It all started with an exhausted, worn-out, frustrated, running on a hamster wheel mama. (Me) She took it out on her innocent spouse, broke down, talked, talked, and talked some more, and ended up with a vision. A dream of how things could be. And should be. Which led to a new start and an Instagram post that means so much more than just an Instagram post...
"I had a life-changing, eye-opening experience yesterday and I have realized so much about myself and how I approach life and do the things I do. Motherhood has truly changed me and I've spiraled into a mindset of too much worry and not enough carefree laughter and living. I am moving forward with a new breath of life. I am giving myself permission to take it easy and not be so ridiculously hard on myself. I am taking time to pursue my own hobbies (hobbies?!). I am learning to play the harmonica. I am learning how to refinish furniture and work with wood. I am going to go to the park more and walk and run and have picnics. I am going to spend money occasionally to go to the museum or do other activities with the kids (over-frugality issues). I am going to take my vitamins every day and prioritize healthy eating for MYSELF. I am going to wear my hot pink lipstick and floral rompers with confidence. I am going to stop using Jude's allergies as a crutch to live less. I am going to advocate for my own happiness and well-being. In doing so I will move closer to the mother and wife I want to be (which has been all I've wanted all along) and my most cherished ones will undoubtedly benefit as much as I will. I will no longer waste one SINGLE moment looking down at my phone viewing other people's lives when I should be living MY OWN. I've realized although Instagram may bring a smile to face, it is not enriching my life as much as my life would be enlivened by simply LIVING it. I am going to delete my Instagram for two months and then reassess. I am going to just ENJOY my day at the museum or the zoo with my family and not be thinking about what picture I want to take to post. I am freeing myself of anything that may be holding me back from reaching my potential of happiness. This is my life and I'm living it. 💥💥💥 WHEW!!!!!! Here I go! (So if you have a baby or something exciting, text or email me!)"
Which led to this...
Letting go & living sum up my last month and a half pretty well. There is so much I want to say I wish I could just spill all my thought onto this canvas, but unfortunately my fingers must do the talking and I am constrained to blogging time that will soon be out when I heard a little wail from a little child. But I will get started and hope to capture a minute fraction of what I feel!
I am changed. My life has changed. Who I am has changed. These past few years of motherhood have hugged me and kissed me indeed, but they have also worn me down, chewed me up, swished me around and spit me back out. I found myself with a three year old and a one year old and I was struggling to keep up. With them, with all my responsibilities, with my sanity. I reached a point where something had to give. And thanks be to my loving Heavenly Father that it wasn't anything of eternal worth. I have let go, my friends. You name it - I've probably let go of it. Cleaning, cooking, laundry, worrying, stress, to-do lists, Instagramming, social media, fatigue - LET GO. Yes, I still have to cook and clean, but I have changed my mindset. We live in this house. I have two little children who make messes. I have let go off having the kitchen spick and span every night before I go to bed. I have let go of trying to make the house look perfect if people come over. I have let go of any guilt I had for feeding my sons the same food for two to three meals a day (with minimal variations). I have let go of the worry about when Jude's next EGD will be and how it will turn out and what foods should we introduce and what if he doesn't tolerate them and what if he does and what if he has a reaction and.... I have let go of judgment. I have let go of the phrase, "hurry up!" I have let go of trying to be/look like/feign the ultimate mother. I have let go of any guilt for taking time for MYSELF. I have let go of worrying about the "next thing" I need to do. I have let go of the GAPS diet. I have let go of strict bedtimes. I have let go of guilt for letting Jude watch an episode of Danny Tiger. I have let go of clean clothes every day (or every few days). I have let go of any notion of "doing it all." I have let go of the American cultural standard of a good parent. I have let go of trying to control ANYTHING.
I have let go of
I have embraced the mess. I have embraced simple. I have embraced running. I have embraced my friends. I have embraced bike rides with my son. I have embraced sitting around the living room after dinner and just playing although I "should" be getting the kids to bed. I have embraced meaningful talks with my loved ones. I have embraced my flaws and faults and flab. I have embraced my little boys more often and more spontaneously. I have gotten to know my husband again, and stayed up late laughing and looking up dream homes online even though I "should" be getting to bed. I am learning the harmonica because it fills my soul and it IS what I should be doing. I have stayed up until midnight dancing MY HEART OUT with my incredible friends. I have embraced Symphony bars. I have embraced skipping naps for parks and story times. I have embraced a horrificky cracked iPad screen and a messy car. I have accepted the fact that my children will survive if they do not eat 100% organic foods. I have embraced how other cultures parent (it's INCREDIBLY refreshing).
I have embraced
This last month and a half, I have L I V E D. I have lived a joy-filled, undistracted life and I have not posted ONE picture of it online. I've done for my kids. I've done it for my husband. I've done it for MYSELF. I went to Time Out for Women. I started RUNNING. I ran my first (real) 5K today and pushed my two little buddies along with me! I ran two miles pushing two in a stroller and one in the Ergo baby and felt like a rock star. I yelled and screamed my way through a tunnel. I sat on my front porch, with no phone in hand, and read, and played, and ate, and just... sat! I read/listened to BOOKS. Books that changed me. I stayed at the park for an hour after all our friends left. I feel closer to who I was years ago. I have always been a very relaxed, easy-going person but motherhood turned me into a seriously TYPE A mother. That woman is gone and she will not be missed.
I want my children to remember that their mom DANCED. Their mom SANG. Their mom played that little harmonica will all her heart. Their mom said YES. Their mom let them be dirty boys. Their mom let them dream. Their mom let them try. Their mom believed in them with an undeniable conviction. Their mom was crazy about their dad. Their mom loved and lived life.
I am seriously H A P P Y, people. For real. This works. This is the way to be a person and not just a mom. This is the way to live. I'm happy to share more details of my journey with anyone who would like to join me in my peaceful existence.
These are the books I read (in this order) that have helped me in my journey. I'd start here.
1. Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider
2. Bebe Day by Day by Pamela Druckerman
3. How Eskimos Keep their Babies Warm by Mei-Ling Hopgood
And the real kicker/cherry-on-top/life-changer/READ THIS ONE IF NOTHING ELSE:
4. Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford
Big happy sigh, guys. Seriously.