Wednesday, May 9, 2012

To All My Mommy Friends

Ladies, I have a question for you. Even if you only read this blog casually, please consider commenting in response. Here it is: How do you keep your mojo as a mom?

What I mean is, when you are giving so much time/effort/thought to your kids, home, and husband, how do you stay you? How do you stay interesting, vibrant and happy? I'm not in a depression or anything. There are absolutely exquisitely joyful moments with the kids - like Danny's sloppy kisses or Jack saying I'm his best friend. I just feel.....kind of meh sometimes. Like some of the color has washed out of my self-portrait.

Anyway, I'm not writing this as a plea for "poor Mary, I hope you're ok." I just want you to distill your best thoughts on the topic of being/staying your best "you," and add them here for me to think about. Pretty please?

7 comments:

  1. I TOTALLY get it! My #1 advice: do things ALONE (I mean no husband or kids) that you enjoy. I will admit I went a little overboard with this at first but now that I've quit working I feel like I have the perfect mix. I spent the vast majority of my time being a wife and mom, but I work out at least 4-5 mornings a week with a group I love, and I volunteer at Jacob's school in their grants department. The working out is great for me because I feel better physically and emotionally. Working on the grant proposals is awesome because 1) I am really passionate about the work his school does, 2) it uses my skills from my previous life as a lawyer - research and pursuasive writing, and 3 they appreciate me a lot and give me a ton of positive feedback (something you don't get a ton of when you're a mom to very little children). Maybe that last one makes me lame but I like to feel appreciated and even though I know my kids and husband appreciate me it's just not the same.

    So all that to say, I think it's really important for you to find things you are passionate about apart from your family and make time to pursue those things.

    Also - overnights away. I just spent a weekend alone at my parents' house and it felt like a 5 star resort because I had fresh coffee made for me every morning and I didn't have to change diapers or make food or anything else! Ahhhh

    Jon's favorite saying: happy wife, happy life. And I agree. We need to take time out for ourselves so we have the energy it takes to devote to our husbands and children. The woman sets the tone of the house so I don't feel bad making sure I'm in a place where I can be the best me.

    Please excuse typos, I'm on the phone!

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  2. I find myself evaluating this off and on because it's easier to get in a rut of helping everyone but you. For me, social life is very important. I have at least one play group the girls and I attend weekly. Sure the kiddos get to play with friends, but I very much need interaction with other women who share their war stories and make me laugh.

    I attend a ladies monthly book club. I enjoy the stimuli of good reading and staying up late chatting with the girls.

    I haven't been exercising lately, partly due to the pace of life with an infant and toddler. (You know all about that.) I've been telling myself that I need to make it a priority again. Running usually is just the thing that brings my "color," as you describe it, back.

    Mike, the other night, suggested we get a sitter and go out to dinner. We haven't been going out much without the kids. Just his suggestion felt like an inspiration! It really helped me look forward to that weekend.

    I'm sure all these sound like common sense suggestions, but isn't it usually the simple answers that truly work? Getcha grove back Ms. Mary!

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  3. Agreeing with all of the things that has already been said, getting out, having your own interests, etc, one thing that I like in my life is my quilting time. I think that one of the most valuable things about this is that it's not something that I did pre-kids. I am not the same person that I was before I had kids, and if I try to fit back into that person, it can lead to unhappiness because of what I've "lost." So instead, I try to focus on all of the awesome things that I am now, and that it's OK to not stay a perpetual 25 year old (it's actually a good thing!) So I'd say pick up a new hobby, something that you can grow and evolve with, and continue to learn in, something that is not old hat, but makes you excited to do.

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  4. I totally agree with everything that's been said. I found the stage before my kid's were in school (any of them) to be particularly hard at being bored and getting in a rut. So I so sympathize with you. I found that putting Kelsey in a community class before she started preschool (tumbling, art, dance, etc) that even ran for a few weeks gave me a reason to get ready and get out of the house. It helped the calendar feel more full. I was recently in a rut of mom-dom and so I signed up for a photography course from UVU. I hesitated doing it because I was worried about one more night away from home a week (with young women's every week) but Bret and I both agree after that it was exactly what I needed. It's something I've always wanted to do and so I finally did it. So I'd say to look at something you've thought of learning or doing--scrapbooking, sewing, painting, etc. and maybe give it a try and get out of the house. I've also found that I have to get out of the house at least once a day. When my two oldest were little we made lots of visits to chick-fil-a to play at their playground or even get ice cream at the drive-thru. Just leaving the house always makes me feel better. I also did a playgroup with our ward when we were in Ohio that we did every Tuesday morning and we rotated locations or houses. I also started one with our neighborhood that was Wednesdays. That was my sanity before the kiddos were in school. I agree with Lauren in claiming new hobbies and interests. I'd also say to try and go to dinner or a movie or something with girlfriends at least once a month. Whenever I get particularly grumpy now Bret's begging me to call a friend or neighbor because he knows I come home refreshed and renewed.

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  5. Good question! Is there a temple by you? Going there as much as possible (even just by myself while Rich is home with the kids) has made all the difference for me!

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  6. I know you made this post almost a month ago, but here I am anyway. Better late than never. I actually don't have a whole lot more to add other than what's been posted already. I struggle a lot with this and haven't found a good rhythm yet of getting the "me" time in. I love my family so much, and I love the other things I am a part of, but I need to strike that balance as well. So yeah, even though I don't have anything helpful to say, I just thought I'd let you know that you aren't alone in this predicament. :)

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