This week I’ve been on the quest to locate the joy in motherhood again. It’s been missing for awhile and I’m tired of not loving it anymore. This week has been one of my best weeks in awhile and I am beginning to realize a few things that have been stealing my joy and I’m now working hard to eliminate them.
If you know me personally I am a DOER. Kind of to the extreme. I work 3 jobs, yep 3….while staying home full time with my kids and am committed to spending nearly every evening after bedtime not at my computer, but with my hubby or with friends. How do I do it? I hustle ALL DAY LONG. I rarely ever take one single moment for myself and my day is planned out from the moment my alarm sounds at 6AM until the kiddos go to bed at 8PM. I finally committed 2 weeks ago to take time off every week from work and it’s been HARD, like I literally don’t know what to do with myself (that is why I am blogging right now). So from 5PM on Friday until I wake up Sunday morning I do not allow myself to open my work computers. I think I will learn to love this break from work, but right now it’s sorta driving me nuts.
So that is one step in the direction of finding my motherhood joy. Taking the time on the weekends to not be pulled in any direction other than relationships. So far it’s been a struggle for me, but I’m pretty confident in the next few weeks I will learn to LOVE it.
Step 2, this week I have let go of something every day. One day Ellery went to school without having her hair or teeth brushed and it was very obvious when we walked into school that I hadn’t touched her hair in at least 24 hours. The next day we got the hair and teeth brushed, but breakfast was an applesauce squeeze pack and a cup full of rainbow goldfish on the drive to school. Then the following day I let work go all morning and took Vaughn on an outing for the first time, maybe ever, I realized I needed to spend time with JUST Vaughn and I never do that, like ever. It was a stretch for me, mornings with Vaughn are my time to get the groceries done, answer e-mails, run errands, do anything that is easier with one than with 2, but it was really good for us to GO do something just her and me and I hope to make this more of a habit. Then last night perhaps the hardest thing to let go of was my expectations of what it looks like to have people over. I went to the store bought pre-marinated chicken breasts, frozen french fries, boxed brownies and fruit and I called it a day. Guess what? We had just as nice of a time visiting with friends than we would have if I had made the homemade potatoes, made my own marinade and made brownies from scratch (which was all on the original menu).
This week I realized I had lost my joy when I made the vow that I had to do it all. Been going to a mom group called Mom to Mom and it’s been the best thing I could do for my mom self. They affirm us every week that we cannot do it all so I’m trying to do two things a day well. 1. Be present with my kids. This week has been intentional outings that I knew my kids would love. 2. Ask my husband everyday, “what can I do today to make your day better?” Then I commit to do that one thing even if other things get dropped in order to do that.
Step 3: I am committing on Monday to call ECI which is an early childhood intervention program to help us with Vaughn. Something is off, we don’t know what, but I have hope that they can help us to work with her to communicate better and cut down on the hours of daily screaming. The screaming has really zapped my joy and fried my nerves and after a YEAR of not giving into the extreme tantrums without much progress I have gotten affirmation from several people in my life that it’s time to seek some assistance because the behavior is more extreme than the normal “terrible two” type stuff. There is a really sweet girl in that little body and I want to help her learn to showcase that more often.
So I haven’t FOUND my joy yet, but I am full steam ahead on the adventure of finding it again. Making my doer self do less is going to likely be my hardest challenge, but I am committed, I must turn the tide.