendless at times!
There are many days I look at Facebook and I see other moms doing all these great things and I just feel like a failure and I want to scream HOW THE HELL ARE YOU DOING THAT?????
I mean I seriously feel like I have accomplished something the days that I wear by hair down, straightened and smooth with some lip gloss.
What am I missing? What am I not doing right? I just shake my head and cannot for the life of me figure out why I can’t manage to balance mommyhood, work, spending quality time with my kids and “girl time” or husband time for that matter.
But go a bit further with me, fellow mommies of little ones – let’s take our honesty a little deeper – do you really even have any friends that you could hang out with if you found a precious free Saturday afternoon?
I don’t! I don’t have any friends really. I mean I have girls I talk to at work and those I would say hi to and stop for a chat if I saw them in Target – but I don’t have any close friends…. and I don’t think I’m alone in that boat.
And ladies, let me go ahead and save you the trouble- guys, you know your adoring husbands -they don’t understand. They don’t share our plight! As I look around at other mommies I know in the same season of life as me, it seems all of our husbands still have guy weekends, golf games, time away…. And friends.
Just like labor, stretch marks and reshaped bodies, I think that mommies shed our friends and it comes with the territory. It’s survival really, we don’t mean to, we don’t even want to…. but suddenly there is no more time for visits and fun or even phone calls for that matter. If we are lucky, really lucky, we can fit in a text every now and then.
We can’t be friends with those without kids because those folks get tired of asking us and hearing no so eventually they give up, and honestly they shake their heads at us in secret because they can’t comprehend how we have no time and they think we are just being cold to them because they don’t have kids and they roll their eyes when we try to explain how busy we are. I know I used to be one of those kidless friends and I didn’t understand!
I remember my old neighbor had 2 small kids before I had any and she would come over every Thursday night to watch Gray’s Anatomy and EVERY Thursday night she was dead asleep in the chair before the show was over and I just didn’t get it! I do now, she was trying to connect – to another girl- in a normal way – but she was just to tired to make it through. You can’t understand that level of exhaustion until you have lived it.
Then we can’t be friends with moms of older kids because they are enjoying their release from the confines of really little kids; they are celebrating and while they may commiserate with you, they are not waiting for you!
And you certainly can’t be friends with other mommies of little kids because they, like you, are overwhelmed and exhausted and sitting at home wondering why they have no real friends to speak of. Wondering if it’s them, wondering how this happened, wanting to reach out and connect but having no idea how.
Most of the time I assume, naturally, it’s a short coming of mine because being hard on myself is what I do best. Either I can’t get it together or no one likes me and doesn’t want to be my friend for some reason I cannot explain (this is my personal favorite).
But it’s not just fun times and friends – it’s deeper than that – it’s also having no time to pursue dreams or goals or hobbies or any of the things that define individuals as individuals. You cease to be anything but “mommy”.
For example, I REALLY want to get better at photography – honestly – I would love to be a “mommytographer” (aka: photographer that’s a part time stay at home mom) but it’s a long, long way from where I am now to that and most days I feel like that ship has sailed and I waited too long to figure out “what I wanted to be when I grow up.”
Like most things, I think I’m one step behind all the people that jumped on that cool wagon a few years back and now it’s too late – there are too many already!
So for now I would settle for a really good mommarazzi (ya know, that mom that stalks her children with the camera and takes really cool shots and everyone says – wow you’re good you should be a photographer). To do this I need to practice regularly, like anything else you want to be really good at. Problem is I just don’t know where to find the time to practice. I mean I am COMPLETELY willing to get up at 4:30 am to practice for 30 minutes before our days start – but the problem is you can’t go outside and shoot pictures at 4:30 am because it’s DARK and normal people are sleeping!!!!
I feel too guilty about using time I could be with my kids for my little hobby, so I just don’t. I tried taking pictures of my kids while playing and that always ends with my toddler saying, “mommy put your camera down” – so I do.
Then the other day a good, dear friend; a kind and giving friend shared some awesome news! She will be realizing a big dream of hers and I am thrilled beyond belief because she has worked so hard at it. And I hug her and I watch her beam and smile uncontrollably and she tells me about it. And she deserves it!!!!! She has worked so hard for it and sacrificed more than even I know. She has put her heart and soul into her dream so it is a good day!!!!!!
But I am a terrible, terrible person! Because if I am completely honest, I have to admit I also felt jealousy and failure and resentment and frustration!!!!! How did she find time, she’s a mom too! Again I was asking myself, “what am I missing?” Why can’t I find the balance like she did?
So,this is how the text conversation with my husband went shortly afterward:
Him: “What’s wrong?”
Me: “Honestly I feel a bit close to tears. I just need to get back home and get into mommy mode so I get busy and it passes.”
Him: “Why are you just about in tears?”
Me: “It’s a long story of sordid female emotions that I’m not even sure I can express in a way that makes sense. Plus I know that we will never have time for me to even try.”
And I’m right, we don’t have time to sit and have a nice long chat about feelings and emotions…. and I’m pretty sure my husband is quite happy he misses out on those talks!
I want my dreams and my individual happy ending – I’m talking about the realization of my personal dreams and finding where I fit into this great big world and realizing my potential, whatever it is and finding that place God meant me to be – my purpose.
We are mothers, but we are also people, and we don’t leave our dreams and aspirations and the door of motherhood. We still have goals and dreams, we want more and we want to be the best we can be both as mothers AND as women and individuals. And sometimes a dream may have nothing to do with our role as a mommy and that’s okay, that doesn’t make us selfish, it makes us well rounded.
Let me say that again so all the mommies can hear me: you can want things for yourself, have dreams for yourself as a person and not a mommy….. it’s okay!!!!!
There are days I would really kill for an afternoon with a close girlfriend and no one needing to feed or jump or run or go poop or whining or “mommy carry me”…… just me and my body all to myself.
But here’s what I have come to realize after a lot of thought – when I’m looking at facebook and listening to stories of adventure from other mommies, those mommies all have older children. They have passed through this season of life I am in right now! They have forged these roads we now walk.
But wait! You know what the crazy thing is: most of them would trade those concerts and nice restaurants for just one more night to rock their babies by the moonlight or have their toddler climb all over them while they are trying to eat dinner. They would give all that fun time up just to hear “mommy” again instead of “mom”. They would once again live through sleepless nights for the toothless grins waiting for them at 3:00 am.
Being a mommy to small children is just like anything else good in life: it’s fun and challenging; it’s rewarding and draining; it’s all you ever dreamed of and heartbreaking all at the same time. But when it’s gone, it’s gone and you will miss it terribly because there’s nothing like the joy it brings.
You are the super hero starring in the life that is their movie. They see only perfection in you and want all of you that they can drink in.
So on those days when you feel like you are missing out and life is passing you by, go grab your little ones and bury your nose deep in their necks with your arms wrapped tight around them and breath in that magic….. that magic and those giggles – that will be gone way too soon.
There will be plenty of time for girlfriends and wine but this time will pass quickly!
It is a gift, a gift that will expire long before we are ready.
The magic, it will get you through.
Just when I don’t think I can take it anymore and I am teetering between running away or crying, he will appear in front of me with a flower and say ‘mommy loves it when I bring her flowers” and he’ll give me a big hug and I forget. I forget what everyone else is doing on Facebook and all those adventures I’m “missing” out on and I realize he is my best friend and I wouldn’t want it any other way!
Mommy, you are a super hero!!!!