There are different seasons we go through in life.
Seasons where we are so busy and stressed it feels as if our car is a merely a taxi cab with a locker storage unit in the back donning football cleats, crayons, shoes, hula skirts, library books and random granola bar wrappers (because face it-those are everywhere!) We are constantly running from point A to point B with hardly a moment to breathe in between.
On the flip side, there are seasons where everything seems to be going relatively easy. The kids are sticking to a successful routine and completing their homework without causing World War 3. We haven’t had a late library book in a few months. Heck, even that drawer in the kitchen that tends to collect anything and everything that will fit in it has gotten organized! We can breathe easy. Yep! Life is good in this season.
I’ve spent this past year coming down from a season of high stress and emotions: military deployments, moving, starting a new school, my last baby starting Kindergarten…
There were times when, I couldn’t help but wonder, “what else could possibly happen? Isn’t this about all I can handle?”
Through it all, I remained strong, faithful and diligent to continue being a good wife and mother even if I had to “fake it til I made it.” I knew it wouldn’t last forever (ok, I really, really hoped it wouldn’t). And, it gave me strength to wake up another day and continue on.
On the tail end of that season, these past few months, I find myself in a season of rest.
Now that I’ve emotionally accepted the fact that my baby is growing up and that being in Kindergarten doesn’t mean that she will be going to Senior Prom next week, I find myself appreciating the extra alone time. Let me tell you, drinking a full cup of HOT coffee in the morning is a delicacy I’ve missed!
In the beginning, I set out with such big goals for this new-found “free time.” I was going to be the mom who had the perfectly clean house, laundry always caught up, dinner prepped, school lunches made the day before (go ahead and laugh at me. But, I really thought this was going to be the game changer for the morning rush to school.)
I thought, with all of this extra time, I’d have much more time on my hands to be a BETTER MOM. The mom I had always wanted to be! I’d have time to finally put to use those Pinterest boards of “Creative After School Snacks”.
But, what I’ve actually found, is that not much has changed at all. I have yet to make a Pinterest worthy after school snack (unless you count that ONE day I made ants on a log which is just sliced apples with peanut butter and raisins on top). Laundry is still ongoing. And, don’t get me started on the state of my car. It still looks like a war zone 90% of the time with enough sand to compare to Waikiki Beach.
Let’s face it! I’m still doing everything I’ve been doing during the busy season!
How then, is it possible I FEEL SO MUCH BETTER?
I still feel like we are rushing from place to place. Our schedule hasn’t changed much. And, yet, it feels like a season of rest???
Once the newness of having time to myself during the day wore off, I was able to really get a good idea of what my life was like outside of motherhood for the first time in years. Sure, I’m still mom. But, I find, I have more time to focus on myself than I have in such a long time.
I’ve made it a point to make MYSELF a priority.
As moms, we tend to be last on the list and I finally made that change to putting myself first. And, guess what? Everyone else in my family has survived!
Turns out, those Pinterest after school snacks aren’t a necessity of life after all! My kids are perfectly happy with some fresh strawberries and a granola bar after school. Lets face it-they are just vultures after school and will eat anything in site. Why make it harder than it needs to be?
I’ve learned to not be so hard on myself. I take shortcuts when I can and count it as a WIN not a FAIL. This is a HUGE change for me. I’ve always prided myself on going above and beyond in almost all things. That’s the perfectionist in me coming through.
I’m learning that perfect isn’t better. Happy is better. Yes, I could argue having everything perfect makes me happy (and honestly, an organized cabinet does make me smile.) But, learning to accept less than perfect has made me learn to appreciate the little victories even more.
Instead of spending time making a “perfect” after school snack, I do the grab and go option and spend that extra time reading a book or playing in the garden. Not only do I feel better because I had a few extra moments to myself, but my kids are just as happy.
Instead of feeling like “all I do is clean and take care of the kids,” I feel I’ve had time to myself while they were gone (you could do this during nap time if that’s your situation). So, when they ARE home and need my attention, I feel I can give the best of me and not the tired, resentful part of me that would much rather be drinking lemonade and reading a book. Because, guess what? I already did!
I’ve noticed a change in my over all happiness by cutting myself some slack. I don’t feel pressure anymore and am able to just be ME.
By finding ME again, I feel
I AM THAT “BETTER MOM” I WANTED TO BE.
Only, in a totally different way.
“Better mom” doesn’t have to mean having a perfect house with clean folded laundry every day. “Better mom” means a happy mom. A mom who feels complete as a woman AND a mother.
It doesn’t have to be either or.
For so long, I’ve felt like I couldn’t have both. Now, I’ve discovered I can have my cake and eat it to.
I’m living a busy “mom” life without the added stress of trying to be a “better mom.”
Because, face it.
I already AM a “better mom.”
My kids are loved and happy. It’s time for me to be happy too and that comes from making time for myself again and lessening my load where I can.
Do you think you can be yourself AND a mom?
What have you done to make you feel like the “better mom” you are?
How has making time for yourself changed you as a mother? How does it made you feel?
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