Week 30 – For a long time, I’ve fooled myself into thinking there are two types of mom’s in this world: career-oriented mom’s and stay-at-home mom’s.
To make matters worse, I’ve continually told myself that I would never be good at being a “stay-at-home” mom, and that I belonged in the career-oriented category.
I’m here to say – I’ve been lying to myself.
I’ve been killing myself trying to fit into this “career-oriented” mold.
I’ve been neglecting my home life, my family, my marriage, my kids, myself – and making it all okay. Because, let’s face it, I’m not cut out to be “that kind” of mom.
Enough is enough.
I am just a mom, struggling to find purpose, maintain order and provide security. A hugely daunting task, really. A task through which I am continually losing myself, over and over.
It is easy for me to find the validation I’m looking for – in my career. There is reward and satisfaction that comes along with working hard outside of the home – the amount of work I pour into it seems to pay off. No, it definitely doesn’t add anything to the paycheck, but it’s sustained my self-worth up until this point.
It’s not cutting it anymore. At the end of the day, I am coming home to a house full of half-empty cups, relationships needing more attention, matters half-dealt with demanding more time.
It’s like I’m slowly beginning to wake up.
My kids are getting older. The phase of toddler-dom that is all-consuming, exhausting and self-sacrificing, is coming to an end for me. Hindsight is arriving, sure to disappoint me as it always does.
In the moment, the choices I make always seem like the right ones. Why does hindsight always have to present itself after the fact? For once, it would be handy to have the information it brings – BEFOREHAND.
I foolishly thought that after preschool, once the job of parenting and educating my children became one shared with the public school system, things were going to get easier. Is it possible, as I look around at this mass chaos I am leaving behind every morning – switching my, “there is no way I can do this” mom hat, for my much-preferred, “teacher of the year” one, is it possible that my children are needing me now more than ever?
A really hard pill to swallow. Something’s gotta change…
Maybe I can start by eliminating this “career-oriented” vs. “stay-at-home” debate that has been playing on a loop in my head since I became a mom 11 years ago.
A year ago today, I was laying in a hospital bed with my arms wrapped around my belly. The contractions were coming every 10 minutes and I knew today would be the day. I was unusually calm. I had seen enough moms roll through the Antepartum Unit, and I remember that feeling of panic that would overtake the room as their babies would come too soon. I had spoken to the neonatologists – the experts, who went through with me all that it would mean for my babies to be born at this time – all that they would need to survive. No expectations were given, only odds, as these babies all have a mind of their own. A lot of unknown. But, here I was, calm. As I hugged my belly, I leaned down and told them, “if you’re ready to meet me… I’m all in.” I knew my body was no longer the place for them. They needed more, something I couldn’t give.
Fast forward to today, and here we are, a family of 6. As I write this, my babies are tucked up in their beds, having their morning naps. Completely content and asleep, they are telling me they are happy, and have everything they need. There is nothing more comforting in this world. It has been a wild ride to say the least, but as I look back, I know how blessed we have been through the whole thing.
The missing pieces of our family’s puzzle have arrived, and they’ve let us know it.
Our H – born at 1:35pm on this day last year, weighing only 2 lbs. 15 oz.
Our H – now, weighing 15 lbs. 4 oz.
H is a firecracker. With piercing blue eyes and 4 adorable teeth, he’s a heart-melter. Although, the last thing he feels the need to be, is a heart-melter. Our busiest baby, he is much too busy to snuggle up and flirt – he’d much rather flash you a toothy-smile from across the room. He’s always on a mission, places to go people to climb. Our explorer, Gigi calls him, out to conquer the world. He has been meeting his milestones all ahead of schedule, and before his brother – something we weren’t sure would happen after his PVL diagnosis (see article here: Periventricular Leukomalacia). This is still something “on the table”, to see how or if it will affect him, and he will be followed closely until about age 3. But, there’s no arguing, he’s perfect.
Our Fin – born at 1:45 pm on this day last year, weighing 3 lbs. 7 oz.
Our Fin – now, weighing 14 lbs. 12 oz.
Fin is our soft-hearted soul. Taken along for the ride after H’s water broke, we maintain that Fin would have been much happier staying inside my belly for as long as he could. “The serious one”, he has heart-wrenching hazel eyes, and the same 4 teeth as his brother (although, his smiles are still “gummier” than his brothers… gotta love them gummy smiles). He is mama’s boy – and I’m so thankful for that. Our resident “ham”, he will stare at you – waiting for eye contact, and then proceed to either play peekaboo or tilt his head to the side in an attempt to “look cute”… anything he can do to get you to smile. The bulk of his first year has been spent by my side, perfectly content to be within my line of sight, with a hand on my knee or an arms length away. It’s been just recently he’s started venturing out with his brother, the two of them becoming quite the pair – if Fin’s not with me, he’s with H.
Today, I’m a mom of 1 year old twin boys… a mom of 4 beautiful children. Wow. How lucky am I?
Parenting is the strangest phenomenon. To feel THIS much love for something … it’s overwhelming… and to feel THIS much love for 4 somethings – it’s unreal. I have to pinch myself everyday. Being a mom has been the biggest challenge of my life. But I can’t think of a challenge more rewarding than this. If I’m going to sacrifice anything in this life, let it be for them, my kids. Then I know it will be worth it.
I am so thankful to have been chosen to be the mother of these two amazing boys. They have taught me so much about strength, perseverance, sacrifice and love in SUCH a short year. I am anxious and excited to see what’s in store for them next, hopeful to be along for the ride for as long as I am able.
Here’s a song that I heard on the radio the other day, and basically burst into tears as I instantly pinned it to my love for my kids… It sums up everything that I feel about them. As a mama, we choose to put our kids first, whether we realize it or not, it’s actually a choice. A choice I would make any day of the week. I’m NOT perfect and my kids will know this. But I’m here, looking to learn from my mistakes. I know I’m unprepared for what the future holds, but I’m willing to take it as it comes in the best way that I can. When my children think of me when they’re all grown up with children of their own – whether I’m around or not – I want them to think of love. Above all else, I want to leave a “lifelong love letter” to my kids.. and not just the hug/kiss, tell them I love them kind of love… the hard kind – the doing what’s best for them as much as it hurts me kind of love.
Happy birthday my smart boys!
I love you more than you or I will EVER be able to understand!