Being a mom is the greatest accomplishment of my life. And I am SO proud of it. But somewhere along the way, I seem to have forgotten who I am and what my interests are. I am MORE THAN A MOM. I love being a mom, and a wife, but I need to have some room to just be ME - without any titles. I look forward to when I can go back to being an elementary school teacher, when my youngest starts full time school. I think in order for me to be the best MOM and the best WIFE I can be, I have to just be the best ME - whoever that is.
Everyday life is really just living moment to moment. Finding those really good moments that will get you through the rest of the everyday nothings and pull you out of those slumps you slip into far too easily. And really, how often do you find those great moments. I've been lucky to have a few. I have two wonderful kids who are the loves of my life – though it's amazing I don't strangle them everyday. And I'm married to another love of my life – though sometimes I feel like strangling him, too! But finding those other moments is tough sometimes. They don't just fall in your lap, and everyday busyness and business can often camouflage some really good moments. Hearing my kids playing ring around the rosies and crack themselves up at the end is priceless. With all those “asses, asses. We can all fall down” and everything. But the really good moments are there. Everyday. My life really does revolve around my kids. And for the moment, I'm ok with that. There's too much I would miss out on if I wasn't with them every moment of every day.
Guilt. By Webster's definition, well Wikipedia really, it means “a cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person realizes or believes - whether justified or not - that he or she has violated a moral standard, and is responsible for that violation. It is closely related to the concept of remorse.” Mother's guilt. Multiply regular guilt by a million and you're still not even close.When I became a mom, I never realized exactly how much mother's guilt I'd feel. I didn't really even knew that it existed. Yet now, on a daily basis, I feel it over even the simplest things. Are my kids eating the right amount from the food pyramid? Am I interacting with them enough? Am I teaching them enough? Reading enough? Taking them outside enough? In my head, the answer to all of those is no. It's amazing the amount of guilt a mother feels. And you cannot possibly comprehend it or even begin to fathom, unless you are a mother. Sure you may be able to relate to guilt, but not mother's guilt.How do you draw the line between having some alone time to make yourself a better person and being a good mom? It's really hard. I was very blessed and fortunate to be able to go with my mema and aunt to Japan for almost two weeks. It's something I had always wanted to do, and knew if I didn't go then, I'd never get the opportunity again. My husband was on board with help from his family, and off I went. It was an amazing and literally a once in a lifetime opportunity, but man did I feel bad for leaving my kids. Not a moment went by without their being in my thoughts. Thanks to today's technology, I was able to see them on my laptop almost everyday. Fighting not to cry every time I saw my babies was a difficult battle, but mom's are strong. Stronger I think than any one else in the world. Our mom strength begins the moment we find out we're pregnant. We're strong enough to get through morning sickness and still go on with everyday tasks. We're strong enough to carry and grow another human being inside our bodies while our skin stretches and organs move and joints give out. We are strong enough to push or undergo major surgery for our babies to be born. Then we are strong enough to protect our babies from the world and everyday dangers. Strong enough that our kisses make their boo-boos feel better. Our hugs make them feel secure and safe. Our presence makes them happy. We are strong enough that even though we have an overwhelming about of mother's guilt over the simplest things, we push through for our kids. We're strong enough to put our kids first and ourselves last. We're strong enough to exist on hardly any sleep, loads of coffee, barely showered and teeth brushed, with no make up and living in our pjs everyday. We are strong. We have to be. We are moms.
In my life before kids, my life when I was really not alive at all while thriving at the same time, I was an elementary school teacher. I *loved* my job. Not many people can say that. But I LOVED what I did - enriching those little lives and filling their brains with school and life lessons. Teaching them how to do well in school and in life. That's what I tell myself anyway. But that life has been put significantly on hold. I have two kids of my own now. Two little bodies and brains and hearts I fill with something everyday. And let's not forget their stomachs. My picky little eaters.
My oldest, AZ, is 3 going on 13. She was born and my life changed in an instant. All new moms will say that, and well, it's true. My world got so much more focused and got a million times bigger in a single minute. Fifteen minutes after midnight to be exact. So many new things to worry about and protect her from. While watching fireworks from my labor and delivery room, I should have known that she'd come into my life like an explosion! Six days after she was born, I noticed a spot just above her belly button, that gross umbilical cord still hanging there attached. I thought my baby was bit by a mean old spider. Turns out she had MRSA and had to spend a week in Children's Hospital receiving IV antibiotics. Not a huge thing, considering some babies there were having open heart surgery, but a big deal to me. And only one friend of mine, a teacher friend, came by to see how we were doing. ONE. I should have known then that EVERYTHING in my life was different. I naively went into having a baby thinking that she would adjust to my lifestyle. Nothing had to change - except everything did. Little did I know that she would become THE most important thing in my life. I mean, I knew I would love her and all, but I was not first anymore, or even second for that matter. I came third, after AZ and my husband JD. My needs no longer mattered. Somehow my friends didn't understand, or care. It took a long time for anyone to come visit. While we were able to go out to dinner with her while she was young and without a schedule, the moment she got a bedtime, it became difficult to go to restaurants. And there's the begin of the friendship decline. Oh well. Who really cares? I've got the most beautiful baby girl now.
Well, actually, now I also have a beautiful baby boy. WC is a year and a half and a holy terror. I say that lovingly. And yes, my children are only 19 months apart. Not highly recommended, but we make it work. The kids get along wonderfully and really do love each other. They seemed to have a connection since we brought Wyatt home from the hospital. And speaking of hospital, not a SINGLE friend came to see us when he was born. Granted we were having a record breaking blizzard, but still. Come on. Anyway, he definitely keeps me busy. We've been to the hospital more times for him that we have for my daughter, that's for sure. He's had stitches in his right eyebrow, and badly burnt his hands one night after dinner when he opened the oven door. He's healing well, but we go back to Shriner's next week for his burn check up.
They always say the first year is the hardest after you get married. Well that's NOTHING compared to the first year after you have a baby. And while that first year after AZ was born wasn't easy, it was a breeze compared to the year after WC was born. I really suffered from a depression after he was born. I wasn't sleeping, and really hated my life. I felt like, and still do feel like, a prisoner. I am accepting the fact that I will not go back to teaching until WC is in full time elementary school. But that no sleep, taking care of two babies, and I say babies because AZ was still a baby, moving, not being near any of *my* family takes a huge toll. I love my life - don't get me wrong. I wouldn't trade a second away from my kids. But I desperately look forward to one day when I can have a glimmer of a life of my own. And those friends I had pre-kids, we're definitely not close anymore. More acquaintances now. And with me watching other peoples' kids from home, I'm a prisoner. No way to leave during the day, all errands on Saturdays, no time for play dates or mom's groups. They say that having kids changes everything. They're right.