More grace, less judgment. For myself and for others.
Letting go of expectations I placed on myself in exchange for more joy.
Letting go of the “right way” of doing things in exchange for more peace.
Letting go of how I thought things were supposed to be in exchange for more happiness.
Embracing what feels best for our family in this current season of life.
Stay at home mom
Before having kids, I always “knew” I wanted to be a working mom, focusing on career and motherhood. Since October, I have found myself in a new season of life being a stay at home mom, and I am enjoying it more than I ever thought I would. I am one of those people who puts a lot of value on having a career and loved the job I had (which is still waiting for me come August). However, I am surprised by how much I enjoy being with my kids all day. I know this might sound weird to someone who always wanted to be a stay at home mom, but that was not my personality. I always knew I wanted to have a career and wasn’t always sure I wanted to be a mom.
I always loathed the term “stay at home mom,” because I thought that if I was ever a stay at home mom, I wouldn’t stay at home. I would be out and about all of the time taking my kids on adventures. While we are often out and about, I have found that some of my favorite moments from the past few months have been the slow mornings when it's just the kids and me and we don't have to go anywhere at any particular time. I have loved these mundane mornings at home and I think I will look back at this time when it was just the three of us with such fondness once my kids are older.
I feel like I have a whole new empathy for working parents and stay at home parents, because I have now experienced both, and both are challenging and beautiful.
I thought I would keep Everett in preschool for two days a week while I am home this year, so that he could connect with other kids and I could have some one on one time with Cambria, but I am instead keeping him at home with me for a few reasons. School drop offs were becoming more and more challenging, and I'm not sure why, but Everett and I were both in tears. He started voicing that he didn’t want to go to school, and I found myself thinking, why are we forcing our 2.5 year old to go to school? I began questioning, is preschool even that important? We are going to have so many years of having to get out of the house for school, and this is a beautifully short season of life where we don't have to. We can fill our days with whatever we want. Also, he is the funniest, most awesome person I know, so I found I was enjoying my days at home with him more than the days he was off at school (even though he can also drive me crazy). I now find myself googling things like “homeschool preschool” and I definitely, 100% never thought I would be googling anything “homeschool” related to my own children. However, after going through just this one, short experience with Everett, I have a whole new empathy for homeschool parents. It is pretty amazing to be around my kid 24/7 and see him learn and play and grow. We read so many books, spend so much time outside, and go on so many "field trips" to music class, museums, the zoo, local canyons, Sea World, the library, and the park. I am starting to wonder why, just when kids get to a “fun” age where they get really interesting and engaging, we have to send them off to school to learn and play? I kind of just want to spend my life going on adventures and field trips with my kids.
Sleep (the most boring thing ever to journal about)
On a different note, I have had to let go of all my expectations about sleep. I never thought I would be that mom who slept with all of her kids in her room, but alas. With Everett, we did everything we were “supposed” to do every step of the way regarding sleep. He slept in our room in a co-sleeper until seven months. Then, we switched him to his own room. He was on nap schedule, had a strict bedtime routine, we night weaned him at fourteen months, and since then, he slept through the night unless he was sick. Then, I became 39 weeks pregnant, and he spent the next four months waking multiple times throughout the night, almost every night, and some days would wake for the day at 2:00 am. We fought this battle for four months, hoping it was just a phase. Then we had house guests, so Everett slept in our room for three nights in a pack and play, and he slept through the night for three nights in a row, which was the longest stretch in four months. We half heartedly attempted to have him sleep in his own room again, but he didn’t want to, and we wanted to sleep, so we now all share a room- Everett in his pack and play, Cambria in her co-sleeper, and us in our bed. Now if we could just figure out how to get Cambria to sleep better at night, we would be one big, happy family who just happen to sleep in the same room together.
One of the biggest lessons from this season of life is that I need to offer all parents more grace and less judgment, and extend that same grace to myself. There really is no right way to do things. All of these things I was sure about parenthood before this season of life are no longer true. I am a stay at home mom who never wants to send her kids to school and allows them to both sleep in her room. Who knew that sentence would ever describe me? I surely would not have thought so a year or two ago. And yet, here I am.