Hello friends! How’s your week going? I feel the need to update you on my life. Writing has been an incredible outlet for me – a means of expressing myself in ways I couldn’t before. And I feel a connection with so many of you that it seems totally reasonable that I would share personal information in such a public way (Who AM I?!).
At this point in my life I am realizing a lot about myself and what I want out of life. Becoming a parent changes you in many ways. The first year was very challenging for me both as a new parent and a mother to twins. I felt lost at times caught up in this race of trying to be everywhere and everything at once.
It was really tough working full-time and balancing being a new mom. I would rush out of a meeting to pump quickly before heading to the next one. I’d eat on the run or sometimes not at all. I’d bring my laptop into the health room and work while I pumped. My finest moment was during a phone call when the woman I was speaking with asked me if I was exercising. I didn’t realize anyone could hear the noise! I confessed that I was pumping, and her response was, “Oh, honey! I’ve been there!”
So often I just felt like I was doing everything poorly. Looking back, some of it truly is a blur. But it is just a moment in time. And maybe I was doing a poor job sometimes, but I was doing it and that’s the point. I’ve learned a few things over the last three years about parenting and life in general. I’m sharing this because I believe many of you – parents or not – can relate to these in some way.
Parenting doesn’t get any easier, it just changes.
This is true. The newborn phase was really hard for us. And understandably so considering the only way to communicate is through crying…times two? I sometimes wished myself right through it.
Now that the girls are almost three, I look back and think – Wow, that WAS hard! But has it gotten “easier?” No. It just changes. The girls can use their words to express themselves, but with that comes whining and tantrums. They can feed themselves, but with that comes spilled drinks and dropped bowls after they insist they can carry it. My kids run and jump and climb, but with that comes falls, bumps, and scrapes. And I know as they age things will continue to evolve. We’ll have homework, attitudes, relationships, and curfews. Learning to just roll with it and keep a steady head has been helpful for me.
You can’t be everything to everyone.
I often feel conflicted in my life. Working full-time and wanting to be present for my kids has been difficult for me. Yes, I enjoy my job, but I love being with my girls and my family comes first. It’s been emotionally draining to try and stretch myself between two places and never feeling like I’m measuring up in either. I’ve realized that trying to sustain this way of life is not good for me or my family. I’ll be making some changes in my work schedule soon that will allow me more time with the girls.
Do more of what makes you happy.
When the girls were infants I devoted myself completely to them. My focus, my decisions, everything – involved them in some way. Now that they are older, I’m trying to include more things that give me joy – as an individual – like reading and writing. And paying attention to self-care. This means taking breaks when I need to, naps when possible, getting a massage or taking a yoga class. Being a parent is very demanding and it’s important to make time for yourself. Whatever it is that makes you happy, go do that. And never, never feel guilty about doing something for yourself.
You don’t have to justify your decisions to anyone.
I’ve had to make some difficult decisions in my life lately and I found myself explaining to others the reasons behind my choices. It made me feel like I was looking for approval or that I wasn’t behind my decisions. Every single person was supportive and understanding. Some even said I didn’t need to explain myself at all. So often the very best thing to do is to just make a choice and go with it. Will everyone agree with me? No. Does it matter? No.
So that’s where I am right now. I hope you don’t mind the personal talk, but I imagine there is at least one point here that you might be able to relate to.
What are some of the things you’ve learned about yourself lately? What are some things you enjoy doing that is just for you?