One question we should all ask ourselves is was I happy before I met my spouse or had children? Now a healthy answer would be, “Yes I was truly happy with just being me, but when my spouse came along life was even better, and when I had kids I was even happier.” Some of us feel like well life pretty much sucked before I met my husband or I never felt like I was worth anything until my kids came along and constantly needed me. If you answered yes to the second part then you probably also have the tendency to rely on those people to bring you joy and fulfullment. Without them you have a hole and no purpose. You probably also still haven’t found who “You” are and what makes “You” unique. Before I married Andy he made one thing clear, “I love to hunt, that’s who I am, that’s who I always have been and you will never change that part of me.” Now obviously there was a reason for this conversation to come up and it was simply because every time he went hunting I just wasn’t happy being by myself. I didn’t know how to just be me. I still hadn’t found who I was as a person. I’ve learned that alone time is actually one of the most rewarding times you can have in a busy day. It’s the perfect time to focus on you. So maybe go buy a new outfit, read something that inspires you, or go for a run. Whatever it is do something to better yourself. No that does not mean sit around doing laundry all day and feeling like you are the only one not having fun around your house. Have you ever been to a funeral and thought when you left, “I can only hope one day when I pass mine would be something like that.” They lived a good life, they made a difference, and they made a name for themselves. What comes up when people say your name? Maybe you feel like your identity is haunted by a past, or is associated with being a needy person, a bad friend, a nagging wife, a lousy worker, or maybe you are unnoticed in other people’s lives. God changed Jacob’s name meaning,”supplanter” to “Israel” meaning, “having power with God.” Genesis 32:28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” What will your name be? Find who you are and you will find happiness outside of other people. Don’t be suprised if this isn’t easy. If you wan’t to lose weight you have to work out and eat right. No one gets fit by doing nothing.
Now in the beginning of my relationship with Andy I could have easily answered this question with, “Any man would be lucky to be married to me. I am fun, easy going, always dressed to impress, never too tired for sex, and I can easily make my husband my number one priority. As we all know life can get busy and messy really fast and it is easy to forget why we married each other in the first place. Life is always changing and being married means forever growing with someone. I remember before Lilah was born Andy had made the comment, “We are never having toys strolled all over the house.” About three months after we had Lilah sure enough her toys had taken over half the living room, and I was sitting folding my stack of laundry that seemed to never leave the couch, I was wearing yoga pants because my jeans still didn’t fit me without giving me a muffin top, my hair had literally been in an unwashed pony tail for three days, dishes were piled in the sink, and my husband had suddenly taken a moment to see the beauty in all the chaos. He let out a sigh of relief and said, “I love our messy house.. it finally feels like home.” To me that meant the world. It was reassurance that it didn’t matter anymore to him if he came home to a perfectly polished house and wife. Life wasn’t anything like the beginning of our relationship and maybe even after just one year we had both changed in different ways. What was it like to be married to me after having a baby? What would Andy say years from now about the kind of wife I was to him? Did I still feel like any guy would be lucky to have me? How did we treat each other the first few years as parents? Did I let stress and life with a baby over take my priority relationship with my husband? Did we laugh over spilled milk or did we cry? “When we are at the beginning of a relationship it is difficult to think of the end.” If you have kids you know life goes by fast and they grow in just a blink. I feel like I still just brought Lilah home from the hospital and now she is already rolling over and sleeping in her own room. When it comes to our kids we want to cherish every second of them. Our spouse shouldn’t be any different. It should be that same unconditional love that we feel for our kids. They should bring us the same joy and excitement because in a blink of an eye you will be sitting across the table from each other at your ten year anniversary, and then twenty year, and so on. What will you have to say about each other when that day comes?
After entering motherhood I did not realize I was entering a competition. From the moment we are pregnant we are flooded with decisions to make and with that comes many different opinions. The truth is we all know what is best for our children and everyone else’s. Wait, that doesn’t sound right. Well when we put it in those terms it doesn’t sound right, but isn’t that what we are all really saying when we use the phrase, “I can’t believe she is doing that.”
- I can’t believe she isn’t going to try breastfeeding
- I can’t believe she is STILL breastfeeding
- She is crazy for not getting an epidural
- Her baby uses her as a pacifier
- You really shouldn’t Co-Sleep
- Her baby wants to eat every hour something must be wrong
- Wow that baby looks overweight
- Yikes her baby is small
- She is seriously a germaphobe
- She is way too carefree
- Poor baby never has a bow in her hair
- Poor baby’s bows are too big
- What is that kid wearing
Okay I could go on and on. Point I’m trying to make is when we stop and think of how many times we say these things or hear other mothers say these things we are not doing anyone any favors by gossiping. If anything we are creating more stress in our own lives by worrying about others. If we could just all agree on one thing it should be this, that each mother is doing what they think is best for their child and no one is wrong for wanting to do things differently than the next person. No mother should have to live with the anxiety of what are the other mothers saying about me. If you find yourself judging another mother, which we are ALL probably guilty of from time to time, try and remember you wouldn’t want someone saying things about the way you do things or the way your child looks and stop the conversation. “To each their own.”
After giving birth to Lilah I realized my life was definately never going to be the same. I had a new role as Mom, my husband as Dad, and our parents as grandparents. I think the question all new Moms ask themselves is, “How am I going to find balance for my new life.” Between feeding my new infant every 2 hours, keeping up with house duties, the overwhelming loads of laundry from the many baby blow-outs and spit-up, cooking dinner, visitors, trying to shed baby weight, and lets face it those hormones are a little off as well. Where do I find balance? As far as the first 2 weeks after birth I was in a lot of pain from recovery and luckily my husband was off work to help with Lilah and keeping things around the house in order. We also had a lot of friends and family that brought us meals so dinner was covered. But after the first 2 week rush I had to find my own routine for our new little family. I would like to give the advice sleep when the baby sleeps, but as most new moms know THAT NEVER HAPPENS! So if you can awesome! But if you are anything like me I found it hard to take a nap once I was awake. One thing I changed to help balance my new life was how many cleaning duties I did per day. I made a weekly list and set only 1 to 2 duties per day. As far as cooking I either cook very quick easy meals or ones that will give us plenty of leftovers for a couple of days. Now probably the toughest one was balancing visitors. Sometimes it really is hard to learn to say, “No I’m sorry we need a day alone.” But you have to find a happy medium between getting alone time with your spouse and baby while also letting those who love and care about your baby see her or him as well. In the beginning after the first 2 weeks we still had guests wanting to come by during the week so I made a rule that anyone who wanted to come by and see Lilah had to come the same day around the same time. Now this worked for us because we would have rather had a house full of guest at the same time as opposed to have one guest every day. Now that Lilah is 3 months it has slowed down and it’s no big deal if someone wants to pop in and see her because it just doesn’t happen as often anymore. One thing I found helpful was asking grandparents what their expectations were as their new roles. Sometimes our expectations for them as grandparents don’t match up with theirs and you need to communicate to find a balance between the both. Even though yes you are the parents and you have the ultimate shots on calling what goes on with your baby and how often people get to see them, but you also have to remember the people who want to be a part are doing it out of love and not out of trying to over step boundaries. Being able to communicate with each other will give everyone a better sense of understanding for one anothers wants and needs. Now this goes for friends coming by as well. Setting boundaries letting friends know they can’t come by every weekend is TOUGH, but limiting friends time to maybe every other weekend or once a month get together is sometimes a good way to set a balance. One thing Andy and I did was set a bed time. I put Lilah down every night at 8:30-9:00, so for us we have the understanding of leaving always by 8:30. Now as far as trying to shed baby weight, breastfeeding helped shed most of mine. I was finally cleared to work out after 10 weeks but I knew going to the gym was out of the question and jogging with the baby was not ideal. I found that yoga for me was the answer. I could do a yoga sequence for as less as 15 minutes or as long as an hour without ever having to leave the house. I found that Pinterest had tons of tutorials and also started following yoga masters on Instagram to help teach myself. Yoga has definately been my way to wind down and relax at the end of the day or prepare my mind for the start of my new day. One thing I have learned about being a Mom is that every Mom is different and everyones advice doesn’t always work for everyone. So take what can from my experience!