easter dreams for my little man. <3
in my late teens and early twenties, i had a lot of fears about motherhood. i feared that having a baby most likely meant losing my body, rarely sleeping/working out/showering, and living in a state of disorder and chaos. i feared the suffocation of my talents and interests.
these fears ended up being just about equal parts legit, and bullshit.
the bullshit aspect stems from a mom culture that can be a little crazy, obsessive, hyper-sacrificing, and internally snowballing (hash tag no sleep, hash tag this is real life, hash tag haven’t showered in a week–we can so quickly perpetuate cliches and create expectations for others by what we choose to share.) i think this slightly neurotic culture–that i’ve totally engaged in, by the way–stems from the fact that moms in my generation/demographic are trying so.damn.hard. to do a good job, are often a little isolated, and are suffering from internet-induced weirdness. we’ve all read “bringing up bebe”; we don’t need to dog on american moms any more than they’ve been dogged on. you get what i’m trying to say.
the legit aspect really needs no explanation: becoming a mom is absolutely life changing. you will lose control to a varying degree, you will have to be more gritty and self-controlled in order to maintain both your mental and physical fitness, and you will need help. being a mom is hard enough that if you do not ask for/pay for/accept help when you need to, you’re not being strong; you’re being stupid. if you’re staying at home but you honestly aren’t doing great, you may need to rethink things and get a job or some sort of mental/social/financial stimulation that works for your family! my therapist says so. (major regret of mine, looking back on 2013–i personally needed more help and/or a PT job with jonny’s long hours.)
i don’t want to talk about lucy much yet. but, after losing her, i can call bullshit, bullshit. or to say it nicer: looking at life through the lens of grief, i am able to sort a few regrets from non-regrets, and to move forward in certain freedoms. i can say that some of my fears were unfounded, that some of the crazy mom stuff really is unnecessary.
i know that for me, it’s ok to spend time creating a home environment that’s beautiful and clean. my real life is clean and that doesn’t mean i’m neglectful, cold or not hands-on. i don’t regret cleaning.
for me, it’s ok to create time to work out for a body i’m proud of. to not rush through my meals, as a general rule. to eat healthy and whole, and take the time to be satisfied. i’m not willing to hyper-sacrifice my health, my pleasure, or my confidence.
for me, it’s ok to gently encourage my little ones to sleep well when i know they’re ready, both for their sake and for mine. personally, i don’t like the CIO method and i honestly regret the one or two times i did it–by encouragement, i mean routines and ritual. my tiredness over the past two years has mostly been my own fault for staying up too late–like right now.
for me, it’s ok to put on daniel tiger or elmo (gasp!) while i quickly primp. i’ve embraced dry shampoo (see this post) and shower less as a mom for sure, but i think that i usually shave and smell good? by the way, we don’t own a TV, and i am very vigilant about limiting screen time…the only person who really has a problem with screens in this house is ME, in fact.
these words are but a small and unnecessary drop in the vast ocean of mommy-writings. there are many beautiful women with completely opposite priorities/philosophies/needs as mine. i think all i’m trying to say here, is that if you fear like i did, maybe you don’t have to, quite so much. think originally, create your own routines based upon your own priorities, and try to dodge the bullshit. don’t make some author or some chick on the internet or some friend on your facebook feed your ultimate idol, whether she’s perpetuating a clean/chaotic/fit/not-so-fit value system. fight hard to find real-life idols and friends, people who stir something in you and motivate you to be better and make you feel excited and energized–and fight hard to make time for those relationships. it might take months or years, but be aggressive, YOU NEED PEOPLE IN REAL LIFE. my friends have carried me, guided me, chided me, loved me, modeled behaviors i do/don’t want to implement into my own life. they’ve helped me create solutions to avoid some of my fears coming true; they’ve shown me that being a good mom can be sexy to me in a more realistic way than the girls on instagram make it sexy to me, and can look different depending on personality, number/age of kids, values, etc. good mom friends save marriages and stave off insanity, i swear it.
really, am i fit to share anything? no; i don’t feel like it, smashed with guilt and fighting against sin worse than ever in my grief. but maybe something i say will help.
oh my lord, what becoming a mother has done to my heart. the love, the crushing love. worth some of the fears coming true, worth staggering pain, this love! humanizing beyond centuries and time and culture and the internet. stop right now and go look your baby/babies in the eyes, and say “hey, i love you!”–not in a heavy way, but in a thankful and happy way. do it over and over and over, every day. delight in them and help them become nice people, mostly by being a nice person yourself, by the grace of God.
hash tag it’s an individual journey with real people by your side. hash tag sacrifice is beautiful but don’t give up more than you need to. hash tag it’s worth it. hash tag pray. hash tag love.
everything else may, or may not be, bullshit.
…covering ‘Pilot Me’ by Josh Garrels. Love them so much! XX