It has once again been a long time since I have written, and I apologize for that.
But to start off right…
There has been so much going on lately. My son is now almost 9 months old. He is like a little sponge and growing so fast. I have been back at work full time for 6 months now, and honestly not a whole lot has changed. Except for me.
I have changed in ways I never knew that I could. Some ways for the better and some that I can improve on.
What I am writing about today though are just some things that have been on my mind lately. The pressures of being a working mom and the stigma and expectations that I place on myself, and also the effects of having a child on all of my relationships. Those are two big topics, I know. But writing has always helped me sort things out, so lets go on this journey together. I would love to hear any advice or struggles you have/are going through as well with being a working mom/dad and relationships after children. I think creating a space where we can share will help everyone grow.
So first, my expectations and stigma.
For those of you who have read some of the posts on my site, you know that I am from the south (US). And that in itself comes with a lot of expectations (parents from the north, how are things the same/different for you?). First, I grew up with a stay at home mom for most of my early childhood. Then after my brother and I were in school, both of my parents worked. However, during that time, when it came to care of the children, I remember my mom providing most of it because my dad worked a lot trying to provide for our family. That is not to say that when daddy got home, we didn’t play and horse around, because we did, but the care of the children and the home (not including repairs and the like) fell mostly on my mom.
I think this is where a lot of my expectations and stigma started from. I fully expected that after I had my son to continue to go full speed ahead and be able to take care of the housework, cook fun and interesting dinners, provide the care for my son, and work full time. In some ways I have been able to do this, but in many areas (that I thought were very important) I have let those expectations slip. One is housework and cooking dinner. I used to love cooking dinner. Creating and experimenting with different spices and seasonings, but now, when I get home from work, I just want to spend time with my son. I feel bad when I do not have a hot meal prepared–even though my husband is fully supporting that decision not to cook every night–because I feel like it is my job.
Also, on top of everything that happens at work, it feels like I am always running but never really reaching a destination unless I stop to be present with my son. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? Maybe not though. I just feel so much more grounded when he is around. Maybe because I am more focused or maybe because I promised myself that doing my best to be a good mother would be the ultimate accomplishment. Every time he looks at me, I think that is right.
Another thing to point out here is the lack of rest and time I take to provide myself with care. I have lost 40 lbs since delivering my son. I am not complaining about it (most people congratulate me on it), but at the same time I have not been doing anything to lose the weight. Most of it is from breastfeeding, but even more than that, I think it is from stress. I say this because I have been ill much more now than I ever was in the past. The culprit, probably the lack of self-care or really taking the time to consider it. But I have come to a point where (I am being pretty vulnerable here, so please be nice) I feel like I give and give and give, and by the time my son is asleep, I feel like I have nothing left and all I want to do is get in pjs and sleep.
This brings me to relationships.
Since having my son, I have not really been giving my husband that much of myself or at least, not as much as I think I should. Where do you find the energy and the time to continue to give when you do not think there is anything left? The only answer I have for that right now, is I am trying to give myself a little bit of grace. I try to spend time with my husband when I can (he works two jobs and is a full time student). Because of this, when we do spend that time together, I try to make the most of it. Relevant and meaningful conversations. No relationship is perfect, and we work on ours everyday, but I just wonder sometimes, am I doing enough? And I think that is okay.
Other relationships to consider are friendships. A part of me misses being able to go out with the girls or go to concerts with my husband, but after a long week, all I see is the pile of never ending laundry and housework, and I want to spend as much time as possible with my family. I feel like I am missing out on so much and clenching madly trying to take it all in at the same time. So for those of you out there, how do you do it? How do you fit everyone in while still feeling sane?
The last relationship to consider is that with my parents and in-laws. It seems like a constant balancing act. Everyone wants to spend time with their grand-baby, and rightly so, but sometimes I feel like I am being pulled from all directions and the time I am trying to cultivate is taken or not what I wanted it to be. Does that make me selfish? Maybe. Maybe not.
I most certainly do not have the answers, but all I know is that I am trying and each day gets a tad bit easier. I know one day I will probably look back on this time and laugh and wonder why I was so crazy about everything. But for now, all I can do is take it one day at a time, try to be the best version of myself as possible and continue to try.
What have you found that helps you?
One last thing, I want to give a big round of applause to all of the single parents out there. You are doing a great job. Just keep on keepin’ on, as they say.
I hope to hear from you.
Until Next time,