Growing up I never thought I would marry or have kids. Not because I didn’t want that life, but I was convinced I would never find someone who loved me for me. I was always told by my peers, family, and strangers ways that I should change. “Lose weight.” “Wax your eyebrows.” “Dress nicer.” The list goes on. It took me a long time to grow into my skin and own it. Nearly 10 years ago I found the love of my life, Denis, and we now have two amazing children together: Evalyn (3 in August. Wtf!) and Dominic (10 months). The three of them challenge me every day to be the best version of myself. Especially my little Evalyn.
However, I still struggle. I struggle with how I feel about myself, with my position in life, and sometimes even struggle with seeing the successes and gifts that I have right in front of me. Recently this struggle has been quite overwhelming and on the forefront of my mind. I work full-time – 3 days in the office, 2 days from home. The days I am home are spent with my kids. A total blessing, that sometimes I fall short in recognizing. Like I said, they challenge me. Every. Single. Day. Many days this leaves me feeling like I’ve failed as a mom.
I always thought that I’d be one of those moms who does crafts and bakes cookies with my kids, and know how to keep them entertained for hours at a time. Many times I find myself begging my daughter to sit down and watch a movie just so I feel like I can breathe. Then about halfway through the movie, the guilt starts to take over. Could I be any worse of a mom? All these kids want to do is be with me. They want to be by my side – whether it’s on the couch, washing dishes, going to the bathroom – they want to be there. And yet I spend many a day yelling, “Get out of this room!” “Go in the living room!” “Stop hugging your brother so tight!” And my sweet Evalyn gets the brunt of it.
She is a typical toddler – about to become a Threenager, but an absolute delight 99% of the time. She is inquisitive, explorative, witty, and charming. So filled with love. She is also bold, adventurous, assertive, and a bit whiney. She has an old soul and is intelligent in ways I never thought possible for a 2 year old going on 3. The antithesis to the big ball of stress that I have become, not just as a mom, but as a person in general, that is very skilled in pushing buttons that I didn’t even know I had. Did I mention she is about to become a Threenager?
Because of her, I live my life on the edge of my seat. Sometimes I fall off that edge and it’s not pretty. I yell, I scream, I cry. My husband and I try hard to keep each other in check if we are overreacting to her behavior, and lately I am the one being checked the most. We have a lot of outside stressors: work and finances being the biggest. I tend to internalize these stressors and let them build up. Combine them with being a mom of two – I am on the verge losing my shit. Every. Single. Day.
I’ve been trying really hard lately to let the small stuff go and recognize that I have no control right now over certain stressors happening in my life. There’s nothing I can do about our mortgage or my student loan debt. I need to accept and move on. I find the days that I can practice this mindfulness, are the days that I have the most fun with my family. They are also the days that I yell less and just enjoy the clinginess of my children, the bold personalities and remember how they opened my heart in ways I never imagined were possible. They give me life. They give me purpose. They make every success and every struggle worth it.
Maybe I’m not a mom that helps them with an art project. But, I am a mom (like the rest of us) who is committed to loving them, caring for them, and helping them grow to into the amazing people that I know they’re going to be. Buttons pushed and all. As I work on myself (and put down my phone), I promise a life filled with adventure, good times (even on a budget), and many memories. I’m taking everything one day at a time, and doing the best I can do.