I am enough.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

These were taken on December 17th after waking up from a nap.

Sometimes I forget that I used to talk and write and think about things other than my child. I feel consumed with all of the feelings and experiences that I'm having as a mother and I make no apologies for this. This is the most wonderful thing I've done, my favorite thing I've experienced. I think about Evie, and talk about Evie, and most of my life revolves around her. This is where my head is and I try to embrace it. Parenting has forced me out of my comfort zone. It has taught me love, patience, bravery, and strength on a level I've never known before. Lately, I have a hard time giving myself credit for what I do manage to accomplish and learning to let go of the unreasonable expectations I set for myself. Sometimes I forget that my mom didn't write me monthly letters or save everything down to the first diaper I pooped in or take a picture of me every day, and I survived. I know it's good for me to dream and strive for more, but at the same time it is exhausting. Parenting is exhausting. To the childless person, it's pretty straightforward - you feed them, you bathe them, you pick them up when they cry, but it's more than that. I see all these woman around me with spotless homes, monthly meal plans, time on their hands to exercise and scrapbook and blog and pin and tweet and facebook - and it's just. . . overwhelming. I read an article recently that hit the nail on the head, "It's like trying to knit on a roller coaster." It feels like parenting has me perpetually moving, while I'm also trying to manage all the above and beyond projects. I have so many things I want to give, and make, and do for my kids, especially around the holidays. Some I manage, like getting the Christmas tree put up (which took four days, by the way), and others bring regret and disappointment in myself, like sewing a keepsake tree skirt to put Evie's handprints on each year or sending out Christmas cards. These are things that should be fun projects to accomplish if I have time and want to, but instead have become a list of reasons why I am a failure. I am not the best. I am not the greatest. I am not perfect. I am not superwoman, but I am trying and that should be enough. I am enough.

I think a lot of these words are stemming from the funk that I've been in lately. It's no secret that I love being a mom. This entire blog is dedicated to that, but lately I've had a desire for more that I just can't shake. I find myself wondering where the Andrea of a few years ago is? What happened to the Andrea that was determined to accomplish her dreams, husband and kids in tow? I know she's still in there. I get little glimpses of her every now and then. . . but between the dishes and the laundry and the bills and the screaming baby at my feet by day, restless baby by night, I have to work really hard to bring her to the surface again. I guess the point is that I don't get a lot of time to myself these days. I feel like I'm constantly being pulled in four different directions. There are so few hours left for me to put towards those passions that don't involve my family. Sometimes I cope really well with this reality and sometimes, lately I feel trapped. This has been a really hard thing for me to admit because I know that by some people, it will be seen as weakness. I know that a lot of women think that by admitting these things that they are failing at being a mother and wife and I'm trying my best to cast those thoughts aside. Every one expects mothers to have this, "Mothering is a privilege, not a duty" mentality, and I'm supposed to act like my life is full of rainbows and and my child poops glitter because I don't have to get up and go to work every morning. When in reality, a lot of my days are 80% being screamed at and trying to figure out what is wrong with my child, why she is so angry, won't sleep, or won't eat and 20% trying to accomplish everything else on my list and get a few minutes to myself to regain my sanity. Then I'm met with, "What did you guys do all day?" and I just want to throw my hands up in the air and sign on the dotted line for day care and a minimum wage job. 

I'm not saying that it isn't incredible, because it is. It is really, truly, incredibly wonderful, but it is also really, truly, incredibly hard. Being a parent is the hardest thing I've ever done. You never get to punch out, go home, or take a lunch break. Your kid is always needing you, wanting you, sucking the life out of you. . . wait, did I say that out loud? But for me, I think the hardest part of parenting is that it highlights my flaws. There has never been a time in my life before now that has shown me just how selfish I used to be and still can be. I can be impatient and unkind and unfair and uncaring. Those are hard emotions to deal with on top of the responsibilities of parenting - and staying at home, being with Evie all day and night, intensifies that. We're always together. I love that, but sometimes, well, I feel claustrophobic. When it's been a full day of messes and fits and refusing to eat and whining, my skin starts to crawl and I just want to tell her, "I can't meet all your wants and needs all the time. Stop touching me." Am I alone in this? Sometimes I lose my patience and let regretful words escape my mouth, like 'shut up.' I know that she can't understand those words yet, but that makes them all the more regretful. She is innocent and loving and forgiving, and for that I'm thankful. After I've lost my temper and grumbled at her or spoken harshly with her, I lean down and whisper a little 'I'm sorry.' When it's been a long day full of 'no's' and 'don't do that's' and 'stop that's,' I hold her extra tight at night, run my fingers through my hair, and confess all my frustrations to her. I am so grateful for new days and fresh starts. They remind me that I can't fix everything, but I don't have to. As much as I would like to be, I can not be perfect.

I try to be extremely aware of the finite amount of time that my children will be with me, and that always stops me in my tracks. When I've had a rough day and want to throw in the towel, I remind myself that someday there will be friends and hobbies and college and a partner and children in Ev's future that will all need their share of attention. She needs so much from me right now, but someday I'll find myself with an empty house and time to spare. Until then, I'm trying to stay grounded and give this mothering thing everything I've got. I'm trying to soak up this time that I'm the center of her world. When this phase of my life passes and she's no longer a part of my every day life, I can call upon this determined woman kept waiting in the shadows, the artist I am, and the person I haven't yet become to accomplish what has lied in waiting for me while I was consumed with being a mother. It is such a strange thing to grow up, to feel like you are every bit of an adult with responsibilities and no free time, but so much of you still feels like a seventeen year old, holding onto the magical feeling that anything is possible and a desire to conquer the world. Sometimes it feels like reality contradicts all of my thoughts and desires, but I'm trying to live each phase of my life in the way that feels right to me, in a way that does justice to who I was, who I am, and who I will be.


  1. goodness me you have a way with words. You hit the nail on the head with everything you said, from the emotion of having this little person who is the most precious thing in your life and is your life, to not knowing who you are any more without them. Yep, been through that stage and happy to say came out the other side. I now get a bit upset when my girls wonder off together to play in their rooms without me. Crazy ride this parenting gig!

  2. It has taken me a while to write back but I just wanted to look through your blog and your journey and learn more. I absolutely love how you write with such raw emotion, I LOVE your honesty, you tell things as they are. It is so refreshing to hear such honesty which I think so many of us wish we could say as well as you have. Your photos of your little one are incredible. And you have documented your lives as parents with reflections of your past so beautifully. Thank you for writing so free and beautifully.



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