Friday, May 10, 2019

Thoughts on Motherhood

This weekend, I get to celebrate my 2nd Mother's Day. Last year I was still in the newborn haze so while it was a special day, I was getting up several times a night, worrying about Paul's slow weight gain, and still trying to find my groove as a mother. This year, there will be no middle-of-the-night wake-ups - well, besides getting up to go to the bathroom (side note: I can never make it through the night without getting up to go to the bathroom!). I imagine that Phil will get up with Paul in the morning so I can sleep in. My MIL will come down for lunch and hopefully the weather will cooperate so Phil can grill. Later in the day, we will go on a family walk to the park as that is my favorite thing to do as a family on the weekends. Ideally, I'd like to fit a run in, probably during one of Paul's nap. It should be a simple, but really nice family day.

My breakfast buddy
Since I'm away from Paul so much during the week, I'm not craving alone time these days, aside from going for runs. What I do need more of is simple, family days. I recently stumbled across a post by a pychologist who is also a mom. Her thoughts really resonated with me:

Truth was, I rarely ever engaged in any activity that didn’t involve goals of some kind. I had goals concerning how I wanted to bring up my kids and how I wanted my career to evolve. I had goals relating to mundane tasks, like challenging myself to precisely time my trips to the grocery store to maximize efficiency. Even the seemingly frivolous things I did had goals attached. Like TV watching, for instance, when I endeavored to complete the entire series of 30 Rock before it left Netflix. 

There was always satisfaction after achieving these goals, but there was also fatigue. And more recently, the realization that I was so caught up in meeting my goals, I was not savoring—or even paying attention to—anything I was doing along the way. 

This is my life right now, in a nut shell. I've always been a goal/task-oriented person. I love lists and love the feeling of crossing things off my list. But, more often than not these days, I feel a sense of fatigue. Most of the fatigue relates to trying to achieve maximum efficiency. Our weekday mornings and evenings are so rushed and chaotic. Mornings are rushed because Phil and Paul leave the house at 6:50 and I leave shortly thereafter. So I have to get myself ready and get Paul dressed/fed by 6:45. I've found a pretty good rhythm so our mornings have gotten a bit better but there isn't much wiggle room and I sometimes feel like a drill sergeant who is rushing her son to hurry up and finish his muffin and milk! There isn't a solution to this - Phil and I both need to be at work by 7:30 am (I've been getting to work around 7:15 lately so I can leave at 3:45 on quieter days - more on that below). I am sure with time we'll get more and more used to our morning routine but it's just not "fun."

I love his little 'flyaway' hair that is sticking up in this photo!
Our weekday evenings are a bit less rushed, but still not quite relaxing. I've started to leave work at 3:45 pm on days when it's quiet to give myself an extra 30 minutes with Paul. We get home around 4:30-4:45 instead of 5-5:15 which makes a big difference. That gives us time to go for a walk and not feel super rushed when we get back. Paul goes to bed around 6:30 so getting home 30 minutes early makes our evenings much less rushed and more enjoyable.

Because our mornings/evenings are pretty rushed 5 out of 7 days of the week, a good amount of mental energy is spent trying to streamline our morning/evening routines - especially getting food on the table for Paul, Phil and me. I feel like I'm often multi-tasking or we are dividing and conquering. For example, Phil feeds Paul while I get started on our dinner or make a big batch of oatmeal or muffins for Paul so I have something to eat for breakfast during the week (on Wednesday, I prepped our instant pot dinner, made a batch of oatmeal, and made Paul's muffins while Phil fed Paul). That's why Paul's meals need to be super simple because I just don't have the time to make something complicated for him with the limited time I have on week nights.

He loves to 'cheers.' Clearly setting a good example by cheersing his water with mom's champagne!
I realize this is all a first world problem. I am very fortunate to have this problem to solve because countless women would give anything to have a child. I am super grateful for Paul but I can be grateful and fatigued at the same time. I also realize that we are in a temporary stage of life with Paul. Eventually he will go to bed later and our evening routine will change and be a bit more relaxed.

In the meantime, my solution is to set aside more weekends for simple, family days. Days where the only thing on the 'to do' list is to go for walks to the park and enjoy meals that I'm not rushing to prepare. I've been better about not over-committing and over-planning our weekends and this is something I need to continue to do.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there - especially my mom, Marlys! Whether or not you are a mom, what do you need more of in your life right now?


Amber said...

I love that excerpt you shared from that blog. So true. I definitely relate in so many ways. I have found it harder to not make everything so "goal" and achievement focused. It is such an ingrained part of my personality. I have to really force myself to slow down and not be "busy" for the sake of being busy. Like puttering around the house in the evenings 'tidying'. I have actually let go of A LOT when it comes to how clean my house is. I'm sure lots of people would still consider it fairly clean, but it's nowhere near the standards I had pre child haha. But I have quickly realized that's just the way it goes and a non clean house is not the end of the world. I really want to embrace simple family days this summer, and also simple days with just Olivia and I because Eric will be back to working weekends through the summer, Olivia and I will have lots of days where it's just her and I and I want to remember that just relaxing in the backyard or going for a walk to the park is more than enough and the whole weekend does not need to be "full" to the brim.

Mother's Day morning I am running a 5k race with my friend, we will push our strollers and our babies like we do every Sunday morning. Then I am going for brunch with my mom. In the afternoon, Eric is taking Olivia out to visit his mom and I am going to have some quiet time at the house. Tomorrow we are going to set up our patio furniture and the weather looks GORGEOUS this weekend so I hope to spend it on the deck reading! Tomorrow I said no to two other opportunities for plans even though I kind of wanted to do them both so we have a full day together as a family tomorrow which will be lovely.

I hope you have a wonderful 2nd Mother's Day, friend! So glad we've been on this journey together for the last 1+ years!

Marlys said...

I think I could write a book on how wonderful "family time" is! As a child, growing up on a farm with a family of 8 children, did not leave much down time for family, but the ones that stand out are the evenings when there were no activities after supper, and we would sit at the table and Mom would tell stories of her childhood etc. We didn't travel much as we only had one car and it was a tight squeeze just to go to church and back! That's about all we could handle!
When you kids were little, the best memories were on summer Friday afternoons when we would pack up the camper for a weekend excursion! Those days were the best as we had no cell phones so it was just the family.
This Sunday I'm looking forward to going to early Mass, then hopefully eating out for brunch!
We'll stop & visit Paul's mom on our way back to Wyndmere and maybe bring some soft serve ice cream and strawberries to share with her.

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

I want more sun and warmth. I'm so ready for summer!!! My husband's cousin is getting married tomorrow so we are going out of town for that overnight and my parents are watching the kiddo. Sunday plans will be driving home and probably picking out a hanging basket. I am going to require food from someplace not my kitchen.

Stephany said...

Happy Mother's Day, Lisa! I'm so glad you get to enjoy this day in all its glory, and I think your plan for the day sounds so perfect!

katielookingforward said...

Simple Fun is the best! Great idea!

Jeanie said...

This had to be a very different Mother's Day when you could have fun with Paul instead of just his cuteness and cuddles as a three-month old. He is adorable. I think it's hard to get one's groove with any major life change and having a child is anything but simple, especially with your busy working lives. I love your Family Time. It's all good, you know -- and you are rocking the mom world!

San said...

Happy Mother's Day!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

Oh wow - we are so similar when it comes to being so goal and task oriented. I hadn't really thought of it like that before, but that has been my whole life too! Sometimes I feel lost if I am not accomplishing something.

I too crave more simple family days. I love sitting around and visiting both just with Christopher and also with our extended family <3