Although being a mom is still my favorite "job," I've found that it isn't as easy as I thought it would be. I always imagined being a stay-at-home mom, but life seems to have other plans for me and I've had to figure out how to be the best mom I can be when it's not just as I pictured it. Life is only getting more complicated as I'm now expecting my second child.
My mom struggles
As I mentioned, I never envisioned being a working mom, but that is what my life is calling for right now. One of the hardest parts of being a working mom, is giving Benson the attention he needs and deserves. I am lucky enough to be able to work from home so I still get to see him throughout the day, but for the most part, my work calls for me to be at my desk eight hours a day. I feel bad that Benson misses out on a lot of fun things that most kids his age are getting to do.
One of the hardest things for us to participate in are play dates. I've had mom friends who weren't willing to work with my schedule and so we missed out on him getting to play with other kids. Luckily, I've met some new fun ladies who are always willing to find a time that works with my schedule. While we don't get to be involved in every play date it's nice to know that when I really need some time with adults and Benson needs to hang with some kids we can turn to those friends.
I worry a lot, just like all moms, that Benson isn't progressing as he should because of my work. We don't have a lot of time each day to read books and teach him how to say new words. I started to really worry about Benson when we were hanging out with another friend whose daughter is just a week older than Benson and she seemed to be able to say so many more words than Benson could. For a first-time mom this really freaked me out. Was I not giving my son enough "learning" time? I had to take a step back and realize that kids progress at their own pace and little by little Benson's grunts turn into real words and this is just his pace.
Finally, one of the biggest struggles I deal with, especially while being pregnant, is finding time to do everything that a "good" wife and mother should be doing. I constantly feel like a failure because my house is a mess, I rarely cook dinner for my husband and by the end of my work day I don't have the energy to play with my toddler (not to mention our puppy!)
I am a hot mess when I'm pregnant and the first trimester seemed to drag on for me. One day Jason came home from work and found the disaster that had occurred while I slept on the couch. While I was sleeping, Benson found styrofoam and pulled it apart and it was all over the floor, the couch and stuck in my hair. I hadn't even bothered to clean it all up before Jason got home. I feel like it's the perfect explanation of what my days look like.
How I survive it all
While I can never seem to stay on top of all of the things I should and I struggle with these insecurities and issues on a daily basis I've found that there are some things I can control and that I have to do in order to have any amount of order in our home.
Number one has to be sleep training. I am the biggest believer in getting babies to sleep on a regular schedule as soon as possible. I know that if Benson hadn't been on such a good sleep schedule that I could not have returned to working. I am so dependent on him waking up at 9 a.m. and going down for a nap at 12 p.m. It's such a blessing knowing that 9.8 days out of 10 he's going to follow that schedule. We have the occasional day where things get thrown off (thanks teething) but those are few and far between.
Since January I've been (so) blessed to be able to have some help during the day. I was able to get a babysitter to come in for the three hours Benson is up and she watches him, feeds him breakfast and lunch and gives him attention when I can't. It's been absolutely amazing, but I was so hesitant to accept help at first. I really thought I could do it all and that I needed to do it all, but I've found that I can't and I don't. It's absolutely OK to ask for help or even just accept help when you're struggling. I'm not a bad mom because I can't devote 100% of my time to Benson. I'm just a lady with a lot on her plate.
My husband has also been a big help in helping me overcome all the struggles that I face as a mother. Jason has always been an involved dad and I'm so lucky that he wants to be involved in diaper changes and feedings, but that's not even the best thing he's done for me. I grew up in a traditional home where my mom stayed home and cooked and cleaned and that's all I ever wanted. My dad was a great provider and always pitched in with house chores, but we all knew that it was either the kids' or mom's responsibility to care for the home. When I realized I couldn't have a perfect home with home cooked meals while I was working Jason helped me break down my own expectations. He's never expected those things of me, although when he comes home to dinner on the table he never complains. Realizing that I'm not all on my own when it comes to house work and cooking takes a huge load off of my shoulders.
My favorite things about being a mom to one (and a half)
As I'm sure all moms will tell you, this motherhood gig is hard, but it definitely has it's rewards.
The best parts of my days are the little moments when Benson does something absolutely adorable--even when it's just trying to kiss our dog on the mouth. It's those small little moments I get to spend with him after I get off work, just the two of us, that make all those struggles worth it. I absolutely love seeing him learn new things. He is so interested in anything I'm doing and wants to try it out. Even as I was prepping this post he wanted to look at pictures with me and tried to type on the keyboard (I'm going to go ahead and blame him for any typos you might find!) His curiosity is endless and I love watching him grow up, although I hate that he has to grow up. (Bring my baby back!!) I can't wait to enjoy those same moments with his sister when she makes her way into the world.
I also am so thankful that I get to spend one-on-one time with Jason. Benson's cat naps in the evenings are the perfect time for both of us to unwind from the work day and either watch TV or talk about what's going on in our daily lives.
I wouldn't trade in these experiences for anything. I love being a mom to my little boy and can't wait to see what it's like to be a mom of two.
Luckily I've had the pleasure of connecting with other moms through blogging and can get a little sneak peak into what it looks like to have more than one child. Shann, of Shann Eva's Blog, is a mom to three little boys (including twins, which is just amazing!) and Lauren Jane, of Bellows in the Berkshires, is a mom of six (aka a rockstar). I've teamed up with these ladies so that you can see what it's like for moms in different stages. Please go check out their posts and let me know where you fall on the mom spectrum!
What do you struggle with as a mom? Are you like me, with just one baby, or are you more like Shann or Lauren Jane?