Finding the balance

My daughter is almost two years old, and I never for a second thought that the hardest part of being a mom is balancing being a mom and a working mom.  When deciding to go to back to work, at the initial time, it seemed like an easy decision. My decision to return to work was purely a financial decision in my household. The time of my return,  and coordinating the household with my husband, we knew we wouldn’t be able to maintain our family’s lifestyle if I stayed at home.  Knowing that, becoming a stay-at-home mom wasn’t a thought. I had mentally prepared myself (at least I thought I had) to return to work. I felt strongly that I would go back to work, carry on with my regular job, and motherly duties: pick up my daughter from daycare, go home & make dinner and everyone would be happy; all would be well. At least, that is what I envisioned would happen. A part of me was excited about the time away from my daughter and homelife. I would interact with adults, and engage in adult conversations instead of my days discussing The Wiggles, Peppa Pig & Sesame Street.  

Leading up to and returning to work, I started doubting my decision. The excitement mixed with fear, mixed with anxiety and nervousness became so surreal. Don’t get me wrong, all of these feelings are to be expected. As any new mom would do, and with the realization that there isn’t another option, I put one foot in front of the other and carried on for days, weeks & months. I’ll be honest, some days were easier than others. Finding the right balance was, and still is the most challenging thing I have ever experienced.

IMG_4983   So many moms to be, and new moms often receive an outpour of advice solicited and unsolicited from family, friends and strangers about what you should, or shouldn’t be doing as a parent.  However, I have yet to receive insight about what to expect or what you should know about deciding to return to work. I wish someone would have told me that your exhaustion level goes from 0-100 by 9:00 AM and you still have to find a way to manage the next 8 hours of your work day on top of the next 4-5 hours work you have at home in the evening as a mom. So, when you think you have 1 fulltime job, times that by 2. You’re now working full time, and you are a mother full time. 

I wish I had known that the feeling of failing: failing as a mom, and failing at work was to be expected, and was likely to happen. There are no words to describe what it truly feels like to “fail.”  While I would hug my daughter each morning in the doorway of her daycare, letting her go was incredibly hard. I would take that extra moment to soak up her cuddle, and her smell, before letting her go. She cried, and then I would cry driving myself to work.  This process took months, before it got just a little bit easy. This wasn’t an easy transition for me, and the one advice that WAS given to me, was that this transition is normal, and your child will eventually stop crying.  I kept reminding myself that she will stop crying… eventually.

As mothers, what we struggle with the most is admitting when something is hard. We are wired to take on challenges daily, from getting the right colour cup and spoon each morning for breakfast, lunch, dinner,  while coordinating multiple tasks simultaneously: pretending to be princesses and fairies reading a book to a group of teddies while the floor is lava (yes, this is a real game). We are warriors! We are STRONG! But where we fall short, and what we don’t talk about is how we try to keep the glue stuck, while dividing our self from what we know best, being a mom and our workplace. What some of us are born to do, is to raise our babies. Our constant need to be the “perfect” mom foreshadows our ability to admit when we are struggling. When we admit we are struggling, we are no longer seen as “perfect,” we are now seen as “weak”. Being seen as “weak” now translates to the feeling of “failed”  which is something no mom wants to feel or admit too.

All I wanted to hear  was that this transition in your life will be hard! This process isn’t always an easy one.  The feelings you are feeling are normal. There is no timeline on your feelings. Your feelings will come and go. You will have good days & bad days. You will constantly feel like you can’t do it all. When you can’t, you feel like you have let someone down and that someone is YOU. You have let yourself down, your child down, your husband/partner down,  and that’s a hard pill to swallow.  I wish I was told that the whole “work life balance,” is completely, and utterly, full of crap! Repeat after me, CRAP!! There is no balance. We are all trying to keep ourselves from sinking, and drifting away at sea. What is true is that some moms are just better at hiding it than others.

Lastly, I wish as a working mom there was better support, for us.  Better resources helping moms cope with their decision to go back to work. This decision is not easy. In fact, it is the absolute, most challenging decision you might face. For some mothers, this means weaning from breastfeeding, pumping and/ or bottle feeding routines and implementing new routines and structure. These changes affect not only you , but your little one. This is a difficult time for both you and your little one.  Changes like these cause incredible hormonal changes that affect you physically and mentally (scientifically proven). Gearing up to go back to work is overwhelming, sad, happy, frustrating, exhausting, angry and all feelings in between and the most important thing we need, is patience and support!

From a mother to a mother, I understand you! I commend your strength! A mother who claims they have figured it all out, I am all ears … but until then, I  will continue to send to my fellow moms, support & love during this difficult time ❤️ .

What I don’t say often

Being a mom comes with a whirlwind of emotions, challenges, and a new definition of who are and who you’ve become. You are no longer thinking about your self and your husband, you are constantly thinking about your child. From

the moment your baby is cradled in your arms, your life instantly changes. You naturally adjust the time you once had all to yourself or with your husband, you are now spent caring for and loving the child you both have created. As we go through the motions of waking up several times a night, and operating on far too little of sleep, and finding yourself eating cold dinners, and skipping lunch or eating stale granola bars you find at the bottom of your purse, you still manage to love your child unconditionally and that love you have for your child is so profound. You adapt, and make the best of these moments. You turn these moments into memories. These memories that we will look back one day and congratulate ourselves for making it past what we thought were the best, the worst, and the hardest times of our life.

As we continue to grow and love as a family, our marriage changes. All the attention we found ourselves giving to one another shifts and makes room for our children or in my case our baby girl. We put ourself in the backseat while our daughter rides shotgun. Our attention shifts to her and her needs, and it’s no longer all about us. Our date nights, happy hour and our weekends spent binge watching Netflix have been replaced with copious amounts of laundry, nailing down naps during the day, bedtime routines and mom and tot groups. The place where the topic of our conversations is about our daughters bodily fluids, or the new skill she has learned.

So even though our marriage has changed, ultimately it has changed for the better in many ways. And we are ok with that. We’re good with where we are. We want to be **here**. But being **here** takes a different kind of “being married” than being **there** — without a child. There are so many moments where I get so tired and so distracted, we have limited face time. I don’t always remember to say the things I want, to make sure my husband knows how I feel. I am so preoccupied with being a mother that I forget to be his wife.

There are so many things I think the father of my child needs to hear and deserves to hear.

I am beyond thankful for the partnership we have together in this life that we share together. I love having you alongside me as we raise our daughter together. I am very certain I don’t always say the words “I appreciate you!”because we have such a small window of real conversation time each day.

My husband is not a mind reader. Although I wish he could, he definitely can’t. Nor does he pickup on my passive aggressive hints I put down. I do know he wants to be a fixer. When there is an issue, he wants to fix it. I have to remind myself that I have to communicate in words when I need help, or a break. When I do that, it becomes easier for him to reciprocate the gesture back, so it becomes a win/win.

Not only do I love you but our daughter also loves you and needs you. The role you play in her life is so great and she will thank you her whole life. She is too young to say it now ,and depending on her mood will she show it, but once she calls you “dadda” which then turns to “daddy” you wait. Your heart will fill up.

There is no doubt that my husband sees a lot of the worst parts of me. I can be the most cranky, the most tired, and that’s what happens when your best friend, you’re life partner is with you and around the most. I often forget to say the simple things like “thank you!” Thank you for picking up my socks, making the bed, getting up to get me a drink, even though I could have done it, to name a few. Thank you for being the best dad to our baby girl. Thank you for being my best friend, my partner in crime, my husband. It’s so easy to treat the people you love, the worst.

Lastly, I think you’re totally “hot!” I definitely don’t tell my husband enough how much I am attracted to him. That he’s stunning in so many ways. I have to remember that I was his wife first, and then we became parents. Without being his wife first, I wouldn’t have been a mom. The mother of our beautiful baby girl. I feel like he needs to know that he still knocks my socks off.

However you choose to tell your husband you love him, remember to to acknowledge him both as his wife and as the mother of his child. It’s very hard to forget through the tiredness but it will make him feel good.

To my dearest husband, my best friend, I’m completely crazy about you, I love you, and I think you’re hot!

8 Success Tips for Marriage

From dating, to marriage, no one really prepares us for the next stage in our life. We are given advice from family & friends, we refer to books, and online resources, but not all advice applies to our own relationship. If there is one thing that is true, from books, advice, or online, is that  no marriage is easy or  perfect,  but that’s what makes it real.

Along the way, we figure it out, and sometimes make mistakes. Some mistakes can affect our marriage.  I want to discuss some important points to make your marriage better.

1. Be Patient
Photo by David Castillo Dominici-Image ID: 100122416

Photo by David Castillo Dominici -Image ID: 100122416

It is so important to be patient with your spouse. This doesn’t come easy, and some will say, “I am patient.” My question to you is, are you always? Men and women, react, reflect, interpret and communicate differently. While most women find it easy to express how they feel, happy, sad or angry, for men, this isn’t always easy. Let’s take a look at chores. We all have them, they need to be done, and we expect our husband or partner to help. Women, you ask your husband or partner to “tidy” the living room.  You have given the task, while you clean another room. You and your husband or partner are finished, and you come to find a stack of papers, or books left on the coffee table,  and blankets piled at the end of the couch.  At this point, you ask “why didn’t you tidy the living room?”  The response from your husband  or partner , “it is tidy?” When communicating, understand that your husband or partner’s interpretation might be different. Even though the room doesn’t look “tidy” to you, it looks tidy to him.

2. Communicate
Photo by photostock- Image ID: 10034198

Photo by photostock- ImageID: 10034198

It’s important to be clear when communicating with your spouse. It’s true what they say, men are not mind readers. Men and women process information differently. If you say you are “fine,” or “you should know why I’m mad”  this is very insensitive and unfair to your husband. Men are not “wired” the same as women. Men don’t always know when they have hurt your feelings.  Communicate with your husband or partner on how you feel.

I’m still learning to do this, but when you have mastered this, it will make a positive difference.

3. Respect your partner

One of the most important things a man needs is, respect and to be respected. He desires it most from his wife or partner. The saying, “you have to earn respect to gain respect,” is true, but you have to remember he is human. We all make mistakes, and no one is perfect. To lead a healthy and happy family, both partners need to be respected, even if you feel your husband or partner didn’t deserve it.  If you continue to respect your husband or partner, it will help motivate him to earn it. This doesn’t mean you ignore his bad decisions, pretend they don’t exist, these will still need to be communicated. It means, you need to discuss your differences with respect.

4.  Forgiveness
Photo by stockimages -Image ID: 100108461

Photo by stockimages -Image ID: 100108461

At some point in our lives, we all make mistakes. There comes a point in our life where we need to choose to make forgiveness a life long habit. This includes big ones, small ones, or even annoyances – ( most mornings I have to forgive my husband for leaving breakfast crumbs on the counter or the window open in the bathroom during the winter). No one says forgiveness is easy, but the more you forgive, the less room there is for resentment.

5. Date Night
Photo by nuttakit-  Image ID: 10036113

Photo by Nuttakit- ImageID: 10036113

This one has been around a long time, and there are so many articles supporting scheduled date nights. This is something my husband and I make a habit of doing each week.  You can never stop dating your spouse.  It’s a funny thought, “we are married, we are done dating,” but its true. You need to set time aside for just you and your spouse, and talk about each other. Don’t talk about your kids, bills or work. Just each other. Scheduled date nights, don’t have to be costly. Some inexpensive ideas:

  • Take a walk
  • Eat in, but catch a movie out
  • Go to a cafe
  • Movie in, with popcorn or your favourite snack( Plan a babysitter, play date ) Or wait until your kids are asleep.
  • Cook together, eat together

Spending one-on-one time allows you to connect emotionally and  learn something new about each other.

6. Never threaten

Sometimes we find ourselves in an angry spot. Never threaten, unless you mean it, and you plan to follow through. Sometimes couples will often threat separation or divorce when they are angry. This tactic is cruel and unfair to your spouse. Threatening is a TEMPORARY way out, that can lead to more harm than good. There are other ways to get past this method.

  • Take a breather
  • Communication Talk when ready, and calm.
  • Seek advice from an outside, reputable source if communication doesn’t work.
7. Don’t criticize

Criticizing your spouse is hurtful and embarrassing, even if it’s done with friends. Making this a habit will damage the respect you have with each other, and makes it uncomfortable for others around you.

8. Love
Photo by Sharron Goodyear- Image ID: 1003633

Photo by Sharron Goodyear- Image ID: 1003633

No one said marriage is  easy. What we see on television, or read about in books, is not always true. Marriage takes work, and commitment. There might be times you might question the love you have for each other, or the attraction you have towards your spouse, but always choose to love each other. The day you walked down the aisle and read your  vows are so sacred. You made a commitment to each other. To have , and to hold, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad. They don’t say “to have to hold anyone you please” or “in good times only.”  They say to have, AND to hold, implying, holding each other. In sickness AND in health. Good times AND in bad times. There will be bad times, along the way. Remember to love in the good parts AND in the bad. Good times, will always out way the bad times!