The Challenges of Parenting
Parenting is one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever done. Whoever said that a stay at home mom doesn’t have a real job is full of crap. I taught 6th graders at a Title I school for 6 years and can say that was easier than the 5 months I stayed at home mom with Owen. Let me put it this way – parenting is hard. Like ugly cry, think you’re going to lose your sanity and lock yourself in the bathroom for some alone time, hard.
During the past 3 years and 3 months (the age of my oldest son), I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt at a complete loss. A loss of what to do. Questioning should I clean the house rather than play with Owen? Why is Collin suddenly hitting everyone? How in the world do those “perfect” moms get their kids to eat veggies and fruits when all Owen wants to eat is cereal or pasta?
Let me preface the rest with saying I have an amazing husband. He’s supportive, nurturing, and shares every parenting responsibility 50%. And even with that, parenting is STILL hard.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to bed thinking, “How can I do better?” or “Wow that day was total shit.” Or “I just have to accept it. I might be the worst mom ever.” I get into the rabbit hole of questioning everything I’ve ever done or will do. I question whether my kids will be “normal.” I question whether I’m being present enough or if I’ve set enough boundaries. I then question if I’ve set too many boundaries! And here it goes again…
Parenting: Quality over Quantity
The perfectionist or maybe just the ‘mom’ in me wants to do it all. But as I’ve learned the hard way, I can’t. And as I’ve slowly learned I actually shouldn’t do it all.
Attempting to do it all means everything is done poorly. I’m not super mom and to tell you the truth I don’t want to be. Trying to do it all means I haven’t showered in days. It means I haven’t actually had a real conversation with my husband in weeks. It means I’m anxious and maybe even depressed.
In the past 3 years and 3 months, one of the most useful things I’ve learned is that I get more out of life by doing less.
I’ve always thought quality over quantity but for some reason after having kids, that thought process went out the window. It was until I had nothing left in me that I realized by going 100% all the time, I was being a 50% mom, wife, teacher, and friend. I realized that by pushing myself to clean the house, cook dinner, see friends, play with my kids, have date night, and raise well rounded kids, I was going crazy. I was completely losing any sense of who I was and who I wanted to be. And since I was losing me, my kids weren’t as happy, my marriage was suffering, my friendships were dwindling, and my work purpose was gone.
So, I decided to start going 80% in.
What does this mean?
It means this:
- Not cooking every meal of the week (Have you ever made a frozen pizza “fancy”? If not, you need to do this ASAP or accepting that doing take out is okay. I’ve done that a lot in the past year.)
- Having my kids eat fruits and veggies most of the time but not getting worked up if breakfast consists of a handful of peanuts and a packet of fruit snacks.
- Scheduling “me” time by having at least 1 hour for myself on most Saturdays and/or Sundays.
- Scheduling laundry, emptying the dishwasher, the nightly to-do list (a huge life hack that has saved my sanity a million times over) equally between Ian and myself.
- Accepting that some weeks working out just won’t happen
- Setting up date nights at least twice a month
- Starting mindfulness
- Reading more
- Cleaning less or even better - having my kids (mainly Owen because Collin is still a bit young) clean up their own toys
- Setting goals and letting my 5 essentials guide my focus for the month
Guess what happened when I stopped trying to be super mom and started accepting that doing everything was making me lose everything?
Happiness. Contentment. Less tears. Better relationships. Improved health – less stress and anxiety. More laughs.
Yes, the house was cleaned less often and yes, some nights the boys watched tv while eating dinner so Ian and I could have an adult conversation. Maybe your 80% will look different than mine. Maybe TV is completely off limits in your house – that’s ok! I’m not here to judge you, just like I hope you’re not reading my posts to judge me. We’re here to support one and another and offer tips and suggestions on what works best for our families. If you’re struggling finding the “old and happy” you, I suggest looking at your priorities and determining what is truly important for you and your family’s happiness. The answer might be forgetting that load of laundry, drinking a glass of wine, and eating some fancy frozen pizza.
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hi, I'm leslie
Whether it's through nutrition, mindfulness, spending more time with family, setting monthly goals, or just finding the things that make us happy in life, finding balance is the ultimate goal. Join me as I try and find balance in my own life.
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