Happy Mother’s Day to all the fabulous Moms out there!!!!
To begin, I would not be writing today’s post without the suggestion by a fellow mommy blogger, Dyan of And Next Comes L, of “unmasking” ourselves a bit and showing the “behind the scenes” workings of a mommy blogger.
Her thinking was that many of our readers think that we are probably superwomen, when in fact, we are not.
While thinking about this idea of being a “super-mom,” I came to the realization that I had to confess something… So here it is – my difficult-to-admit (mostly to myself) confession….
I love being at home right now with my 2 1/2 year old son Onetime, and feel extremely lucky that we can manage it financially, but I also find it incredibly difficult.
And then there are those of you who are working full-time and thinking it would be absolutely sweet to be at home and not have to deal with the struggles of balancing a work life and a home life.
Of course, you’re both right.
I can only imagine how exhausting both of those scenarios would be, but for me, the reasons may be different than what you’re thinking….and they have a lot to do with me starting this blog.
When I first went on maternity leave, I thought I would return to my elementary teaching job after one year. Then, as the one-year mark approached, I found it really hard to think about going back to work. I didn’t want to leave my sweet little boy in anyone else’s hands.
Why had I spent years learning about child development and working with kids if I wasn’t meant to be the primary influence and teacher for my own child? And frankly, my last year teaching had been so emotionally exhausting with a very challenging group of kids, that I wasn’t ready to return.
So, I decided to take another year of parental leave.
That second year was a little different from the first though. Not so focused now on constantly changing diapers and nursing and working around naps, I was having a lot more fun with my fairly active little guy! So many things to explore with him and new activities to try! Busy, busy – but mostly fun!
Then, the third year approached. Different reasons now kept me from returning to work. My son was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy and had a potentially life-threatening reaction occur after he was licked by a random dog while out on a family hike. Now – how could I go back to work and possibly trust someone else with my son’s life?
I know that sounds a bit hyper-emotional and I realize that it is – but those were the thoughts running through my head at the time.
In fact, I have a very sweet tempered boy who although he can be very loud and boisterous (and silly!) at times, has not been too difficult to raise so far. The challenging part had now become how to maintain my emotional health, my sense of self-worth, and my Self.
As the two and a half years of being home have progressed, I have in turn felt immense joy and satisfaction with being a stay-at-home mom, and at other times, a sad, depressed, lacklustre version of myself.
I should explain. I have always been an overachiever. When I was teaching, I regularly was the last car to pull out of the parking lot each day, was a part of way too many committees, and was busy coaching soccer, running the school play, and leading the school recycling and compost club. I thrive on being busy! Maybe for me, having only one child was not enough stimulation?
Over the course of this really long, bitterly cold winter, I began to feel really depressed.
Days were seeming really routine, multiple coffees were a necessity to get through the day, and I couldn’t escape a sense of feeling my self slip away.
The worst part – was the guilt associated with having these depressed feelings. Wasn’t I lucky to be at home? Shouldn’t I LOVE every minute with my son? Why wasn’t that enough?
But the fact was that regardless of all the fun things I did with my son and all the time and effort I put into bringing him up, I had begun to constantly crave a different kind of stimulation – intellectual stimulation.
Around last Christmas, I started posting descriptions and pictures of activities I was doing with my son on my personal Facebook account and really enjoyed sharing my ideas with others and just the process of writing daily and documenting our life at home.
So – the idea of the blog began and it’s been a crazy ride ever since! I can’t explain how much I’ve learned in the short time since I’ve started One Time Through.
From learning to navigate WordPress (my hosting site), to finally figuring out what hashtags and widgets are, to learning new basic computer skills like capturing a screen shot – every day has been full of new connections for my brain!
And I LOVE that I’m getting better at taking photos, designing collages, and writing! So rewarding to see myself improve!
Also – it’s been really nice getting positive feedback from other bloggers and readers who like the ideas that I’m sharing. But MOST of all – I feel like I’m reclaiming a little bit of my SELF back – every time I express myself creatively through blogging!
Now the problem is not having a lack of stimulation, but having too much!
I have always been the kind of person who has a hard time balancing life. I’m really great at focusing in on one thing and putting crazy amounts of energy into that thing – but have a much harder time spreading myself out between roles. And now that I’m blogging, I have three pretty demanding roles – Mom, Wife, and Blogger.
Blogging hasn’t changed much with my Mom role, other than my son has gotten used to me taking pictures of him doing everything. Well that hasn’t really changed I guess! He IS an only child after all!
However, now when he naps (and thank god he does usually for a couple of hours each afternoon), instead of puttering about the house and feeling a little lost while trying to stay quiet, I am madly typing up the next blog, editing photographs, preparing materials for the next project/activity, and spreading the news of what we are doing on social media so that all that time and effort will be worth it!
Things have been pretty disorganized around here too! My blogging “workstation” is covered with arts and crafts materials for current projects, materials that haven’t been put away yet from past projects, and new materials that I picked up somewhere that I’m not sure what to do with – but that I want to do something with!
On top of that, I’m spending way too much money at the dollar store on materials for art and craft projects.
I wear the same pair of jeans all week, haven’t gotten a haircut in more than 6 months, and my legs are habitually unshaven until the morning of weekly swimming lessons! (and NO – I’m not including pictures of these!!!)
Is being a Stay-At-Home-Mom a gift? Absolutely!!! Would I change it? Not for a second!
Does it have its challenges? YES…and those are different for each one of us who chooses to go this route. For me, it’s a journey and a constant struggle.
It’s about trying to maintain my sense of Self, doing the very best for my son, and trying to be a good wife to my husband (that’s a whole other story!).
I hope you enjoy YOUR day today! Cheers to Moms! and thanks for listening!
P.S. Check out these other terrific Mommy Bloggers “unmasking” themselves today!
And Next Comes L | 3 Dinosaurs | Hands On: As we Grow | Kids Play Space | Life Over C’s | Makeovers & Motherhood | Not Just Cute | Play DrMom | Teaching Mama | The Craft Train | The Educators’ Spin On It | The Measured Mom | Third Stop on the Right | This Reading Mama
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