Take, for example, what I'm doing right now. I slipped out of the house while my in-laws came by to visit. My mom is at the house, my husband is home - there are four totally capable adults at the house - but yet I still feel guilty that I snuck away for an hour and a half to drink a chai tea and do a little bit of writing in peace. Or as much peace as I can get at the Starbucks by my house.
But here I sit, trying desperately to focus because I only have a short amount of time and a billion things I want to do, and the entire time in the back of my mind I'm feeling like I should be at home. Doing what? I don't know. Cleaning? Of course, there's always something to clean. The dishwasher needs to be unloaded and reloaded. There's laundry. The baby might get hungry. There's just the general chaos of two kids to manage. Shouldn't I be there doing that? Isn't that my job?
I'm annoyed with myself. I'm annoyed that these unspoken expectations are forced down our throats. I'm annoyed that taking five minutes to myself to just freaking breathe for a second is something that I think I don't deserve.
Something I've been struggling with for the past few months, but in reality, for the last three years, is the whole "stay at home mom" thing. Obviously, I'm a stay at home mom. But for a couple of years I worked from home around 10 hours a week doing freelance writing. Once Gavin arrived I knew I couldn't handle doing it with two kids at home. But almost immediately, I started feeling that itch for something other than just being at home with the babies.
Oh man. Talk about mom guilt. Why, WHY on earth, am I not satisfied staying home with my babies? Why on earth do I feel like I need more? Why can't I look at my life, at my beautiful home and my nice things and my husband who works so hard so I don't have to, and be happy staying home with my two adorable kids and just being mommy? I have everything I have ever hoped for and more. This is the dream, right? Stay at home mom, taking care of the house and cooking dinner and teaching my babies? So why do I feel so unfulfilled? What is wrong with me?
It took me months and months of internal debate to come to the realization that some women just need something else. Of course I love my children more than anything on this entire earth, and of course I love that I get to be home with them to teach them and watch them grow and to witness all of the amazing firsts. But dang, can't a girl take a minute to think about her hopes and dreams outside of mom-ing? It really feels like you can't. It almost feels that you have to make the choice between "working mom" and "stay at home mom", and that's it. You're one or the other. It feels like such a division. It's just so dumb. It's all so, so dumb.
If you can't tell, I'm in a real mood today. The past few days, actually. I think it's just coming to the realization that it's just so, so hard to actually do anything at all with littles. These precious, tiny little humans that I am molding and shaping into hopefully fully grown, independent, amazing, wonderful members of society. It's such a huge thing, it's such a big job, and it really, truly is the most important thing. I want nothing more than to be an out of this world good mom to these precious babies that I've been entrusted with. But I have so many dreams for my life. I am constantly, constantly coming up with things I want to do, all of these endeavors I want to pursue, and it's so incredibly frustrating that I just can't. I can't. I simply can't with these itty bitty people at home that I need to take care of day in and day out.
I'm searching for a solution. I'm looking for a way to do both, to be the best mommy I can possibly be all while pursuing some of these dreams. I don't know how that works, I really don't. I don't know what the answer is. I don't know if this is just a season of life that I need to sink into and embrace, of raising babies and that's all for now. I do know that I'm praying about it daily. I'm praying for guidance, I'm praying for peace, I'm praying for contentment in this season, if that's what is best.
I also know that we have GOT to stop with the guilt. It's not fair. It is so not fair to have these unreal expectations, all of us crazy moms. It is so not fair to look at Instagram and Pinterest and to think "Oh my God look how amazing of a mom she is! Her kids are adorable and she's always so put together and her house is always clean in the photos and she owns a side business and she's making tons of money but she still gets to stay home with her kids and she has an amazing relationship with her husband and WHYYYY can't I do all of that, too?!?"
We've got to just embrace our own lives, our own selves, and our abilities and our realities and our season that we're living and say "Ok. This is fine. This is actually amazing and beautiful and perfect in it's imperfectness, and this is MY life and MY reality and I love it. It may be hard sometimes and it may be difficult and there may be some things that I wish I could change, but I will live this life to the fullest and STOP feeling guilty for any of it. For not measuring up to this unreal, unspoken expectation of what a perfect mom should be".
So that's what I'm going to work on. That's what I'm striving for, calmness and peace and contentment in this season, and the next one, and the one after that. Knowledge and peace that I'm where I need to be, when I need to be. That I'm living the life that was designed for me, and that God doesn't make mistakes, that he will give me a little nudge in whichever direction I need to take things, and that I need to calm down and relax in that. Of course, if there are improvements that can be made to make life better for me and make me happier and more content, then I absolutely plan to make those changes. And I also plan to not feel one ounce of guilt about doing what I feel like I need to do to make me the happiest mommy I can be, because I think that's a HUGE part of what actually makes up a great mommy.
I feel like there's a common theme to my posts lately, and that theme is to word-vomit all over my blog all of my internal mommy/wifey/womanly struggles and hope and pray that no one thinks I'm crazy and tries to have me committed. I hope that there are women out there relating, I hope that whoever needs to read this and think "YESSSS, I am not crazy nor am I alone!" will find there way to this itty bitty blog. That's what I hope.