It was a Thursday morning when everything just hit the fan. You know – the day in which all the plates you piled up finally fall and break. All the plates that I stacked up for the last few days, weeks, months, years – they finally fell down. And there I was, crying in the middle of the floor with my almost one year old crying with me. So, I called my friend, Christie, to come over, because I felt like I was having a nervous breakdown and was going to die (don’t you just love the way anxiety makes you feel?), and my one year old would be all alone.
Christie came over, gave me a hug, and said, “We have to talk about those ‘plates’ you have been piling up, and why.” So, we did.
Plate #1: The House and Kids
Is it just me or is every mom feeling like a failure every week? The house is never clean enough, and no matter how hard you try with the kids, something goes wrong. Whether it is giving the wrong colored sippy cup to my one year old, not having a certain shirt washed for school, making a dinner that no one wanted, etc. — all the effort to make everyone’s day easier seems to go down the drain by the end of the day. Is this just an expectation of mothers and women in general? Since becoming a mom, I have grown more appreciative and more apt to show appreciation to others, because I have a deeper understanding of what is involved when you are a mom. The duties of the mom that seem to go unnoticed or unappreciated by all. Yet, maybe one day, my kids will realize all the effort I put into trying to make their day a little easier. The cleaning of the home, the preparing of the meals, the driving here and there and everywhere, etc. I do it with love, and I wouldn’t want to have it any other way, but I really would like a “thank you” or “good job!” every once in a while. Is that too much to ask?
Plate #2: My Work
I do not even know where to begin with the issue of work. If you were to talk to me “BC” (as in, before children), I would have told you how I was going to be a working mom. Well, I ate my words, and I turned in my two-week notice during my maternity leave to stay at home with my son. However, I still wanted to have my own money, in addition to helping our family financially. Therefore, I turned to freelancing. I thought, “This will be perfect! I can work from home, be with my son, take my daughters to and from school, etc. This will be the best of all worlds!” Oh my gosh…I quickly found out that working from home was not all rainbows and sunshine like I originally thought.
While the picture in my head was beautiful and stress-free, the reality is that while I am trying – keyword here is TRYING – to work during the day, most of the time I cannot work until later in the evening. As a result, there are some days I am working until about 3am, and since Easton doesn’t care that I was up all night, I am back up with him at 7am. Plus, I need to take the girls to school, doctor/ortho appointments, after-school activities, do housework — the list goes on and on. And so, I am trying to fit work in every single moment I am not doing something else, which basically leaves no time for sleep, exercise, etc. But, I am not giving up. I will figure out a schedule that works – even if the 20 schedules I have tried so far have not. I will be like Thomas the Train – I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.
Plate #3: The “Step-Mom” Side
To all of you who have been able to remain friendly with your exes or have been able to form a bond with your husband’s ex-wife to help make it easier on the children – I salute you. I salute you BIG time. I have tried so hard to make it work to keep the girls from being in the middle. However, as much as I try, it seems to make things worse. My words are twisted and used against me. Instead of making it easier for the girls, it has caused more drama. And it absolutely breaks my heart. I do not care what is said about me. (Okay – I lied. I do care a little when it is untrue. I do have feelings.) But, really, it just comes down to the girls. I want them to be okay. I want them to see that they have two families that love them. I want them to learn how relationships can be healthy – both together and apart. However, they are being put in the middle of adult problems – and it absolutely stinks!
As much as my husband and I try to keep them out of it, you cannot control another person’s actions. But, how do you defend yourself while also trying not to “talk badly” about the other? How do you try to keep things as civil as possible to keep the girls out of the crossfire? Oh, how I wish we could all get along. It is hard. I cry A LOT being a stepmom. Now that I am a mom, I believe being a stepmom is harder than me being a “full” mom to Easton. Because, there are lots of eggshells you have to walk on, and it can be difficult to figure out the right path. But, as I do each day, I am going to keep on trying until I get it right – because the girls deserve it. And I want to be there for them.
Plate #4: Why Can’t I Be a “Facebook” Mom?
On Facebook there are many mothers working full-time jobs – both inside and outside the home. They are cooking dinners from scratch. Their children are running around with smiles on their faces, and the mothers are smiling right there with them. They are taking pictures with their husband’s ex-wives, and making it work for the sake of the kids. These are the same moms that are also fitting in time to take their children to after school activities and basketball tournaments. Yes, they may be in yoga pants and a top, but they still look cute and put together.
Then, there I am. Before I discovered LLR (LuLaRoe – it is an addiction. I tried giving it up for Lent, and I lasted one day. You have been warned.), I was in a pair of comfy black pants, a ratty t-shirt, my curly, unmanageable hair up in a bun, and my make-up was non-existent. Yes, that was my look, every day, seven days a week. And these moms and I are not really different – we have kids, we work, we do all the “mom” duties. Yet, they have got it together (at least seem to on Facebook), and I do not. But, in the words of my wise friend, Christie, “We all have struggles as moms. Some are just better at hiding them than others.”