I thought if I wanted something better it meant I wasn’t grateful for what I have.
Has anyone else struggled to move forward because you thought it meant you weren’t living in the present?
I feel that way at least once a day.
I thought if I daydreamed about when my little boys were in kindergarten it meant I didn’t appreciate them for the sweet babies they are now. And I thought if I questioned whether I wanted more children because of what it meant for my future, my dreams and my career it meant I was squandering the gift of being able to create life.
Wishing for More
Though I still suffer guilt around it I’m starting to realize that wishing for more doesn’t mean I love what I have any less. Wanting to make my marriage better doesn’t mean that it’s bad now. Looking forward to the next phase my children enter doesn’t mean I can’t find joy in our current relationship. And that if God forbid I’m just genuinely unhappy with the current season it doesn’t mean I’m going to get struck by lightning for taking for granted the things that I have.
What is bringing me true joy and relief is doing my best to live in concurrent states. I can be a great mom and also carve out pieces of time for myself. And sometimes that piece is just five stolen minutes of quiet, but sometimes that piece is an entire day. There may be times in the future, however near or far, that “me time” takes up weeks, but that’s okay. Wishing for more does not damn your present.
Acknowledge Discomfort and Fix It
Misery or discomfort isn’t something we must ride until it’s over.
Those feelings are signals that something needs to change.
Maybe the thing you need to change is how you ask your partner for help. Maybe the thing you need to change is just your perspective. If you’re dreaming of a day when your kids are in school full-time maybe there is a problem. But the problem isn’t necessarily that you hate your life as a mom. The problem could simply be that you haven’t grown fully into your role and you’re not giving yourself enough time to indulge in the things that bring you joy.
Perhaps the problem isn’t your children’s age at all, but rather your reaction to their behavior at this age.
For me, the times when I have struggled most as a mom have not been because of what my kids were doing (though it felt that way at the time). Over and over again I’ve found when I am unhappy and stuck it’s a change I can make that will fix it. I have hired a sitter to get out of that rut. I have also simply changed my approach opting to smile at and soothe my children rather than scold and discipline.
Even further down beneath that issue home life unhappiness was the fact that I was not acknowledging my need to achieve outside my family setting. When I had to clean up the living for the 5,000th time or was on a school event hamster wheel I couldn’t get off my agitation would boil over. I wasn’t really angry at the issues themselves or the little people responsible though. I was angry at the feeling that time had been stolen from me.
And maybe you’re living by someone else is standard. It could be your mother, your mother-in-law, or semi deal you’re following on Instagram never able to achieve. It is OK to want more for yourself. It does not mean you’re unhappy, ungrateful, or unworthy. And in many if not all cases wanting more for yourself can spread and make things better for everyone around you.
Serving Yourself Serves the Family
As for me, I know I am a better mom when I am able to do more for myself.
When I go to the gym even if it’s just two times a week for 30 minutes I feel better. When I step away for an hour after dinner to get some writing done I feel better. And when I grab my husband and go on a tiny adventure I feel better.
And when I feel better I show up better for my children.
Pursuing something for yourself is not selfish. In fact it can be the best thing you do for your family all day.