8.23.2017

... Because I Wish Someone Would Have Written This 8 Years Ago

Instagram can only hold so many words... and well, I have more to say on this back to school business. lol. So I'll start with echoing what I started to say on my last insta post.
Back to school this time around is so bittersweet. Two years ago I clearly had very different feelings😝 - and so this go around it's taking me by surprise. It's the first time I am legitimately sad about not having my 3 little spunky, sweet, giggly, chatty sidekicks to joke, dance and shop around with each day.😩💔
Are there moments where I'm super stoked about having more free time to do my own thing, and thrilled about my house staying clean for more than 30 minutes?... uhhh YEAH! But I just can't emphasize enough HOW FUN this preteen age has been for me. The conversations are richer, the laughs are longer, and just the fun moments in general have multiplied by a thousand this Summer.

Lately I've found myself thinking SO MUCH about motherhood, and how it's constantly evolving and changing.
Truth be told (and I hope someone can relate, because this is a vulnerable thing to admit)... I typically ALWAYS felt out of place, impatient and frustrated as a "toddler Mom". I never quite understood how other Moms could deal so well with everything that was being thrown at them.
(I blamed it on my incredible lack of patience😬)
It was never about comparing myself to other Mom's at all, but more that I would just see them not getting as bent out of shape as I would with my own toddlers (who I have to say were really, really quite good). Often times I felt like a complete failure after a full day of disciplining, grunting in anger, sticking to punishments, only talking to myself pretty much all day, potty training, messes and well... just "having it up to here" with basically three small kids the same age.

Honestly? It was about three-ish years of my life I like to call "the vortex of hell"😬. Judge away, because I know that sounds super harsh, but I'm just being open and honest, and for someone like ME - a slightly OCD, control & clean freak, with a wildly huge social butterfly living inside her - ... it was REALLY lonely and REALLY hard.
I rarely ever talked about this to anyone, because who wants to be seen as the strung-out young mother who can't get her sh*t together!? Not me. And I didn't really have any other Moms with kids the same age who were going through similar feelings as me.
Thank the heavens I didn't have to deal with Instagram at the time, and the illusion of perfection that goes along with it. LOL. I may have quite possibly lost it completely.😂
... then again, maybe I would have had an easier time finding other Mommas who were dealing with feelings like mine (?) who knows....... something to think about.

So why am I admitting this?
Because of what I've learned ALL these years later.

IT'S OKAY to not feel like you're rockin' it at being a mom at EVERY single stage of your child's life!!!

And I know NOW, that my calling in this "Mom life" that I excel at most, is here. In THIS moment. With these giggly, fun, amazingly communicative, full of personality, chatty and opinionated preteens! I feel SO much more fulfilled now as a mother when they're laughing at inside jokes with me, crying about feelings and throwing tween sass, than I EVER did when I was solely relied on for eating, entertainment and cleaning up wet toilet paper from the bathroom floor that had been soaked in toilet water.😓

I hesitate to say this, because everyone thrives at motherhood in different stages, but I SO wish I would of have had someone tell me 8-ish years ago, that it was OKAY to feel out of place from the other Mom's. Not quite the same. And that it wouldn't always be like this.
Instead? When I would open up to people I would often hear "Oh, just cherish these times" or "Don't rush them to grow up". This is about the same moment I would start wishing I had a wad of that soggy, toilet-water-soaked bathroom tissue to chuck at their heads.

Because honestly?... it was NEVER about my girls getting bigger faster, it was about ME not feeling like ME. And the question that would run through my head a lot was... "Maybe I'm just not built for this 'Mom stuff' like I thought I would be?"
And THAT is a heavy feeling for ANY Mom to feel.

So maybe you know what I'm talking about, and maybe you don't. But I've decided today, that either way, I'm giving EVERY single one of us Moms the permission we need to feel EXACTLY how we need to feel, and to be completely unapologetic for it.

I try not to "give advice", but I encourage you to focusing on how to learn from the hard Mom moments (because they'll happen no mater what), and then also passionately embrace the good ones and hold on tight. Take pictures. Write things down. Flip your phones camera to video, and capture everything you can.

I am SO HAPPY I made it (somedays, barely) through the rougher waters of Motherhood, to get to the point I'm at today,
I couldn't always say this confidently, but now I can...
I am in LOVE with being a Mom right now. It fulfills me more than anything ever has. It makes me a better person, and I like who I am MOST when I'm 'Momming' to these three beautiful girls of mine.

Here's to all you Moms, doing the best you can.
It IS enough.
xoxo

34 comments:

  1. I know EXACTLY how you feel. Except I'm not quite to preteens yet (I have a 4-year-old and 6-year-old). But I have found the toddler years to be long, painful, isolating, and a serious hit to my self-esteem. I love teens though. I'm currently going to school to teaching junior high/high school. Thanks for opening up and helping me feel less alone with my feelings.

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  2. Dude! I think we may be twins! I am currently in the young (9yrs to 18 mo) stage and can I say how glorious today was with only 1 child at home?! I hope and pray that my relationships with my kids get better with time! I feel no guilt sending my kids off to school and basking in the quiet, clean house! :) Thanks for your post

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  3. I love this! I'm in the toddler stage now (3.5 and 1 year old girls) and though there are REALLY difficult moments and days, I actually love it and don't want it to go so fast. HOWEVER, many if not most of my momma friends are feeling the same way you were -- it's so normal but hard for moms to talk about. As for me, my vulnerable admission is that I feel the way you describe in the newborn stage. It is sooo hard for me - super colicky babies, allergies, so. much. crying. And so little sleep. They are precious and I love them all the time but you're so right that we all have those stages where we feel we really excel at the whole parenting thing. Thanks for the open and honest post!

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  4. Love this ... especially the "slightly OCD, control & clean freak" part (though I am definitely not a social butterfly!!). It's dumb, but my two kids are 8 and 5 now, and honestly the hardest part for me of being a SAHM has been not being able to keep on top of the housework and live in the kind of calm surroundings that make me feel okay!!!! My youngest is about to start kindergarten and I have to say I'm kind of looking forward to the clean house part ...

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  5. So. much. truth in this post! I have always LOVED babies, and the only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. And then I had a baby, and while he was a newborn, I was terrified that I had made a horrible mistake!! Once those sleepless nights, tons of crying days passed, it turned out ok, but also because I love babies so much, I never thought past the baby part. So the awesomeness that is big kids came as a huge, amazing surprise. The BEST surprise!!

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  6. oh my gosh, thank you for saying this!! Exactly what I needed to read!

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  7. The funny thing is that I think EVERY mother feels this way at least some of the time. We all think there is something wrong with us, but we're all the same! I always worked and then I was home alone with one colicky baby and a severe case of post-partum depression. I always felt like I was hanging by a ragged thread. That was the worst year of my life. Now my son is a Major in the USMC and I couldn't be prouder. So moms, whether you love every minute, or are struggling, try to get some help and hang in there. There is nothing wrong with you. Just do the best you can.

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  8. Oh man, I hate toddlers. I don't like my children as toddlers, and since my 3 are spaced the way they are, I have had a toddler for the past 12 years. To say I'm OVER IT would be the understatement of the world! My kids are really difficult from the time they're 1 until they are 5, and then I start to like them again. My oldest is 12 and I just genuinely adore her and miss talking with her when she's gone--I'm her mom, but she's also my friend! My 3-year-old....well, let's just say I'm trying to survive for another year and a half. And if anyone dares tell me how much I'll miss this stage someday, how this is just the best possible time of my life, it's all I can do not to punch them in the face! I get frustrated with the LDS narrative of motherhood being the best, most fulfilling, most amazing thing a woman can possibly do with her life. I feel like because we hear that from the top down, women are afraid to admit that they're unhappy or unfulfilled or just plain don't like their job, and that only contributes to the awful feelings of isolation and self-criticism and feeling like there must be something wrong with you if you don't love EVERY SINGLE SECOND of wiping butts and scrubbing dried boogers off the wall and tantrums. I've learned, like you, that it's okay to like some stages more than others. To not feel like there's something wrong with you if the thought of serving in the Nursery makes you feel stabby. If you desperately want your kids to get big enough to go to school and be SOMEONE ELSE'S PROBLEM for a few blessed hours in a day. That doesn't make me a bad person, a bad woman, a bad Mormon, or a bad Mom. It just doesn't. And the more women willing to speak out and say so, the better it is for everyone! Honesty and truth helps us break down barriers and serve and love each other better.

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  9. You are not alone. While I always loved my two children, I didn't like them until they were older.

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  10. THANK YOU!! I haven twin 3 year olds and a newborn. It's been hard and ive been wishing away the days when they easier, and then feel guilty because everyone says to cherish these moments. So glad I'm not the only one to feel out of place in motherhood sometimes.
    Thanks for giving me some hope!!

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  11. UH-MAZING post! So many times I have felt like being a mom is NOT enjoyable or FULLFILLING and then I feel guilty for having those thoughts. It's hard and it's okay to say it! Some moms love the newborn stage, some the toddler stage and others, like you, the tween/teen stage. We all have different personalities and different strengths/weaknesses so of course it makes sense to thrive in different areas or stages. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing because believe it or not, we are all doing the best we know how! You and your girls look like you are having the time of your lives together and that's great!

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  12. I came over here from your Instagram stories to see what the post was about.... and I found myself crying through it. I was that mom. Still am in a lot of ways honestly. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability in posting this. Some people don't/won't get it, and that's ok... but for those of us that have been there, done that, got the t-shirt, we appreciate the honesty and vulnerability that you shared to know that we aren't alone.

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  13. I honestly NEVER comment on anything.. but this post sure hit the spot with me! I mean, exactly! I am currently in the trenches with 4 kids under 8, and a super hard 2 year old. (Who I love so much, but can't stand most of the time! Ha!) thank you for being "real". Every mom is different, and we all have our struggles and strengths.. and my struggle is toddlers! Ha! I can't wait to be in your stage of life.. even though I often get that "oh cherish it now, and you'll miss it " crap all the time! I love my kids dearly, but I also think I'll be happier and a better mom when they grow up a bit! No shame here! You are seriously so awesome, and I looooovvvee your videos and blog! Thanks for being a great example!

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  14. I totally get this. I adore my 2 year old-- I love her baby talk and her chubby toddler cheeks and the way she smells and a million other things-- but I liked her better 6 months ago before the whining and tantruming hit their peak. I have always wanted to be a mother but this stage definitely gave me that same scary thought you mentioned....maybe I'm not cut out for this role after all. �� It's a relief to hear another mom say that.

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  15. I absolutely agree!! I seriously struggled when my girls were much younger in every way. I feel much more comfortable and confident as a mom now I still struggle and still have days I can't stand my kids.. but for the most part they are so much more my little girlfriends! Best way through it is to embrace it!

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  16. I can totally relate to these feelings. I also disliked how I was when my kids were younger & wondered what in the world had happened to me. I could have used these words for sure. Thanks for saying them. You are definitely not alone.

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  17. My middle son just started Pre-K and I love it! He and my 6 yr old fought pretty much all summer and it's so quiet for a couple hours a day and I am not super exhausted all the time. I feel like a new person. My step mom was talking about how she used to cry every time her kids went back to school and she asked me if I cried and I lied and said yes because I didn't want to seem heartless. I love watching them grow up and I've enjoyed the various stages but I feel like I'm in survival mode a lot. Good to know that it only gets better!

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  18. Loved this. There are things I hate about caring non stop for kids. And lots to love. But we dont always talk about the worst parts, and thats isolating and scary. It feels nice to know we are not alone.

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  19. I can relate to this. Being a mom to young ones can be extremely lonely and difficult at times. I really appreciate your honesty in this post. Momming is the hardest and most amazing job!

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  20. You give me hope! I have three (8 yo boy and then 2 girls that are 4 and 2 - but truthfully are only 15 months apart) and it's hard with my girls. I have only been at this stay at home mom gig for a little over a year and I find myself more tired and with less time than when I worked 60+ hour work weeks. I try to cherish everyday but it's hard. Thanks for keeping it real! And being vulnerable to help us other mommas out!

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  21. Wow, you hit my feelings to a T. I have one 8 yr old and I thought the toddler years just proved how horrible of a mother I was and was going to be, I went to bed thinking how can people do this all day every day with more than one. Now that my daughter is 8 we enjoy being with each other and doing mommy daughter things, she is always writing me little notes and we go on mommy daughter dates. Its so rewarding to be in this stage. Thank you for sharing your feelings I know we all feel overwhelmed in different stages and its amazing to see I'm not alone and that things will get better.

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  22. Thanks for Sharing your thoughts! Being a mom is hard and it's hard with all the pressures of perfection that seem to come with it at times. THIs is what I needed today, so thank you so much!! You are an amazing mom and I've always thought that! You rock it girl! ❤️😘

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  23. I desperately needed to read this! Thank you! This honestly consumes me right now... I have 4 boys 7 years old and under. My 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 year old are SO HARD right now. I literally want to pull my hair out every day! Although I love them fiercely, the toddler stage is a real struggle for me. It's a comfort to know I'm not alone :)

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  24. I saw on Instagram that people were leaving hateful comments -- I think you're amazing! And while I'm older than you and only have one 18 month old...I literally cried through her first four months of life. I couldn't relate to people who said it was easy, and I didn't sleep for 8 weeks straight. You are awesome, and I hope my daughter turns out as happy and confident as your beautiful, smart, kind girls do.

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  25. Great post!! I've "only" had two kids so far for a lot of the same reasons you talked about. And when I did get vulnerable and talked about how hard it was to be a toddler mom, I often got, "oh man... enjoy it now... it only gets harder." That felt so defeating to me. I have always felt that I'll be a "better mom" to older, more able to be rational/sarcastic kids. Here's to hoping. 😊

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  26. THANK YOU!! It feels so nice to not feel alone. I could have written this. I have been going to therapy for 2 years for this exact reason. Why is something that is suppose to be my greatest job and fulfillment be something I hate so much. And then the subsequent guilt from it. I hope some day as my children grow, it will click for me. As for now, I take care of them and love on them to the best of my ability even if it sn't in my heart. And to all the haters, I would never wish this on my worst enemy. It is so real and so painful, please have empathy.

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  27. Thanks for this post, Shelley! I was scared to death to even have children, for fear of being a terrible mother. When my three came along, of course I loved them and did my best, but we all struggle with various aspects of parenting, and we need each other! When mine were toddlers I found a wonderful MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) in my area that helped me in amazing ways. Now they are 17, 14 and 11 and they are my favorite people.

    It's important to share our struggles so that others can know they're not alone. Big hug to all the mamas out there who are doing their best.

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  28. I absolutely love this post. I am in the little kid/toddler stage with 4 girls 6 and under. I feel so much like you used to feel. I am extroverted and these little whiny children are killing me! I don't see how anyone could find this post controversial! Your honesty is so refreshing and good for my soul. I feel like just with my 5 and 6 year old getting into elementary school I see some light at the end of the tunnel! I've always been so nervous for the preteen and teenage years BUT your post has given me so much encouragement that it can get better and better! Thanks for being transparent and your words resonate so much!

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  29. Amen!!!! 🙌🏼 I have 2 girls, 10 & 6, and I can honestly say this is the FIRST summer I was sad to see them go back to school. Usually I'm the mom who's tires you can hear peeling out of the parking lot on the first day of school, throwing the peace sign out the window. I have always felt bad when other moms would go on and on and ON about how they were missing having their kids home. I always thought in my head "you're so full of it"!

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  30. You made it look easy. I see three beautiful,kind and most important confident girls. Your doing great.

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  31. Love, Love, Love your honesty! I remember after I had my first and being so tired and worn out and I remember thinking, everyone must have been lying when they were so happy for me and my pregnancy. Because it was not wonderful all the time with babies and toddlers! Oh, and the Mom's of toddlers that used to say, I just LOVE being a Mom it is so much FUN! Yeah, I wanted to strangle them. Obviously they were putting on a front! I also remember after my kids got out of that stage and when someone said they were pregnant, it was hard for me to be overtly happy for them because I knew what was in store for them! I know, how terrible is that? My boys are grown now and of course it was well worth it, but these women that go on and on about how Fun it is, are just not real! Thank you so much for being honest!

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  32. Yes! I am really enjoying my 12 and 14 year olds!

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  33. I love this. I have 4 kids ages 2, 3, 4, and 6. I love them to pieces, but sometimes I wonder if they are all going to be irrational, emotional, mischevious, messy people when they get older. Seeing your sweet girls gives me hope!!

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