Motherhood is the most emotionally draining experience a woman will ever experience. You love fiercely, sleep little, worry constantly, and become completely overwhelmed trying to figure out your new normal. Suddenly, someone else is completely dependent on you and all your priorities change. Although you have nine months to prepare, there is really nothing that can prepare you for motherhood. For most moms self-care suffers, we turn into survival mode, and that fairy tale of having 2.5 kids and a white picket fence doesn’t seem so perfect anymore.
Like most, my experience of being a mom has been a roller coaster of emotions from joy and love to exhaustion, irritation, and feeling like I would never be able to do it all. I would never be able to spend enough time with my kids, I would always feel guilt over not spending enough time with my kids, and I would never excel at my career because of my kids. Nevermind finding time for myself or my husband.
Can you relate?
When I had my first daughter in March of 2011 I distinctly remember sitting home with her one day during her first week of life and thinking; this is what it feels like to be truly happy. I was blessed with an easy delivery and a fairly low maintenance baby, and I was completely in love with her and with motherhood. At that time the only thing I had to focus on was her as I didn’t have any other children and I was on a twelve-week leave from my job. My husband was helping out as we’ve always approached parenthood as a team, and luckily, I never experience any PPD, so I was truly loving life.
But that feeling started to fade away as my first day back to work started approaching. I vividly remember the sinking feeling in my gut each day as I counted down to the day I would have to leave my baby for almost ten hours. My true happiness was over. That feeling was a pain I have never felt before, and one that far too many moms have to bare.
Staying home was not an option at that time as we couldn’t survive on my husband’s income (or so I thought), so I quickly had to adapt to my new normal. Eventually going to work got easier and we were content balancing work and our little family, but I can’t say I was truly happy.
Fast forward to 2014 when my second daughter was born, and everything changed. Holy moly! Two kids are so much harder than one! And my second daughter was not nearly as low maintenance as the first (the curse of the second child). I was working full-time, rushing home to pick my kids up from daycare, throwing a PB&J or bowl of cereal on the table for dinner, giving them baths, and rushing them off to bed so I could crash on the couch. My husband works several nights during the week so although we still approached parenthood together, many nights I was doing this all by myself after a stressful day at work.
And even though we were in this together, we often felt like we were doing this all alone. Like ships passing in the wind, “divide and conquer” became our new normal. I’ll watch the kids while you mow the lawn or clean the house. I’ll take “A” to swimming lessons while you stay home with “L.” I’ll take today off to stay home with our sick child (again), and you can take tomorrow off (bye bye vacation time). My husband’s work schedule changes daily and includes nights and weekends, so we rarely had time together as a family, let alone as a couple.
When I finally hit my breaking point
After about eighteen months of this, I finally broke. You know how you say things like “I’m going to reach my breaking point,” but in reality, you don’t know what exactly that is? Well, I found that breaking point and I crashed hard. I had moments when I felt like I couldn’t breathe if one more person asked me to do something at work because I was so overwhelmed. I would come home and cry because I barely saw my kids and when I did I was miserable. I was absolutely miserable, and I was taking it all out on my husband. Something had to change.
So, I started to do some serious budgeting at home. My husband and I talked A LOT before we finally decided we had to take a risk (we were not risk takers). Yes, we would be living on an extremely tight budget, one that was uncomfortable and completely terrified us, but we knew that we had to do this for our family and our health. We knew that if we took one step back, that would eventually allow us to take several steps forward in building the life we dreamed of, even though we weren’t exactly sure what that was at the time. So in December 2015 I made one of the biggest decisions of my life and walked away from my twelve-year career so I could stay home with my young children.
Fast forward two years and that risk was one thousand percent worth it! Our lives have completely changed, our mindset has changed, our relationship has improved, and our connection with our children is stronger than ever. And I recently I had that feeling I had almost seven years ago again. That light bulb moment when I realized – WOW THIS IS WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE TRULY HAPPY. It feels amazing!
If you are struggling to become that yes mom, I would love to help you! Join our free Facebook Group here –> Seashells and Storytime – Support, Encourage, Persevere.