Decisions


What was the biggest decision you had to make when you entered motherhood?  Was it to breastfeed or not to breastfeed?  Was it to cloth diaper?  Was it about co-sleeping or ferberizing?  All big decisions that we make for our kiddos, but what if I told you the biggest decision I had to make when I became a mom, had nothing to do with my child and everything to do with me.

Motherhood was like a fairy tale that I had been hearing my whole life.  The perfect child, in the perfectly decorated nursery, with the perfect mother (me?).  Everything including my child would be swathed in cotton candy colored flannel blankets, and that I'd bask in the sunlight while I rocked my darling babe to sleep.  We all know that this was not the case, and my ideas about motherhood and how I would mother got knocked on it's ass.  The fairy tale was over in less than three sleepless weeks, and I was faced with a new dilemma.  How do I get over this?

I guess I could have pushed myself harder, but since the day I was born, I am extremely hard on myself.  I think it comes from being born with a penchant for OCD and the Type A personality chromosome.  From the beginning, any little failure or defeat was met with fear and loathing.  Could I ever do anything right?  Would I ever be able to face those challenges again?  I would obsess over every little mistake, every little slip up, every little defeat.  Even now, when I hit publish on this blog, only to go back and view it and find that I have typos... I berate myself, fix the typos, and pray that no one saw the mix up.  How sick is that?

So instead of pushing myself harder, and over the edge I had to slowly come to some decisions.  Decisions about me, about motherhood, about what I had come to expect out of both.  My conclusion:  I could be happy or I could be crazy.  And when I say crazy, I don't mean that I needed medication.  Unless there is medication for bitchiness.  Which is what I mean by crazy.  

I feel like it's a decision that many of us have to come to.  Like a come to Jesus talk.  We have to have a come to mama talk.  Do I want to be happy or do I want to be crazy?  Do I want to appreciate and acknowledge the mess of my life for what it is, a blessing?  Or would I rather be crazy and obsess about every stain on a shirt, every dish in the sink, every sock without a mate?  I think the decision is pretty clear.

I was talking with another mom a few weeks ago, and she said something that totally struck a chord:
Can I be happy with who I am right now?  Can I be content with my life, as is, right now?
That's a pretty powerful question to ask yourself.  Can you answer that question?  Can we accept our lives the way they are right now, and find comfort in them?  Can we look in the mirror and accept who is looking back at us?  Can we strive to be better, to do more, to be more, but truly not be devastated when it doesn't go the way it was intended?  These are the decisions we must make for ourselves, as mothers or not.

I have been happily making decisions about motherhood, since my "happy vs crazy" revelation.  I have decided to pick my battles.  Some days cookies instead of pancakes is a battle I know I'm not going to win. Some days the laundry gets done, or the dishes, but not both.  Some days my kids are quietly playing, but their rooms and outlying areas are a disaster.  I make the decision to let it go, let them play, let me browse Pinterest a little longer, serve Mac and Cheese for the 3rd consecutive night.  Decisions that may not make me the perfect wife and mother, but make me a happier person all the way around.  

Can we make the decision to be happy with the person we have become in motherhood?  The woman who is no longer a girl.  Who understands that the biggest crisis in the world is not a day without makeup, but a day without Nick Jr.  The woman who feels like her solo trip to Target is comparable to an island vacation.  The woman who prefers yoga pants to heels.  Can we like her?  Can we love her?  Can we accept her?

Possibly our biggest decision when it comes to motherhood is whether we accept what motherhood has made us.  There is always room for improvement, but what if that improvement takes longer than we anticipated?  Should we put happiness on the back burner until the conditions are perfect?

Let's decide that we like her, that woman looking back at you in the mirror.  Let's decide that we accept her, let's decide that we are happy, in the moment, in the here and now.  Maybe the key to having it all is realizing that "all" is a relative term.  Your all and my all are totally different.  And that's ok.  In fact its just perfect.

I've decided to be happy.  I've decided to pick my battles.  I've decided to accept that woman looking back at me in the mirror.  I've also decided that I do want it all, but just not at the same time.  Because it's the only way I can enjoy it all.

12 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this. I was just putting myself through the firing squad because I didn't do the dishes last night. Then your post made me think what I did do last night. Talked with a friend, cooked supper, went to bed early, and played candy crush with my husband. The dishes were not that important and they can wait.

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  2. I love this. I've found myself a lot more relaxed and easygoing since Everly was born. Almost immediately I realized I just couldn't do everything and I had to be okay with that.

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  3. No kidding!!! The honeymoon was over fir me when my baby was born. Sometimes, I think I labored so long because I was so scared of taking a real baby home (26h). It makes you wonder why people have 2 and then you find that path, that comfort zone. Fantastic post!

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  4. No kidding!!! The honeymoon was over fir me when my baby was born. Sometimes, I think I labored so long because I was so scared of taking a real baby home (26h). It makes you wonder why people have 2 and then you find that path, that comfort zone. Fantastic post!

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    1. And im rereading thinking damn! I misspelled something!! :-)

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  5. It's true...I was scared to death to parent...I knew how selfish I am and the thought of something clinging to me and NEEDING me for everything was more than I thought I could handle. Now, with my kids 17 and 11, I still wonder how I made it through these last 17 years...and they are alive, and no one has called CPS and they are healthy, thriving wonderful individuals who love me and love Jesus...motherhood is truly a miracle.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts...you have an awesome way with words that captures truth and humor and encouragement and I love you for it!

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  6. Funny, you really do become a different person looking back in the mirror. Wonderful post, I'm glad you chose happy :)

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  7. I love this!!
    My little gal is almost 15 weeks and it has been HARD! At first, it was hard learning that my body might not go back to what it was before. Learning to fall in love with my new hips, and stretch marks. The past few weeks it's been learning that I would rather go out in public with my hair a wreck and no makeup - because that means I don't have to disappear to get ready for an hour. Decisions, decisions.
    Amazing how much our perspective about our life can change with a slobber monster in the mix.

    xoxo

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  8. This is absolutely perfect. I love how you said Your all and my all are different. So true. I go through spurts where I feel the regret of my house not looking as beautiful and perfect as my sisters. or I don't have pinterest made chore charts. And then i relax and embrace what I am and how much I am physcially and mentally capable of...and just let the kids have fun for a minute without me worrying over the mess of life... now i look at myself in my fingerprinted mirror in my bedroom covered with clothes (mine) and toys (theirs) and i somehow make myself like it, because its me. And I have to be the best me that I can, for the sake of them...
    (sorry for writing a blog post on your blog) ;)

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  9. I so needed to hear this tonight! I just posted this week about being an unconventional family, and learning how to accept that my family will never be one that eats at the table, without the tv on, eating all our vegetables from a homecooked meal that Momma happily prepared. That's just not us, and I am trying to learn how to be ok with it. I'm glad I am not the only one out there!

    Sending you sunshine,
    RACHAEL

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