So this stage of life
What stage of life am I talking about exactly? It’s not a piece of cake, it’s hard. I’m talking to the busy moms who are in your mid 20’s to 30’s. You have kids, or maybe just one with another on the way. Maybe you have three or four, either way, I’m talking to all of you. Your kids probably range in age from newborns to 6 or 7 year-olds. (Give or take a few years).
In this stage of life you aren’t just tired, no, it’s pure exhaustion. Mental, physical, and emotional.
During this stage of life, you’re dealing with a lot. You’re dealing with teething, ear infections, stomach viruses. You’re juggling nap schedules, feeding schedules, and sports schedules. You have a million different hat you wear, and a million different balls you’re juggling, and I’m sure you feel like you’re dropping them all.
In this stage of life, you are dealing with a whole lot of guilt. You feel like you’re aren’t good enough. You feel guilt over having a career, not taking enough time to spend with your children. You feel guilt that you work 40 hours a week and someone else is “raising” your new baby. You feel guilt that your job is done, but your kids were ignored, or that your kids had your attention and now your husband is coming home to frozen dinners and an uncleaned house. You feel guilt over being a stay at home mom and financially not contributing much to the family. You feel guilt over being too harsh with your children and giving them strict punishments or being too lenient. Simply you just feel guilt, in every aspect.
In this stage of life, you are hit daily with a huge list of decisions that need to be made, some small, others large. But none give you clear cut answers. Should I breastfeed? Should I supplement? Should I get my kids vaccinated? Should I send them to public school or private? How do I teach my child right from wrong? What if they don’t listen when I’m not around? Should I buy organic? Will that blow my budget? You don’t have the answers to anything, yet right now in this exact moment, you feel pressure to have answers to everything.
This stage of life is watching other parents who look like they have it all together or seeing friends and family members struggle in their marriage and wonder if that will be you. It’s a time where you realize now more than ever that the honeymoon stage is gone and you need to focus a lot more time and energy into making sure your marriage stays above water. And it’s not easy.
At this point, you know someone who has experienced infertility, misscarriages, or the loss of a child, and you feel guilt that you have all of these things that you watch others struggle without.
It’s a stage where you are buying houses, selling houses, remodeling houses, packing up houses, and then you do it all again a few years later. Where your hormones are still going crazy, and you feel like you’ve been pregnant, postpartum or breastfeeding for years. It’s a stage where you are struggling with identity. Is my entire identity “mommy”? Am I just a housewife? Is there anything even left of me that isn’t about mothering or being a “good wife”? Is there something more glamorous I could have/should have done with my life? I LOOK like a mom now, don’t I? Do I look like I’ve let myself go? I feel like I do.
It’s a stage where you are on a constant quest for balance, yet can never seem to find it.
It’s a stage of life where you are overloaded. Constantly. You are overloaded with questions; your children never seem to stop asking them. You are overloaded with physical touch. Someone is constantly wanting to be held, hanging on you, touching you. You never get privacy, not even when you have to use the bathroom. You are overloaded with to-dos. There is so much to do, and the list never seems to end. You are overloaded with worry. You are overloaded with things. Your kids have way too many toys and you just never feel like the house looks clean. You are overloaded with activities. You’re even overloaded with your thoughts (thoughts about how to not be so overloaded, maybe?).
So….what do you need to do to survive it all? First, you need to ask for help, and you need to accept it when it’s offered. Trust me you will be thankful in the end.
You need to stop neglecting your marriage. Put your kids to bed early, cuddle on the sofa and watch a movie. Go sit out back and have a glass of wine and engage in real conversation.
You need friends, more importantly, you need your MOM. She will be your best friend through times like this.
You need older friends, ones who have been there and done that. Who can reassure you that you AREN’T screwing up as badly as you think you are. Friends who are in the same stage of life as you and can understand the struggles you are facing.
You need to not feel bad when it comes to taking time for YOU. Take some time for yourself, have a nice bubble bath.
You need to lower your expectations….then probably lower them again.
You need to simplify, every part of your life, stop overloading yourself.
You need to learn how to say “no, ” and you need to be ok leaving your kids overnight and going away somewhere – anywhere just you and your husband.
You need to PRAY. And when you’re done praying, pray again.
Finally, and most importantly
You need to remember that this stage of life is beautiful. It’s hard, and you might not be seeing the bigger picture right now, but this stage of life is amazing. This is the stage of life that every single older person was talking about when they told you, “you’re going to miss this”. You already know it’s true, so cherish it. Don’t let life defeat you and take these precious moments away. Because before you know it, your kids will be off to college and you’ll be begging to have them little again.
It’s the stage where your kids need you and love you more than they are EVER going to love and need you again. It’s the stage where mom cuddles seem to make every bump and bruise instantly better. It’s the stage where their biggest problems ARE ear infections, teething and stomach viruses, and you’re not having to deal with things like broken hearts or bullying. It’s the stage where you are learning to love your spouse in a completely different way, it’s harder, yet so much better. The stage where you are learning together, growing together, being tested together, shedding your selfishness together, and truly being made into “one”.
It’s the stage where watching your husband take care of your little one will make you realize the love you always thought you felt, will NEVER compare to the love you feel now. It’s the stage where you get to see Christmas, Birthdays and the Fourth of July through your kid’s eyes, and it is the most amazing feeling, way better than it looks through your own eyes. It’s the stage where you get to watch your parents be grandparents…and man are they good at it. It’s the stage of life filled with field trips, birthday parties, costumes, cuddles, sofa forts, loose teeth, first steps and first words. And those things are so fun! It’s a stage where you are still young and fun, yet you have developed so much wisdom. It truly is such an amazing stage in life, but man is it hard.