Until just over a year ago, I was a full-time working mom. I had much responsibility “on the job” and at home. Sometimes my job required twelve-hour days for six days at a time. I enjoyed my work and had a boss who appreciated my work.
With two little girls, and a husband who grew up with only boys, much of their care fell on my shoulders. Outside of bottle feeding and rocking to sleep, I was the primary caregiver—and with a younger daughter who rarely slept through any night—I was exhausted.
When I had the opportunity to stay at home with my girls, I was so excited. I looked forward to it with great anticipation—imagining how much cleaner my house would be, how much calmer my children would be, how much more sleep I’d get ...
I expected a certain period of adjustment for all of us. I was only accustomed to my girls’ regular morning, evening, and weekend routines, as their Mamaw took care of them while I worked. Being at home with them all the time, I decided to take things slowly and just allow us some time to adjust.
My husband changed jobs only six weeks after I quit mine, and while it was expected, the change brought additional stress I was not prepared for. The roles and expectations within my marriage were shifting and for a time, I felt lost.
A year later and we still find ourselves adjusting.
Each one of my girls has such beautiful gifts and talents—and some traits and characteristics that exasperate me to no end. Being so different, and having completely different needs and demands, I was shocked by my feelings of inadequacy, concern at how well I was actually doing my “Mommy” job, and by the profound grief at the loss of my working job.
It was a very confusing time for me—as I mourned the loss of my job and all its rewards, I found myself focusing on the difficulties of Mommyhood.
The poop art. (Do I really need to explain?)
The continued sleep deprivation. (Naps are my friend!)
The way my daughters cried for their Mamaw and didn’t seem to want to do anything with or for me.
The way my house got messier and messier because we spent more time at home than before ...
All my rose-colored dreams easily disappeared. Instead, I found myself with new dreams and a different perspective of my life and my role as Wife, Mommy, Home keeper, Financial manager, Business manager, and more.
Rather than being incapable of managing these things, I had to let go of the images I had of myself. I had to release the expectations I had for myself when it came to managing a home and family—and learn to enjoy the little moments.
Rather than enforcing a stringent minute-by-minute schedule, I’ve learned to have a simple morning, afternoon, and evening routine—allowing for spontanaeity when possible. We have all settled into this nicely and our days together are much happier.
Rather than feeling like a failure because I didn’t accomplish all thirty-five tasks I laid out for myself in a day, I began to break tasks down and recognize my limitations: a) It is not really necessary for me to accomplish all thirty-five tasks and b) I do not have to be (nor do I want to be) perfect! Throwing out perfectionism has been my biggest struggle, but one I relish!
I have learned to enjoy my daughters for who they are. Fun and silly, moody and sassy, needy and independent - I have found a way to enjoy the moments of motherhood more and focus less on the work of motherhood.
To embrace the challenges as opportunities for growth, for strengthening our family bonds, and for seeing the joy that being a mommy can bring.
The truth is, I had to let go of the “ME” I thought I was, and embrace the ME I was becoming.
Looking back, I can see that what I’ve lost is nothing compared to what I’ve gained. I have grown closer to my husband despite financial concern. I have grown closer to my daughters and feel much more joy in the experience of our everyday norms. I have rediscovered my passion for cooking and baking.
Being a great wife and mom is hard work—don’t get me wrong. And some days I would much prefer a nine-to-five job so I could have a plausible excuse as to why my house is NEVER neat or entirely clean. But I am finding contentment in my life and am so grateful for the gifts of my supportive, loving husband and two beautiful daughters.