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.
I know those of you with multiple children are probably laughing at me right now – how hard can it be to look after only one child?
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.
However, here’s the problem – being at home full-time with my son had started to be challenging. And no, I’m not referring to the terrible twos!
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.
I’m not sure at what point that turned into a desire to blog, but the whole idea of learning my way around a medium that I knew nothing about seemed really exciting!
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!
My dining room table and hutch and every bookshelf and open surface of the house are constantly covered with arts and crafts and science projects!
I have jot notes everywhere for ideas for blogs, and lists of things to do, and learn.
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 would really love to hear from you other Moms out there! What do you struggle with most as a Mom? How do you maintain balance between your different roles?
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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The mommy talks says
I too understand the need for intellectual stimulation! Your blog, family and this post are wonderful! I think your “messes” look colorful and creative! Happy mother’s day!
Sue Lively says
Thanks so much The Mommy Talks. I was a little nervous to post this, but appreciate the positive feedback! And yes, it seems the more messy things are, the more creative I am! LOL Happy Mother’s Day to you as well!
What a great post! I completely understand the need for stimulation intellectually and creatively. It is also a reason why I started my blog. And your workspace looks as cluttered and crazy as my craft desk!
Sue Lively says
Thanks Dyan! Good to know I’m not alone that way! Heading over to check your blog out now!
just add honey says
Welcome to this crazy mommy world! You’re not alone in your feelings. And no matter what you do, follow your instinct and smother him with your love and everything will be fine!
Sue Lively says
Yep – definitely crazy sometimes! Following instinct is hard, but good advice. As for the smothering – got that covered! Thanks for dropping by!
I completely understand! It has been worse then normal lately as we just moved! So adding the unpacking/ preparing the new house to the whole mess of parenting, homeschooling, part time job, and blogging, and you get, well, basically a crazy person! My house and my looks may suffer a bit, but being busy is usually stimulating to me. If only my job would stop getting in the way of my hobbies now!
Sue Lively says
I love your last sentence Ashley! Too funny! Wouldn’t that be great? There really needs to be more time in the day. Hope the move went well – sounds like there’s a lot on your plate! Thanks for dropping by!
Jennifer Aycock says
I completely understand! I have a little guy who just turned 2 and I love him to pieces but after a year and a half of being home… I was feeling a bit crazy….I went back to work full time and It has been great for me mentally. I feel guilty feeling that way.. I mean why does it seem so easy…and why have my husband and I decided that one is enough? I do not know…but for us jokingly say that we are pouring in all of our effort and doing it “One perfect time” which of course if still far from perfect…but we really do try to give parenting our all…but it is exhausting…and selfless. We are both people that thrive on progress and continuous improvement and parenting has slowed our roll to a turtles pace….on well… I cant wait until our little guy is just a bit older and following verbal commands to keep him and and make leaving the house a bit safe and less frustrating. We love him so much and cant wait to share this great big world with him! Thank you for your honest blog…sometimes I just wonder if everyone else is just lying 🙂
Sue Lively says
I really enjoyed reading your comments Jennifer – so much of what you’re saying resonates with me too. Oh, the guilt! Sometimes it seems like no matter what I do for my son, it’s just not enough. I think it’s definitely part of having an only child. I really “get” what you’re saying about pouring all your effort into making your child’s experiences the best they can be. My husband and I are like that too. And time definitely warps when you have a little one. Some days go crazy fast, and other days – you can’t wait until they’re done! I always say I can’t wait until he’s older so that we can (fill-in-the-blanks), but then I try and catch myself and realize that these days will never come back and to try to enjoy every moment! As I said, it’s a work in progress! Thanks for dropping by!
I’m a blogger, stay-at-home mom as well and everything you said resonated completely with me. It is such a hard task and often times I feel guilty because I put a lot of effort into my blog. Non-bloggers have no idea how much time it takes to run a successful blog all while balancing the roles of mom and wife.
You’re not alone in these feelings. But I am sure you are doing the best you can and for that, I applaud you.
Sue Lively says
Thanks for dropping by and reading Loriel! Yes – the guilt of blogging….I get that too. I really had no idea how time-consuming this was going to be when I began! I tell myself though, that it’s the one thing I’m doing purely for me – and that’s okay. Us Moms need to remember (at least a part of the time) that we are still individuals apart from our children. I think this makes us better Moms in the end too! Don’t you?
Hi there, I really enjoyed reading about your journey. I too am a school teacher (from Australia), I have a one year old girl and have just returned to part time teaching. I really felt like I needed something extra, something for ME, a hobby, to make the most of my free time while my daughter sleeps and do something productive with my early childhood knowledge. So that’s why I started blogging this year. I’m still trying to get it out there into the online community and build my readers and followers. Anyway, will have a browse around your blog now that I’ve found it 🙂
Sue Lively says
Hi Lauren – so glad you dropped by! You have a beautiful site and it looks like you started pretty close to when I did – we should keep in touch! I added you to my google+. Are you on Facebook?
Your sentiments above sound very similar to what I have felt! You must have a good napper too! Thanks for leaving a comment!
Thanks for checking out my blog Sue! It’s nice to get a new reader from time to time. Decided not to have a facebook page for the blog – it was just one more thing to manage! I am lucky that my little one still has two naps per day – most are 1 hr or more so I’m enjoying it while it lasts!
Sue Lively says
Thanks so much for dropping by Lauren! Yes – definitely enjoy the two naps while they last! Although one long one is nice too! Hopefully you’ll get that when your little one consolidates down to one nap.
I’m always in awe of SAHMs! I think you need tremendous self-motivation and patience to do what you do!
Sue Lively says
Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment Roshni!