the beauty of motherhood & what I've learned so far

Even though I've been a Mom for nearly 3.5 years, I'm certainly not an expert but I think the beauty of motherhood is that you learn as you go. Every day is a new opportunity for growth and thankfully, there is grace for it all. Motherhood is life's greatest learning curve. Some days it feels like motherhood comes so naturally for me, maybe because I know I was always meant to be one; I found my purpose in life when Olivia was born and I became a Mama. For the first time in my life, as I held her in my arms, I felt fully and completely alive and understood so clearly why I had been created. Other days as a Stay at Home Mom I feel like a hot mess and just want to hide in the bathroom eating peanut butter cups until Dustin comes home from work and rescues me ;) Ever been there?!

As we prepare for our third baby girl in just 3 short months, I have been reflecting on the past 3 years and how I've grown, changed, what I've learned, what I've let go of and the beauty of it all. I thought I'd share a few things I've learned for those of you reading -- no matter the season of motherhood you are in, and even if you aren't a Mom yet but hope to one day be one.

|| one || 
Every day is a little different. 

I am a creature of habit and I thrive on routine. I see this in Olivia as well, she is happiest and most well-behaved when we are in a solid routine. This may seem obvious, but I still catch myself forgetting that every day is going to be a little different than the day before as a Stay at Home Mom. Some mornings the girls sleep in late (and I do too, seriously sleeping in is one of life's greatest pleasures), and some mornings they are up before the sun (and I'm thinking about what time I can go to bed before the day even starts). Some days we stay home all day, I cook delicious meals, offer healthy snacks and get a lot of quality time with both of them. Others are spent running around, eating on the go and racing home by nap time to get them down. Some nights they are in bed earlier (way earlier) than usual and some nights they are up much later. Some days are smooth, where everything just goes according to plan and it feels so easy I start thinking to myself I could have 10 babies. Others? Lots of tears and meltdowns, myself included. I often find myself expecting each day to be the way yesterday was or the day before that, and that tends to set me up for disappointment or frustration. When I go to bed I try to remind myself that tomorrow will be different than today, maybe in just a few small ways or maybe in every possible way, but knowing that & starting my day with that in mind has helped me a lot. And that's also what makes each day exciting, fresh and new. New joys, new possibilities, new experiences & new memories.

|| two || 
You will miss them when they sleep. No matter how good or bad of a day you had.

The other night I was sitting on the couch and Dustin asked what I was doing, of course I explained I was scrolling through my camera roll looking at pictures of the girls I had taken throughout the day. He just laughed. I said, "No really, every Mom does this. There is even a hashtag on instagram for photos posted from late night camera roll scrolls." Motherhood is this beautiful dichotomy where you have moments all day long of aching for bedtime so you can finally step away and get a break, take a deep breath with no one around you, at your feet or asking for a snack for the 1839 time that day. But the moment you pull the door closed behind you, part of you wants to run back in and give them one more kiss, one more hug or just 5 more minutes of snuggling.

Perhaps its because as Moms we watch firsthand how quickly they grow up, how time slips out of our hands in the blink of an eye and before we know it we have years of motherhood under our belt and the first days and weeks of being a Mom feel like a lifetime ago. Or perhaps its because even as exhausted as we are during the day, even as much as we long for a break, we love them more than life itself and want to soak up every chance we can to be present with them, just taking in their every feature, every word and every movement, basking in their beauty -- in awe over the fact that they are ours. Perhaps its because those little people that nearly push us to the brink of insanity are also the ones that give our lives the most meaning, purpose and joy. That make us who we are and shape us to become the best possible version of ourselves. Perhaps its a mix of all of the above. Either way, I guarantee you will miss them when they are sleeping, sometimes even so much so that you can't sleep yourself.

|| three ||
Getting out of the house is always good for the soul. Even when it feels like more work than its worth.

Some days, especially early in my 3rd pregnancy this past summer, the last thing I felt like doing was leaving the house. Or doing anything for that matter. We were in the middle of a major kitchen renovation (aka living in a dusty construction zone, not exactly ideal for anyone pregnant, organized + totally Type A), I was taking care of both girls all day long and most nights + weekends on my own (while Dustin worked on the reno) and had nausea that seemed to last 24/7; the summer heat + humidity certainly didn't make those long days any easier. In fact, I don't think I have ever been more exhausted in my life. It was a long, hot, hard summer, to put it lightly. BUT we soon got through it. Summer ended, we finished our renovation, I could start enjoying my dream kitchen and before I knew it my second trimester arrived and I felt like a whole new person. I finally had energy to get out of the house and take the girls on special errands, little day trips and out for fresh air when we needed it most.

All this to say, when that new season of life started in August and we approached Fall, I was way way happier than I was during the summer. Just getting out of the house, packing the girls up and doing something out of the ordinary did wonders for all of us. Maybe it's a walk at a local park or nature reserve instead of just around your neighborhood, maybe it's a half-day trip to the zoo or children's museum that you can conquer solo, maybe it's a picnic at the park or grocery shopping + errands you turn into a treasure hunt with little treats or stickers along the way. Maybe it's having a long slow breakfast in the backyard to breath in fresh morning air, going to the bookstore to browse and read new books or heck, maybe it's going to the carwash down the street for 10 minutes so your kids can oooh and aaah over all the soap colors while you close your eyes and pretend you're on a tropical island on vacation. Not like I'm speaking from experience or anything.... ;)
Ultimately, I find that the days I get the girls out of the house doing more than just preschool pick up and drop off, we are all happier. Even when I may not "feel" like it, I just do it anyway and notice it makes a huge difference.

|| four ||
It's so important to take time for yourself as a Mom without feeling guilty

Dustin and I try to go on dates a few times each month (seriously, date nights have been instrumental in us staying so connected and growing even closer as our family has grown instead of growing apart) and we also make it a priority to schedule time for ourselves (by ourselves) regularly. We are so grateful to have my family so close by to sit anytime, and the help they constantly offer us is unsurpassed. When I do things for myself (run errands alone, plan a Saturday morning coffee date with a girlfriend, get a pedicure, etc) it feels so good to be "off the clock" for those few hours I'm away and just be Megan instead of operating in "Mom Mode," which let's be honest, I tend to be in 24/7. 

When I initially plan things, I notice sometimes I find myself feeling guilty, even though I totally know I need those times away. What is it about motherhood that makes us Moms feel guilty when we take time for ourselves or put ourselves first? Somewhere along the lines we must have been told or taught that once we become Moms that's all we are. But that couldn't be further from the truth. 

Even though being a Mom is one of the greatest parts of my life and a calling I truly believe I born to fulfill, I am still so much more than that and it's so important not to totally lose who we are when we have children. To regularly take that time for ourselves to nourish our mind, body, spirit and soul in the ways we did before we had children and in new ways too. To do the things we enjoyed doing when we had all that time to do them. To spend time with people that build us up and to spend time away from our children so that when we are with them again, we are even better Moms than we were before. I am continually learning that the more I fill my own cup (take care of myself and find opportunities to put myself first or do the things I truly enjoy that fill my soul and give me life), the more I have to pour into my children. The better I feel, the better care I give to them. And I can absolutely do that without feeling guilty!! Because when I invest in myself, I am also investing in my little girls.

|| five ||

Being in community makes a world of difference. 

I have really found I am the happiest and the best mom when I have regular opportunities to connect with other Moms in similar seasons of life. I am so thankful to be a part of a few different mom groups that are held weekly or every other week, as well as a leader alongside Dustin in a marriage small group through our church, with a lot of other couples in similar life seasons with children close in age to our own. 

Connecting with other moms who have kids the same age as mine or just slightly older (and have been through whatever it is I am going through) has been one of the best things I've done for myself over the past three years. Whether it's a bible study through your church, MOPS (an International organization held in communities all around the country), a small group you meet with regularly in your neighborhood, or something totally different, it's amazing what a difference having those friendships and building those connections makes. It feels so good knowing I have so many women I can depend on -- women that understand the challenges that come with being a Mom, raising kids, staying at home, being pregnant, etc. and can not only walk alongside me through it, but also help me as I reach new seasons with my daughters...sharing recommendations for preschools, how to handle the transition from 2 to 3, kid-friendly indoor activities during winter, favorite pediatric dentists, etc. Yes!! These (and more) are all topics I've sought insight and wisdom on from all the Moms who I have met in these groups over the past several years. And to be totally honest, sometimes getting myself and both girls out of the house in the morning when I'm tired does not sound appealing at all, but every time I make the choice to show up, I am so blessed by the relationships that God has put in my life with these other Moms. I walk away feeling so fulfilled, joyful and encouraged, knowing whatever I'm facing, I'm not alone. I have women that encourage me through the challenges and celebrate in the victories with me, who pray for me and our 3 girls, and who just totally and completely get it.

What have you learned through motherhood? Has anything stood out to you that you'd love to share with other Moms? I'd love to hear from you below! Hope you're having a wonderful week!

1 comment:

  1. These are all such beautiful lessons! Being a mom truly teaches us so much!


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