I read a blog post the other day that has kept me thinking.
Lately (as in the past 3 years) I've felt less like a good mother and more like I'm barely a hint of adequate. Of course, in those three years I became pregnant and had a beautiful boy. Who's now 20 months and testing my patience daily. And the big boy was diagnosed with PDD-NOS, with a hefty side of Sensory Processing Disorder, which the current neurological pediatrician says is inaccurate and he's probably not on the Autism Spectrum. And then the baby had a severe hearing loss, for which he wore hearing aids and we started learning ASL and then all of a sudden it resolved itself and now his hearing is nearly perfect. And then the big boy needed more feeding therapy and occupational therapy. And I took on a new doula career. And my sister lived with us for awhile while she was pregnant and had her baby boy. And then I became so lost within myself that it took my husband, exceptional friends, and my psychiatrist to yank me out of my suicidal depression. And on and on.
So it's no wonder that as I near the one year anniversary of losing myself that I'm faced with feelings of guilt and anxiety, and I worry constantly that I'm not doing enough for my boys. I found Pinterest, and blogs, and instagram, and I've wasted so much time looking at glimpses of other people's lives that somewhere along the way I've forgotten what makes me, me. I used to enjoy sewing. I used to love painting, journaling, doodling, hand sewing, cross stitching, embroidering, and quilting. Now that I've made a habit of looking at pictures of other people's lives, I find myself constantly comparing my work to theirs. And beating myself up about it. "Theirs is so much prettier/less-wonky/nicer/better/etc."
My kids didn't get a rainbow themed birthday party with a coordinating dessert table and sparkly unicorn rides. Oh my god! I'm a bad mother, they're not going to Harvard!
I didn't cook a three course gluten free vegetarian meal plus dessert 29 days out of the past month. (With the remaining meals from a organic vegan restaurant specializing in locally-sourced, seasonal food.) Oh my god, my kids are starving and my husband is going to get a mistress.
I didn't sew coordinating quilts and pillows out of reclaimed vintage kimonos and saris for both my boys' beds, wallpaper the walls in this years Pantone color of the year, and hand paint a chandelier of upcycled pop cans and antique wooden toys. Oh my god, I'm officially out of the running for mother of the year. (Forget mother of the decade, I lost that a long time ago.)
I'm rambling...I had a point to this, I swear!
Oh yeah. I've missed all of my hobbies. I like sewing and painting and quilting and all of my old me things. I desperately want to do them again. There's a reason I have a degree in Art...no, not for a career, don't be daft!
I need to step back from the Internet! I know, what a novel idea, right? Is that even possible? I've become so hooked: like a drug addict, I need my daily, hourly fix. But now I need to detox. My sanity demands it. So does my family--my sweet little boys who really just want the mama they have, even if I don't win the mother of the year* award.
But with a funky little man who has limited his diet to about 15 items (not one of them is a fresh fruit or vegetable, by the way) and has resorted to constant tantrums to express his frustration over whatever his little body can't handle (honestly at this point I really don't know exactly what the deal is, and I'm really just like a football referee whenever a tantrum hits--just trying to keep him and anyone around him from being hurt.) And then there's the toddler, who has been getting into EVERYTHING! and climbing on EVERYTHING! and destroying every effort I've made to tidy the house. Sometimes I feel like I'm in a holding pattern--just trying to survive until...I don't know what? College maybe?
So in order to feel a little more like my (old) self, I've proposed to make a daily effort to do one nice thing for myself. Even if that one nice thing is as simple as taking a bath with no one else in the bathroom (or tub!) with me. I'm going to attempt to wear makeup (mostly) daily, put on my favorite perfume, be outside more, and go to the gym more often. I've also started planning out each day the night before--so that when the boys wake me up in the morning I can hit the ground running. Maybe this way I'll get back in the running for mother of the year.**
*Yes, I'm aware that there's no such thing as mother of the year. Duh.
**But wouldn't that be nice?