If you’re like me, and have the absolute pleasure of being a stay at home mom (or SAHM, as the internet likes to call it), then you know how as rewarding of a job it is, it can be equally as challenging. I am the last person you’ll ever find to complain about something that’s in my control, as I believe we all have the choice to make things how we want it, including our attitude. In this situation, I will tell you that this job can make it very tough at times to choose the “better” attitude, the silver lining, the Mrs. Optimistic outlook. Some days these little psychos, I mean children, really get the best of you..and your emotional state. What I am saying absolutely does not discount the working moms/dads out there, because honestly I commend those to the fullest that go back to work. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to “go back” (by choice) only to find myself feeling an insane amount of guilt for choosing work over taking my little one to the park, classes, playdates, etc. Yes I’ll admit, going on my third, I’m “over” a lot of those cutesy little things I would do with my first. We had an activity planned everyday, a playdate every other day & adorable mom and baby “skill building” activities. Now my second follows what my first does and those are his lessons of the day. Ok maybe a little over exaggerated, but over all things become much different as the first grows up and more children are added to the pack.
Throughout these years of child rearing and wanting to always do the “right” thing for your children, be the best mom you could ever imagine being, it’s easy along the way to forget about ourselves. We are constantly thinking “give, give, give” to our little ones that we are taking so much away from ourselves and possibly your significant other. Between stories I hear and people I know, it can become a real negative life changer when you’re too busy giving every ounce of physical and mental energy to your little ones and forgetting about yourself. While it’s easy to forget about what you love to do (what is that any more anyways??), I do believe taking just a little bit of time out of your week, hopefully your day, to think what would make you happy can be a game changer. Why a game changer? If you’ve ever had a long day with your kid/s, where they’ve driven you absolutely borderline crazy, only to be imagining yourself floating on a raft to a deserted island sipping margaritas in complete silence, then you know how going out to dinner with your significant other that night can literally save you mentally and emotionally. Fast forward 60-90 minutes into date night, you find yourself wondering what the kids are doing, if they had a good night, whats the plans for tomorrow, etc. etc. You go home, wake up the next morning and want to hear all about their night while snuggling on the couch sipping a cup of coffee…which will naturally last 2 minutes before the cycle starts all over again. My point is, sometimes we may not realize how the shortest amount of “break” can make such a huge difference. Not only were you able to connect with your partner sans screaming kids, but you were able to get that time for normal, human-being you, taking away “mom” you. If you think about the result of any “constant”, the fuel will run out.
Not only are the occasional breaks so important, but I bring you to my main point of keeping YOU as YOU, and not Mom. Sure, we’re still “mom” 24/7, but something else we easily do is letting go of part of our identity. When I think about some things that have identified me before becoming a mother, fitness and music come to mind. Fitness is an obvious and something I’ve kept my passion for throughout my years as a mom, but most of you wouldn’t know about my love of singing. Music is something I grew up in and loving, attempted to pursue professionally and made the decision to change when I found it wasn’t realistic any more. Every now and then I have moments of wanting to bring that part of me back to life, even if it were just doing voice lessons a few times a month. What stops me from doing this? Well, the life of a mom. It is hard to fit new activities for yourself into your life. I bet if I really committed myself, I could make it happen. While I haven’t yet made a commitment to that part of me, something that perhaps is just part of my past, I have made time to focus on new interests. Even if they are short-lived, just to get something new in my life, I’ve made it happen. I won’t lie, it feels good! When my oldest was around 2 years old, I signed up for a photography class. I went once a week at night for a couple months and although I didn’t continue, it was a really nice break in my normal routine. Recently, I’ve really enjoyed painting, another possible hobby to pursue. While I’m not sure if any of these “extra” hobbies will stick at this moment being that I do personally commit myself to my own personal fitness, my husband, my 4 year old, 22 month old and soon-to-be newborn, I do know the benefits of taking these times out for myself when my gas tank needs it! Fitness is such a huge part of my life, that perhaps thats why I have little to complain about. Anytime I do start to feel guilty for going to the gym, I remind myself that the hour I spend in the gym, taking care of my physical health, I am also taking care of my mental health. That one hour, or even 30 minutes, can make the biggest difference on the rest of my day, my energy & attitude with the kids. What’s my take home message? If you have absolutely nothing else going on with yourself, or you feel guilty about it, just remember your kids will remember how you made them feel as a child. You have the ability to choose whether you’re going to be grumpy, annoyed, energetic or happy. Hopefully choosing the latter, how you get there, the kids don’t need to know!