I have struggled a great deal off and on with finding my place. Even before Henry was born, I worked part-time at a “meh” job, and I wasn’t sure what I really wanted to do when I grew up. Then along came this sweet, precious baby. Henry was all that mattered. The first few months of motherhood I am pretty sure I just sat on my couch in sweatpants eating jalapeno chips and watching him breathe. Then he started laying on the floor and wiggling around, so I sat on the floor and watched him do that instead. I was the mom who was so totally and completely wrapped up in this job that I wanted to do nothing else. I didn’t want to even talk about any responsibilities outside of my home. It was winter, and I was a total hermit. I was perfectly happy staying home and snuggling my baby in my jammies…until I wasn’t. It sort of just hit me that this could not go on. I was once a busy, social person. I volunteered. I created art. I taught classes about how to create art…and then I just stopped.
Don’t get me wrong. I am obsessed with Henry. I love him so much it hurts, and I would not trade this job for any other job in the universe. I freakin’ love staying home with him (most days), and I cherish our shopping trips, mornings at the park, and snuggles before nap time. But there was a shift at some point. I couldn’t just sit there waiting for him to wake up when he slept. I needed to exercise my brain and my creativity. I needed to have conversations and just…do stuff. It is so easy to get stuck in the rut of laundry, dishes, food, diapers, rinse, repeat. I recently told my husband that literally everything I do in a day is quickly undone. I wash dishes and laundry, they get dirty. I clean the floor, it needs mopped again in five minutes. I change his diaper, he poops his pants. Y’all know the drill.
Don’t misunderstand me…I know that raising babies is good and noble and so, so important. I am so thankful for this opportunity, and I do know that I am doing important things…the most important thing even, but sometimes in the day-to-day it can feel really mundane and just plain hard. We are trained to succeed. We are encouraged to be busy and accomplished, and that feeling is sometimes lacking when you stay home and change from one set of pajamas to another. That feeling of accomplishment is sometimes hard to come by when you don’t have a yearly review to tell you how good you have done and you aren’t getting a paycheck.
For me I needed to find something to challenge me. I started teaching classes again. I started a small business. I realized that small business was taking too much time away from my people. I swallowed my pride and ended that business. Then I started blogging. I realized I had a lot to say. I found that encouraging other mamas makes my heart soar, and I might even be good at it. I have stretched myself by sharing my heart, challenged myself to meet my own deadlines, and grown myself in the process. This has been so crucial to my sanity and good for my soul. My blog doesn’t have millions or even thousands of readers. I don’t have 50K followers on Instagram, but that is not what it is about. I am usually inconsistent with publishing content because being a mama will always come first, but my blog is still the thing that allows me to use my creative talents, document this journey, and make new friends along the way.
As I write it out, I realize my story is probably not that different from so many others out there. That is why the motherhood community on social media is so large. We are all looking for support, encouragement, and maybe a little solidarity every now and then. Every mom selling makeup or hand bags or essential oils is just trying to find her place in the world and feel like she has accomplished something at the end of the day…that she’s still got it and can access it when she needs to. It doesn’t mean we love our babies any less when shift our mama hat every now and then. More often than not I think it can make us better for our children, and I for one want to be the best mama I can be. I am sure I am not the only stay at home mama who has thought they might be made for more than changing diapers and picking up the sames toys 75 times a day. Working mamas may sometimes feel like they were made for more than leaving their babies each morning and feeling like they barely see them long enough to tuck them in at night. And we are more. We are all more. We are more than our jobs, whether they are at home with babies or 45 minutes away with coworkers who feel like family. We are mamas. We are mamas who are doing our best to honor our most important title. We are mamas who work hard at whatever we do, and we need a community of other mamas to build us up and encourage us. So if you are a working mama who wishes she could make after-school pickup, you are doing a good job. If you are a stay at home mama just trying not to lose your crap before nap time, you are doing a good job. It doesn’t always feel like it, but you are. When you feel like you aren’t, seek a friend to lift you up. When your kid takes an extra long nap, and you feel like you are walking on air, take that time to encourage someone else. We all need a cheerleader every now and then.
You are doing a good job, mamas. Keep doing the best you can, and your babies will keep loving you for it.
Katie has been someone that I have admired since day one! I appreciate her honesty and raw stories about motherhood, I wanted her approach on this and knew it would be relatable. Thank you, Katie! Thank you for speaking your truth and for being a true inspiration. You can find Katie blogging over at www.goodandlovelythings.com she does a great job and will keep you clicking around for days reading her content. To follow along with the identity series you can read my take on motherhood and keeping my identity/balance here and Stephanie’s story here. I hope you enjoy!