I wanted to share a mom life update today. As you’ve likely noticed, these posts tend to be more about me and my experiences in family life than about my kids stages and changes. When the kids were babies it felt like they were an extension of me and I didn’t mind sharing them, but now Jo is so clearly her own person and I like protecting their privacy as they get older.
Being off social media
The biggest reason I stepped away from social media was because I noticed when I was home with my family I’d be thinking about what was the best way to frame this shot for the internet. It bothered me so much to think about my life as potential moments to be shared. It took about 2 months for my brain to stop thinking about my days like this and now when I’m home with the girls I feel like I don’t have many ulterior motives to spending time with them (I do think social media can help one notice and draw attention to the joyful moments in the day, but ultimately decided it wasn’t right for me and our family). A simple, quiet life with my family and continuing to learn and know my worth in Christ is what I want. And a pool lol. I wouldn’t mind putting in a pool because holy crap if we’re going to stay in Houston (which I imagine we will) we’ve gotta figure out a way to help the heat be bearable. But ultimately, when it comes to social media, the more I lean out of other’s lives and into my own life/community the better my life gets. Life feels simplified, way more connected, and way less confusing.
I would at some point like to have a professional Instagram presence, but I don’t know if I can handle that or if I’ll just let it go. When I was building my nutrition practice I needed instagram and the blog to get client referrals, but that isn’t the case anymore as I have great therapists I work with in Houston and across the US who send clients who need support my way. The blog I love. I think it does a lot of good. Instagram I don’t love for my work. It’s fast and loud and shallow and lacks deep connection and engagement (imo).
Parenting with Andrew
Learning to parent with Andrew has been really hard. We ended up starting to see a marriage counselor and it’s been really helpful. This all gets really personal and I’m going to limit what is shared here. We’ve made a lot of changes and I don’t feel like I’m in the trenches of parenting alone anymore and that has helped significantly reduce my resentment towards Andrew. Specific changes I’m okay sharing: switching daycares so Andrew can help with daycare drop off and pick ups regularly, getting on a bath time schedule so each of us knows the nights we have off to do something rejuvenating, and Andrew’s started teaching me how to play golf, so once a week we try to make it to the driving range in our neighborhood before we pick up the girls from school.
We’ve gone through the Prepare/Enrich martial counseling questionnaire (maybe some of you have done it if you did extensive pre-marital counseling…we did not. Honestly I don’t feel like we were mature enough when we got married to handle pre-marital counseling.) and that’s given us a lot of helpful information to identify growth areas for us. There’s a lot of other things that have come up and I feel like if I can’t figure them out in the safety of my marriage (the safest and most secure relationship I have) I won’t be able to figure it out in other relationships. I’m grateful for marriage and the chance to know someone and be known so well. Ultimately I feel like counseling has helped us be more engaged and connected as a family and that is really important to me.
Things I’ve realized for myself:
- Shifting my mindset to remember that every member of my family is needed as a part of my family, instead of thinking this person doesn’t fit into the vision I expected of my family.
- Not suppressing myself when I’m frustrated (basically not avoiding conflict) will lead to a stronger and more honest marriage. Avoiding conflict will lead to division. And I’ve been thinking that avoidance for me is a form of dishonesty. And while avoidance appears to be more peaceful in the moment, it’s not in the long run.
- Unchecked and building resentment will destroy our family. COMMUNICATE.
- I now see avoidance of problems and unchecked resentment for what they are…schemes of the devil.
How to Stop Losing your Sh*t with Your Kids
I just listened to this book and really liked it. The basic premise was that in parenthood our buttons get pushed, so we have to find a way to make our buttons as small and un-pushable as possible through self care. Her self care recommendations are the “s’s”: single tasking (stopping multitasking), sleep, support, self compassion, space from kids, stillness, simplification of anything.
Some of my favorite quotes from the book:
“Do you really want to hinge your sanity on someone who licks walls and melts down over a misshapen piece of toast?”
“No one effortlessly has life together in a consistent and ongoing way.”
“You can’t willpower your way out of exhaustion.”
“I am [Jojo and Ella’s] prefrontal cortex until they’re in their 20s when it is fully developed. They make decisions off of their limbic system. Your limbic system comes into play if your prefrontal cortex goes off-line because of exhaustion, constantly getting your buttons pushed, overwhelm, etc.”
And my favorite: “Don’t practice something you don’t want to get better at.”
Daily prayer for days I stay at home with kids
I feel like we are in a particularly fussy season with the girls lately. It brings me to the edge of my sanity (daily. Parents of older kids, is this my future? Or does it get less taxing?), so lately something included in my morning prayer has been, “Lord, help me notice and enjoy the times the girls aren’t fussy today.” It has helped.
The few jobs I had in high school and college I hated because at all of them I would find myself watching the clock, wishing the time would pass faster. One of the criteria I wanted for my career was to have a job that I enjoyed enough that I didn’t find myself staring at the clock all day. In my professional life I’ve found this and enjoy my work, however days I stay at home with the kids I find myself watching the clock…in unbelief that it is somehow ONLY 1:30PM (or worse, only 9:30am lol)! It makes me sad, but I think it just is what it is. Days with littles are exhausting and long and lacking compliance. So many times a day I feel myself wanting just that…the children to be compliant. For instance, “hey you guys, let’s put on our shoes and get in the car.” And then for that to actually happen without me intervening sounds like the stuff of dreams!!
We have considered sending the girls to school 5 days a week instead of 3, but honestly I miss them and want to spend time with them after being away from them during the days I work, even if an hour into those days sometimes everyone is a hot freaking mess of emotions and I’m like this is what I was missing yesterday?!!! Oh, the ups and downs. And I don’t feel like sending them 5 days would fix my motherhood struggles. I’d rather just stay the course at the moment and keep bringing more ease into our days through massively decreased expectations and accepting that life with littles, while I expected it to be effortlessly fulfilling and fun, is for sure magical and wonder-filled, but also boring, messy, involves more tv than I thought, involves more me working on my computer sometimes, exhausting and, as aforementioned, lacking compliance.
I’ve also been praying a lot for me to clearly be able to see and remember the purpose of motherhood and to just have a biblically realistic view of this time period. I don’t expect it to be all joy, but I feel I swing towards the chronically pessimistic side of things a lot. I want to be honest about what causes me to groan (like literally I emit a low frustrated groan from my mouth regularly), but I’d like to be able to shift into a more hopeful groaning space. Our small group is about to study Ecclesiastes, so I’m hoping that will be helpful around what it means to walk with God through the fog of seasons and have more realistic expectations. Any women who want to give me encouragement in this area, I’m all ears.
Fun with the girls
I love to do things for the girls that I think they’ll have happy memories of. For instance, for Jo I’ve started doing hot chocolate and bath time randomly, where she drinks a fancy milk frothed hot chocolate in the bath and it’s so extra but she loves it and it’s a fun something special to do.
Also bath related, one of my favorite things to do lately is when Ella is taking a nap Jojo and I will get in a bubble bath together. I’ll put on a face mask and relax and Jo will play with her bath toys and bubbles…all while playing the Frozen 2 soundtrack and we sing the songs together. If that buys me 5 minutes of peace and I end up with only a few bath toys to the face it’s a victory.
And one day a week we’ve started getting kolaches and going to a park with a lot of open space to starting the day with breakfast and playing outside. I really enjoy that and it feels like special, important time together. Typically the girls just go in their pjs and it just feels really thrown together and fun.
And lastly, both Jo and I love Wild Kratts. That show is so good!
Motherhood is humbling.
When Jo was about a year we were out at Chick-fila and I remember another mom losing her mind on her 5 yr old son and screamed, “all you ever do is disappoint me.” At the time I remember being horrified, but then just this past week on an exceptionally fussy day I had the thought, “all you guys ever do is frustrate me” towards my kids. Motherhood is a hard and humbling job.
When motherhood is hard I’ve noticed that my default thought is, “I must be doing something wrong.” Lately I’ve been reframing that by reminding myself that some days are just awful and nothing needs to change necessarily. Just acknowledging a bad day as a bad day and nothing more.
Any tips or thoughts? I do have a lot of body image thoughts swirling in my head lately, but I’m going to save those for another post, since this one is already a bit lengthy and I’d like a little bit more time to think them through. See you guys back here next Wednesday!