This past weekend, I spent 10 plus hours in the car driving to a wedding with four women. We covered a million topics during the drive, motherhood being one of them. It was fun to spend time reminiscing on the different seasons of being a Mom and how so many things change as a result of having kids. Since our conversation in the car, I've continued to reflect on my motherhood journey and wanted to share my thoughts on how I thought motherhood would be vs. my actual experience.
For starters, I thought maternity leave would be a mini vacation. I was SO excited and looked forward to that break from work and holding my baby all day and all night. I had a list of all of the things I was going to accomplish in those 12 weeks. My vision looked like endless baby snuggles, visits from friend and family, house projects I would complete, organization that would take place, and more made the list! That was my vision. My reality on the other hand....well, that looked nothing like my vision. I was lucky if I showered daily. Danny had to send me texts in the first few weeks to remind me to eat because I would forget. Keeping a tiny human alive is no joke. Not a single house project was completed. There was no organization that happened either. We did have many friends and family visit, which was amazing. You don't know how much you miss having an adult conversation until you spend all your time with an infant. Fortunately, the second time around was easier because I knew what to expect, but goodness the first time around was a huge wake up call.
Before Lily arrived, I also had a vision for the type of mother I would be. I was going to breastfeed my kids until their first birthday. They would never play in the play areas of fast food restaurants or malls, because GERMS. I would have them on a feeding and nap schedule quickly. I'm sure there were more, but those examples stand out so vividly in my mind. Again, reality looked very different. Lily was breastfed until she was 3 months old, then formula fed. Griffin was breastfed until 7 months, then formula fed. My kids have played in pay areas in malls and fast food restaurants, and have survived! You had better believe though that hands were washed immediately upon leaving and baths were taken that night because GERMS. I am not a type A personality, so I don't know why I thought I would become one as a mom and have them on a strict schedule. I tired to implement one, and quickly realized it stressed me out more than it was worth it. And being stressed wasn't good for me or them. So, I learned to embrace the fact that our days would look different than my vision and we are all happier as a result.
So why am I sharing this with all of you? I think it's so easy to set expectations for yourself or see another mom and how they parent and think that's the only/right way. I did it. The reality is, it's okay to change your mind. It's okay to do things differently. Do what works for you. Do what works for your kids. Don't spend one more second beating yourself up for changing an expectation or vision you had for yourself.
Motherhood is hard. Period. Don't make it harder by trying to do it a certain way or comparing yourself to other moms. Just give yourself grace, love those babies, and do what works for you. At the end of the day, your kids just want a happy mom. So let go of those expectations and embrace YOUR reality of motherhood, whatever that happens to look like.
Image by Sarah Ellen Photography