Beneath the Layers - August
This is a series that we started this year - in the spirit of vulnerability. It's on my heart to open this space up to more personal things, to keep it vulnerable and a place where you can come to feel validated. As women, and moms, we often times feel the same feelings, no matter how many kids you do or don't have, no matter where you live or what you do. But somehow, we all think we're alone, we think we're crazy for being crazy, and feel misunderstood. But guess what? Your crazy is actually totally relatable, while it might appear different on the outside, the heart of the matters are all the same. I hope you can find some inspiration, some hope and maybe even a few laughs knowing that we're all in this together. There's peace & unity in community.
Each month, I want to address a fear that I have, and a negative thought or self-talk that I engage with. What will follow those is an affirmation that I tell myself, something to combat those feelings, along with an action plan of how I intend to conquer those thoughts.
My hope in sharing these with you is to show you that you're not alone. It's easy to look at someone's life (or what you might think you know of it) and make judgments, assumptions and even paint a vivid picture. "She has it all together, she doesn't have struggles, her kids are perfect, her marriage is incredible, etc.." But guess what? We ALL struggle, and while many of our struggles can look different, they all feel. I want to live in a world where feelings are currency - where we can exchange feelings and invest in peoples hearts, invest in their feelings - not in their circumstances or image.
Gosh, this one has hit me like a ton of bricks this summer. I think it's likely seasonal and has something to do with the fact that we're out of routines, there's no declared work hours to speak of and basically "anything goes" ... I FEAR that I'm not giving my kids enough attention, enough one-on-one time, enough eye contact, enough distraction-free time, etc. Baylor was being very whiny a few weeks back and was using every excuse under the sky to tell me why he was grumpy. I was able to brush all of them off, knowing he was tired and likely needed a nap, but one stung a little deeper. I couldn't breeze past it quite as effortlessly as the other excuses. He said "I'm grumpy because you work too much and don't play with me enough". Cue tears on my behalf (the kind that you try to hide), and a chill that surpassed my spine and entered straight into my heart. HEre's the thing, I work from home, I almost never leave my kids, and I'm rarely "unavailable" to them. I do 90% of my work during nap time or after they're asleep for the night. If I am working when they're awake, I'm in the playroom, participating with one ear. While I know that what he said was probably born out of nothing, I couldn't help but believe that there might be a grain of truth to his feelings, that he might feel that way deep down in his soft, little heart.
My mind immediately went to "I need to stop working AT ALL while they're awake" ... The tears streaming down my face led me to a place of the dreaded and so cliche mom guilt that we all suffer from. I am SO present with my kids, but in this moment, I wasn't able to shake the feeling of inadequacy. I wondered if he'd remember me looking at my phone when he's older, if he'd remember playing legos by himself instead of me building with him on the floor during nap time, or if he'd resent my businesses, feeling like they robbed him of his mom. Now, I know this all sounds crazy, considering I stay home, I'm realistically very present for my kids and I work really hard to n to be on my phone when they're around, but this had me rocked quick. If there's one thing I've learned through all of this, it's that negative thoughts are FAST and they permeate rapidly.
My kids need to see me work. It's good for them, it reminds them that what they have isn't by accident, it isn't free and it doesn't come without sacrifice. Baylor saw a homeless man this week and was very curious about him - I started talking about how are very blessed to have a home and I was able to share that mom & dad work very hard so that we can have nice things as big as houses and as small as legos. I truly believe God creates these little divine appointments to help us teach our babes these life lessons.
I love what I do, and I truly believe it allows me to be a better mom because I'm able to live out my passions - I can be creative and productive and can contribute our family. These giftings that God gave me weren't by accident and I want to use them in the ways that they were created for.
One of my favorite things is when the kids recognize that something they're wearing was created by me or an oil that they're using is a direct result of my business. Baylor asks all the time when we get to have another oil party or when he gets to help me work. So I believe that he doesn't resent this, but that he admires it.
I truly believe we all have ways we can improve and one way I know I can grow is being present where my feet are. I am a doer by nature, I love to be productive and the days I feel most relaxed are the ones where I've gotten the most accomplished. I can do better by blocking my time (this has changed my life already), by really monitoring my phone use when the kids are around, and by asking for HELP! This one is so hard, but my kids are better off when I hire help. Whether that is help with my business, or help watching them so I can have uninterrupted time to accomplish more - leaving me free of distraction when I'm with them.
Let's remember that we're all in this together, that often the best support is someone who's going through it right there with you. I hope you'll share in the comments if you have other responses, fears, or vulnerabilities - sometimes talking about it is just enough to take that weight off our shoulders!