Guest Post: How to Live Life as a Mom
Today, we share a guest post written by Brynn Doctor. She’s the author of the blog, Momslaught. Articulate would be an understatement. She is smart, funny, and one heck of a mom. With her article, How to live life as a mom, she helps us all remember our voice, and the power behind it. This mom will go to bat for her family and educate any opposers at the same time. Please enjoy, I know I did.
When I was asked to write a blog about how to live life to the fullest as a mom, I thought “I have no idea how to live life to the fullest as a mom!”
Seriously. My life is a hot mess.
I have 3 boys – ages 9, 6 and 2 – to whom I am either mom or stepmom. Law school is full time while I finish up the final year of my degree. Moreover, I also work full time at a law firm. And my husband, who has been mostly a stay at home dad for the past year, is potentially gearing up for another phase in his career. Now, before you start thinking it sounds like I have it all together, lets examine some facts:
With life as a mom, I have so many not good moments. Our toddler is, well, two. Need I say more? I am gone from him 9 hours a day at the moment, and even when I am home I am far too often distracted. He watches too much TV. I don’t take him to parks very often (though we have a great back yard that he loves to run around in). He misses me so much that he doesn’t want to go to sleep at night because he wants more me time.
Even knowing this, some nights I just can’t deal with him clawing at me or begging me for attention even one minute longer, and disappear while I get my husband to take over the tedious task of trying to get him to sleep. I let him have marshmallows for snack because I don’t want to fight over eating an apple instead. He speaks about 10 words at the moment, and one of them is “pizza”. I struggle daily with knowing I would not be happy staying home full time, and yet feeling guilty for all that I am missing.
As a stepmom I am no better.
I am continually working to build my relationship with our boys in a way that doesn’t threaten their mom and allows them the freedom to love me in their way and in their time. But sometimes I pull back too much for fear of overstepping, and I leave them feeling disconnected. As much as I am absent for our youngest, I am doubly absent for our older two since we only have them half the time. I hold strong opinions and ideas about parenting, and react strongly when I disagree with how the other house is parenting without stopping to consider how it puts my husband in the middle. Or how their mom must feel about our parenting. I spend far too much time talking about the negative and far too little time building up the positive.
Then, there are other aspects of life.
As a student I struggle to pay my school work the attention it deserves. I often skimp on readings and, in turn, I don’t get all that I could out of my classes. Furthermore, I am easily disillusioned by those who think differently about the law than I do. Wracking up huge amounts of debt to get my degree, I know it is debt that will have to be paid for years for to come.
As an employee, I spend most of my time worrying about the future: about if I will get an articling position, and if it will pay the bills, and if I’ll be competent, and if I’ll be able to practice the law the way I believe it should be practiced. I worry about if I will find success, and how I will find success. I stress about what it will cost my children in terms of my time and attention. And what it will cost my husband, who has given so much to help me achieve this dream.
As a wife, I am often too self focused to give my husband the attention he deserves. I always talk about how my relationship with him comes first, but in reality, he is often the one who gets put on the back burner. I’m slow to praise him for all he does for our family, but quick to point out when I think something is wrong. Additionally, I am not present for him the way I should be.
As a human… I’m trying. And failing. Then trying again.
And there it is. There is the answer I thought I didn’t have.
How do I live life as a mom?
I try. Then, I keep trying. And I never stop trying.
The truth of parenting is that we all fail at it, and we fail at it often. As I joke with my own mother, my goal is to not make the same mistakes my parents made: I have so many new ways to screw my kids up! And it’s true. I will screw up, and I do screw up. Mistakes with my kids, my husband, my boss, my coworkers… I will make a ton of small mistakes and a few really big ones. And my kids will watch me, and they will see me fail.
But they will also see me get back up. They will see me admit my mistakes and watch me learn from them. They will hear me acknowledge my shortcomings, and ask for forgiveness. And hopefully, they will learn how to fail too. Because it’s in the failing that we grow.
As a mom, wife, stepmom, student and employee, I have learned that the only way I will ever succeed is to be gracious with others and with myself in our mutual failing, and to acknowledge my inability to do any of it alone.
The good news is: we are covered by grace, and we are never alone.
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