I Come First Too!

Have you ever wondered how some families seem to have it all figured out? They have somehow found their balance. Someone once said to me while I was shopping with my kids ” oh wow! I don’t know how you balance having a toddler and baby. You look great!” When that was said I couldn’t find the words to reply back, I was too busy thinking about the word “balance.” I mean, what is balance? I almost wanted to spurt out a chuckle, but instead I smiled and thanked her. Don’t get me wrong, I sincerely appreciate any complement that comes my way. But, what this woman didn’t see several minutes before was that my 3 year old threw herself onto the floor when I told her I wasn’t buying the Paw Patrol yogurt drinks, my youngest crying because her sister was crying, and I had spilled my $6.00 coffee down the side of my pants. I’m already too tired to curl up and watch a movie with my husband when my girls are in bed, so how on earth do I balance his needs, my needs… all of our needs? I’ve always wanted to find the moms I see on my Instagram feeds who appear to have figured it all out. Showing that their balance is a solid 10/10.

I have been married almost 8 years and yet figuring out the intricacies of marriage remains constant. Along the way I have been given so much advice on various subjects around marriage and parenting, but no one really talks about both parenting and marriage together, and what that actually looks like. Does it even exist? It must if my Instagram moms are doing it, right? How do you balance both? We all want to be that great wife or that great mom, but how do we fit both of them together? There is no proven textbook on how to balance parenting and marriage. There are tons of books suggesting ways to improve things, but what works well for others will not always work for you. So how do you balance being an equal wife and an equal parent?

Along time ago I stumbled on articles that discussed putting your husband and yourself first, children second. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “how could anyone do that?” or ” I would die for and do anything for my kids.” So before you get your pants twisted, let me explain. These articles made some valid points. It discussed that we wouldn’t be parents without our partners. We were married & together first, so why would we make that less of a priority. As we navigate parenthood, we often put ourselves and our husband last. We are so caught up with our children’s needs, that we forget about our own needs. When we put ourselves and husband’s needs last, we lose a part of our identity. The identity that we worked hard on developing before kids became part of the equation.

Photo by JoEllen Moths on Pexels.com

When the parental team breaks down, this not only impacts your marriage, but it also impacts your children. It’s so easy as parents to put ourselves and partner last while you figure out raising your children. When we do this, you not only lose a sense of yourself, but you lose those moments and much needed connections with your husband. Having a positive secure family are the building blocks for your children’s security. If you are focussing equal efforts on your relationship, this helps your children see that marriage is an important relationship to have. Just because we shift our focus to our needs or our husbands needs first, this is doesn’t mean that I care for my children any less. Infact, it means I care for children so much more, that I recognize times where my husband or I come first in the equation. How do I find this balance?

While I’m knee deep in various bodily fluids between, scattered toys, and lack of sleep for the foreseeable future, I ask myself, “how on earth do I have spare time?” I haven’t seen spare time since before I had kids. I remember hanging out with some of my friends who are also a mom, and it was said that they plan “couple” time and “me” time. “Couple” time? “Me” Time? They pre-schedule alone time with their husband and alone time for themself, without their kids. This might include time spent once the kids are in bed, or calling a family member, or babysitter so they can take the afternoon to reconnect with their husband over coffee, a meal, or just a walk in the park. This sparked some good ideas. I’ve only read about couples pre-scheduling, but I never knew for a second this would be me. My husband and I pre-schedule our kids appointments, and family events, why not add “couple” time? and “me” time. I’m not suggesting that this becomes frequent as weekly; this could be monthly. If I’m already using my phone, what’s another appointment?

For a happy and balanced marriage, scheduling time together and apart is so crucial. Whether it’s a round of golf, or a few hours spent getting your hair done, or meeting up with a friend, plan this time. This is balance! This is not you being selfish, this is you, recognizing that your marriage comes first, sometimes. In order to raise positive, happy children, you also have to be living a happy and positive life. Find time for yourself and your husband, you will thank me later!

You’re not “JUST” a MOM

As long as I can remember, I knew I always wanted to be a mom. Perhaps, partially my fascination has stemmed from being an only child. I didn’t have siblings to annoy and then watch my parents get all “red faced” holding in all of their frustrations because we all couldn’t get along. Whatever the initial reasons were, it was in my DNA. I was meant to take on this lifetime role.

When I was blessed with becoming a mom, this was the greatest gift I was given. Although, I must admit, I was incredibly naive what this role truly meant. There is so much that isn’t talked about. There is so many “fictional” notations about being a mom, where you lose a sense of reality. I remember having an encounter with another mom at a store. We began talking and I asked her what she does for work, and she says to me “I’m JUST a mom!” I told her she couldn’t possibly be “JUST” a mom. I shared with her that being a mom requires us to wear multiple hats simultaneously. What I have learned thus far, is that

you’re not JUST a mom!

Photo by Caroline Hernandez on Unsplash

I know what you are thinking, how is that possible? Even though most of my time, day and night is spent caring for and loving my daughter, it doesn’t mean that this is all I am. This has taken me 2 years to realize this, and I am still learning this. When you’re a mom, you are wearing several hats in one day. For me, I am constantly wearing these hats stacked on top of eachother in every moment of each day.

I am a wife.

I am a wife first. This might seem incredibly crazy to you, in fact, probably insane, but let me explain. Before the idea or concept of starting a family became a real life goal, I was seeking the man who would be my life long team mate, my partner, my best friend. Creating this fundamental foundation for our life together, it is imperative that it is strong and secure for our family. This foundation expands and contracts as we go through life and life’s challenges together. While my husband of 6 years (together 11 years) continues to grow, and strengthens our foundation, our love for eachother continues to grow. This love is what grows a family. It’s not wrong to love and be a wife or partner first, its fact, it’s truth. As our love strengthens, and carries us through life, it’s so important to remember where this love started, our journey, because without this love, ultimately, I wouldn’t be a mother, today. This doesn’t mean that I love my daughter any less, or my husband any less, it means that I respect, and appreciate my love and partnership with my husband so much, that he will always be my #1, and my daughter who I love beyond this universe #2. My husband and I are leaders in our family. We know our daughter is watching intently to our gestures, communication, how we treat each other and how we love . Our focus is to constantly show this love, respect and appreciation throughout her life. Who are the two most important people to show her this? WE ARE! The two most important people in her world. We are her world.

I am the cook.

So many of your days is often spent in the kitchen between snack times, and meal times. This might be one of my least favourite jobs, but I do find benefit and accomplishment showing my daughter nutritious meals and snacks.The more I show her nutritious meals, she will learn positive eating habits. It’s a HUGE accomplishment when she eats it.

I am the nurse.

Whether I’m sucking the snot out of my daughters nose, or attending to her fever in the middle of the night, I’m on call 24/7. I’m the one running the bath, steaming the bathroom to help her congestion, chasing her around the house to give her medicine, but most importantly. I’m the one sitting on the couch, with her curdled up on my lap, with her toesies covered in the blankies while she fights off the illness she picked up. The best medicine for our little girl is nurse Mommy.

I am a teacher.

Whether your strengths are in math or english, we will eventually have to help teach subjects we once hated. Luckily for me, my daughter isn’t quite there yet. I still have time to freshin’ up. I am my daughter’s teacher. I’m the one covered in glue, playdough, and paint teaching my daughter arts, crafts, numbers and shapes. I am the drama teacher, playing creative play, dressing up as princesses and fairies. Even though this role is often a joint effort with my husband, I am the one who is home with my daughter the most. In no time, I will be helping with science projects, bake fairs, and creating flash cards in preparation for tests. Lets face it, learning and school does not end when the bell rings.

I am the chauffeur.

Whether I am doing errands, or taking my daughter from one appointment to the other, I am the driver. This role has 14 more years to go, before this role slowly disappears. Until then, pack a snack, or even a light meal, because our days are often spent in the car.

I am the maid.

I thought living with a man was messy, wait until you come over to my house, and see what a toddler can do. In 0-60 seconds, each room of my house has something out of place. All of my life, I have underestimated how fast, and the distance a toddler can travel in a short amount of time. This job can feel long and endless. In the beginning for me, I knew this would be the hardest job for myself, to let go. Letting go of the constant need that our house has to be “guest” worthy. Its ok that the laundry only makes it to the basket, and it might take a day or two to for the laundry to make it to the dresser. Its’ ok that it has been a couple weeks between washing your floors… afterall, if you have a dog, that’s what they’re for? Haha! We do what we can, with the hours we are given. Just because you let housework slide today, or tomorrow, doesn’t mean that in a few days from now, or next week it will be the same. Do what you can, when you can do it. Kids are messy, and that is a fact of life!

Let’s face it, as a mom, we wear multiple hats. Our job description is longer than the average roll of toilet paper. That’s ALOT!! We have to give ourselves way more credit for all of the things we do. We are not “JUST” a mom. Wear the “MOM” title proudly. Own it. Being a mom is 1000 times more than the jobs I’ve listed, above. The next time you hear a mom say ” I am JUST a mom,” remind them that’s not all they are. Remind them that they are EVERYTHING & MORE. Through all of the bodily fluids you might find yourself wearing, own your MOM title and wear it proud! Next time when someone asks you what your job is, tell them

I AM A MOM!!!