I’ve been meaning to write this post for over a week, and I’m only here now because I insisted that my husband look after Milo for at least an hour and a half so that I could have the time to write. It looks like I’m finally learning that if I don’t speak up and ask for help, I can’t expect help to arrive. And I needed the time to sip my chai and process everything that’s been rising to the surface since my last post.
Five weeks ago, I left my full-time job to be a stay-at-home-mom. I’m still trying to figure out a routine that works best for my family, but the frantic panic that used to permeate my day-to-day life is beginning to subside. But even though I’m no longer scrambling to drop off freshly pumped milk during my lunch break, I’m surprised at how little time I still can’t seem to find to accomplish the passion projects I’ve committed myself to.
When I was contemplating my life as a stay-at-home mom, I figured I’d be able to cross those glaringly urgent items off my to-do list whilst Milo was down for a nap. But it turns out that nap time is not on my son’s clock. He fights sleep like it were an enemy, and if he does happen to succumb to slumber, he’ll only stay snoozing if he’s in my arms. The moment his body touches the crib’s mattress, he jolts awake and screams until I come to scoop him up again.
The thing is: this isn’t the first time I’ve made the mistake of scheduling my To-Dos to be accomplished in the scraps of time I thought I could collect throughout the day. I guess I thought that in being home regularly, I’d be able to shift Milo to a more regular schedule of napping twice a day for an hour each. Note to self: don’t plan my time based on the reality I fantasize about!
I’m someone who thrives on accomplishing goals, and not clearing my To-Do List day after day has left me feeling disappointed in myself and longing for the days when I had less on my plate and more time to eat. This past week, Milo has been particularly clingy, breaking down into hysterics every time I so much as set him down on the ground to play. In turn, I’ve barely crossed anything off my to-do list which has shifted me into a bit of a conundrum.
DIDN’T I LEAVE MY JOB SO THAT I COULD SPEND MORE TIME WITH MY SON? IF I ADMIT THAT I STILL NEED CHILDCARE IN ORDER TO COMPLETE THE OTHER TASKS THAT ARE REALLY TUGGING AT MY HEART (AND MY BANK ACCOUNT!), WOULDN’T THAT DEFEAT THE PURPOSE OF LEAVING MY JOB?
I’ve decided that the answer is “No.” But it’s taken me some time to reframe my thought patterns a lot these past couple of weeks because I could feel myself slipping into self-indulgent regret. I was beginning to regret being so lazy with the free time I used to have B.C. (Before Children). I was beginning to regret committing myself to projects that ended up taking more of my time than I realized they would even though they light me up inside. I was beginning to regret starting a family before having a financial plan, life plan and on and on and on. Regret is like quicksand; step one foot in and before you know it, you’re drowning.
Even though I felt mild shame over these feelings of regret, I confided in my husband. (Communicating honestly with your partner is ESSENTIAL to a harmonious relationship, people!) There was a big part of me that kept feeling like if I wasn’t a mom, I’d be able to really succeed in my passion projects. But my husband helped me to reframe that sentiment. It’s BECAUSE I’m a mom that I feel so motivated to succeed in my passion projects. This blog, for example, is only a project I’m pursuing thanks to my entrance into motherhood. In other words, there’d be no Young Honest Mother if I hadn’t become a mother!
This new perspective has eased the guilt I’ve been experiencing: it’s ok to be passionate about more than just being a mother. It’s ok to bring in childcare backup so that I can schedule time to accomplish my other goals. And ultimately, it’s ok to be me. I’m glad I have a place to process all of this.