You spend five days a week with three kids under three years of age (by yourself). Each day you pack them up and take them somewhere they’ll enjoy. The beach. The big park with too many toys. To the sandbox. To the farmer’s market. To the Rainbow Tunnel. To… Each day is planned around them.
You lie on the floor with them and play with trucks and cars. You bake with them. You make homemade popsicles with them. You paint with them. You crawl around on all fours as they ride on you like a horse. You watch for crafts and activities to do with them. You took three small children to story hour at the library last week (people asked, Are they all yours!?!)
And you teach an online course. You are creating an online quilting course with and for your mom. You are trying to do things you enjoy. You’ve taken a pottery class. You’ve taken classes through Skillshare. You took that Brene Brown course you’ve been meaning to do. You are getting back to reading fiction again. You’re reading another non-fiction book to do some reflecting about yourself – you want to be better for the kids. You volunteer with the local community group. You write a blog series for them called, Humans of Danforth East. You’ve been sewing for the kids. You’ve been sewing for others. You’ve been catching up with friends.
You are also getting migraines again. Every day you beat yourself up for not doing or being enough for the kids. I should be playing with them now instead of trying to send an email or posting to Instagram. Where are your priorities?! I should be playing with Tate instead of letting him watch TV. I should be spending quality time with Eric instead of being on the computer. I shouldn’t feel frustrated when the kids wake up from their naps (because I want more alone time). I should put my phone away when they are awake. I don’t want them growing up with a mom behind her phone or on her computer.
I just can’t seem to keep myself under control. I want to do more and more and more. Why is that? I’ve never had so much time to do what I want (ah, the irony). I could do anything I want and I want to do everything. But in wanting to do everything and be everything, I’m totally not in alignment with what matters. Being the best mom I can be. This is what I care about most.
As someone whose family members once called her a career woman who would never have kids, I am now a stay-at-home mom to three small children and I’m happier than I ever was in my career. Exhausted and often without clean clothes, but happy. I’ve actually just extended my maternity leave for another year to be home with the kids. And yet I feel like I’m doing things that don’t align with what I truly care about.
If I truly put them first, I wouldn’t have a million projects on the go. I would be excited when I hear them wake up after napping. I would play whenever they asked and would be totally present. But I think I also need to be a bit gracious and kind with myself.
I am a human who has little people wanting her attention from the moment she gets up in the morning to when they go to bed at night (and still feedings in the night for Charlie). I can’t just get up and go where I want, when I want. My days are filled with changing diapers, finding snacks, prepping meals, play, play, play, going on adventures, books before bed, trying to find our house again beneath couch cushion forts and the toys strewn the entire length of our main floor…
I am doing the best that I can for right now. I have a creative mind that loves ideas. I love to think and make things. It’s just trying to manage my own expectations. I am enough. I am doing enough. I always think that things could be better. I am a perfectionist. And perfectionism and being a mom do not go well together. I am learning this the hard way. I’m constantly in battle with myself over my decisions and what I’m doing and not doing.
My kids will be fine despite me (I hope). I need to tell myself, let yourself off the hook, Lainie Beth. Just be the mom you are.
I love this book by Nick Bland. My mom had it up at the cabin this summer. It was a message I needed to hear (thanks, Mom!) We are all different and have our quirks. That’s what makes our kids lucky to have us.