Welcome to this week's Friends You Love blog hop! I'm opening my doors today to my bloggy/tweety friend Stacey, from Musings of a Mommie!
When you have a chance, head on over to her place and give her a big ole Friends You Love HELLO!
But before that, please take a moment to experience some of her own, personal, AHA moments in which she decided to take a step back from the insanity that is motherhood and refocus on the things that are most important to her. But I must warn you, you might want to have some tissues handy. This is truly a touching and honest, open and raw post. OK. There you have it.
Read on, dear friends!
Not too long ago, I sat down and wrote myself a list of goals. Nothing unattainable. Nothing reaching farther than perhaps a year ahead. I wanted it to be achievable and realistic. I was in the throws of Postpartum Mood Disorder, commonly known as Postpartum Depression or PPD, although I wasn't so much depressed as I was out of control. I had anger issues, blowing up, freaking out, yelling, feeling contempt for my husband, overbearing and over protective of my children and trying to cope with some OCD tendencies that made my family frustrated with me. I hate feeling out of control. I'm a bit of a perfectionist; my husband would call it Control Freak. Not being able to keep a handle on my emotions, outbursts and frustrations was causing a war. An internal tug of war. Being a control freak & not being able to control yourself....yeah, not pretty.
I wrote the list of goals in an attempt to center myself. Figuring that if I could accomplish these small things, one at a time, or practicing them since some were ongoing, then I could regain control of something again. I showed it to my husband, K and asked his opinion. He told me some of it looked more like a To-Do List. Whatever. It was my list and these were things I felt like I could handle. I didn’t like him very much at the time anyway. I don't even know why I bothered to show it to him. I probably should have added "Stop being over sensitive" to the list. I had about 40 things listed. OK, I got a little carried away I guess. But these were really important things...like:
- Make sure Christian brushes his teeth every day
- Read him a book before bed each night
- Read Claire a book before bed each night
- Vacuum & steam clean the floors
- Start walking every day in an attempt to get in shape and be healthy
- Do laundry 2x a week
Just some of the things on my list. I studied my list long and hard, deciding where to start. Merrily, I jumped in head first. And quickly realized that I'd bumped my head. My anxiety, frustration and anger got worse. I felt scattered, spreading myself thin and it seemed the more I tried to do, the less that got done. I got so caught up in the things that I thought I should be doing that I didn't see exactly what I was doing. I was miserable. My husband felt it, my children felt it and so did the rest of my family. I flipped out so bad over not having enough time to get the floor vacuumed and steam cleaned that I was stomping through the house like a raving lunatic, yelling at the top of my lungs about how I was so sick & tired of the house and being the only one who was taking the initiative to get anything done while no one else bothered. My tirade lasted a good 10 minutes until I just yelled myself out, stomped back to my room and slammed the door, wincing at my now sore throat. Then...I just cried. Sobbing into my pillow like a 3 year old that didn't get her way. There was no way I could live like this. That list of goals was supposed to help center me, get me focused. I needed a solution. And then, I found it. Or rather it found me.
I had just finished giving Claire her 4am bottle. I quickly changed her and was set to put her back to bed. She looked at me and smiled her beautiful smile. I couldn't stop looking at her. I'd seen that smile before so it wasn't like it was her first. I'm not sure what happened but inside I felt my heart swell so much inside I thought it might burst. The tears welled up and spilled over and I held her to me. She snuggled down into my shoulder and left out a heavy contented sigh. I breathed her in and hugged her, thinking about how blessed I was. I had two beautiful, healthy children that I adore. There is no way to describe the love that you have for your child. Words can never express it accurately. I held her in my arms and I realized, as I looked at her beautiful, perfect face how quickly she was growing up. Then I thought of my son, and felt my heart sink a little. He is quickly approaching 2 years old. These moments of their infancy go by entirely too fast. I'll blink and find him standing in front of me asking for the car keys and she will be on the sofa daydreaming about her high school crush. Damn it, I want more time!
That is where things changed. I've stopped worrying about keeping my house immaculate. I don't worry about the laundry. If Christian doesn't brush his teeth one night because we are wrestling on the bed and I'm giving him raspberries on his tummy while he giggles wildly, who cares? If I tickle Claire's feet and kiss her and hug her and make her laugh and kick and squeal with delight instead of reading her a book before bed I don't think I'll extinguish her opportunity of one day becoming a Neurosurgeon or Supreme Court Justice. The fact is they will not be babies and children for long. As much as they remember Mommy & Daddy reading to them every night, they will also remember the times where Mommy & Daddy just spent time with them, playing, talking, hugging, listening and snuggling. When you let them stay up late to watch a movie together, or play just one more board game with them or just rolled around on the floor making funny faces and laughing like goofballs. They will always remember the LOVE. The feeling like THEY were most important...because they are.
18 years from now it isn't going to matter if I cleaned my floors to perfection. 18 years from now it won't matter if I did laundry 2x a week or 2x a month. I won't remember any of that. And neither will they. But they will never forget how much I love them. And I will have more wonderful memories than I can count. I'll never be one of those people who say, "I really wish I would have lived more in the moment instead of worrying about the perfectly manicured lawn, the spotless house, or keeping the car free of stray French fries. I wish I would have spent more time with my kids rather than worrying about that stuff." Because in the end, none of that stuff matters more than your babies.
I've tucked my lists of goals away in a drawer. I'm not abandoning them in the least. They are still important. But I try not to make them my main focus and to do them involving my children. I put them in the stroller and go for a walk to get exercise. No, I can't get to it everyday, but when I do, I'm with them, making memories. I try to clean when they are napping and remember to take time for myself after they've gone to bed. Our children will give us plenty of things to remember from the past and to look forward to in the future if we give them all the love and attention we can in the present. I cannot even begin to explain how much happier I have been since I’ve made this change. I am so stupidly in love with my kids that even when they do frustrate me I never forget how fortunate I am to have them. I love the extra time I spend with them. I feel a stronger bond than I ever have and I didn’t think that was even possible! Don't live in the past or be obsessed with the future...live in the now...in the moment.
I am a 34 year old SAHM of 20 month old Christian and 5 month old Margaret Claire.
Thanks so much, Stacey, for posting for me today. And to everyone else who is participating in the FYL Blog Hop!