I haven’t done a TOLT in awhile and I thank Amanda for continuing to host these great round-ups of talented bloggers! I’m writing this post in advance because of the week I’m having. What kind of week is that? It’s a birthday week for my oldest who is officially 6 as this posts! I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting lately on what it means to be the kind of mom who stays at home, works part time, is a fitness professional, etc, etc. All of the roles I play. I’ve written about roles before and you’re more than welcome to read those posts here:
Instead of bragging about all of the things that I can accomplish this week; today I’m going to play a game: What I thought it would be like vs. What it’s really like.
What I thought it would be like: Soooo much time to get everything done and lots of time for myself. My children would play and interact with me and life would be bliss.
What it’s really like: Nothing gets done on the schedule I expected. When all I had was my one infant son I could easily clean our small apartment, walk the dog, and make dinner for my husband and I sometime before midnight while also breastfeeding, doing laundry, etc. But now, with two headed in two different directions and with the stay-at-home part dwindling little by little each year, I don’t know how things will ever get truly finished or caught up. Some of this is my natural ability to procrastinate and some of it is that we expect too much of any one person in our household. The kids don’t always play when you need them to, they want your attention when it’s least convenient, there needs to be time for you alone, you and your husband, you and your friends (not just during play dates) etc.
Working From Home
What I thought it would be like: Nap times are the perfect time to sit down at the computer and magically get it all done in about 2 hours….right? And I would get so many job offers because of my ability to work so thoroughly and quickly.
What it’s really like: Sometimes nap time doesn’t happen and Word World has to babysit for a few minutes while I review a course, type an email, post grades, etc. I used to teach online courses and my students would complain about the amount of work I gave them….as if I didn’t understand what it was like to work, have a family, have a life, and do schoolwork……who do you think is grading all of your assignments people? And developing them? And answering your emails/texts/phone calls when you have questions/complaints/computer errors?
Working Outside of the Home
What I thought it would be like: Total sadness and missing my babies at every waking moment. They would cry without me and no one would take care of them as well as I could. Something bad would happen at every moment and I would be riddled with the guilt of being away from them.
What it’s really like: Well, part of that is true for me. I do feel guilty and sad when I miss things that I enjoy with them, like tucking them in at night and reading to them. I do not think that anyone feeds them as well as I do and I’m sure they watch way too much tv when I’m not with them. However, there’s a flip side to that. I actually get to be grown up me when I’m at work. There are people who see me as me and as a professional in the field that I have worked in for so long, gone to school for, and care so deeply about the standard of! There are moments of bliss when I’m meditating and imparting wisdom to others. There are moments of bliss when I’m learning from others.
Being a Fitness Professional and a Mom
What I thought it would be like: Because I have all of the knowledge, I would be incredibly fit throughout my pregnancy. I would feed my babies all organic and homemade food. We would do Mommy & Me yoga together from Day 1. I would jog with them in the jogging stroller and win races and still have a beautiful two piece swimwear body….forever…..with no softness or stretchmarks or signs of aging…..EVER!
What it’s really like: I don’t know how the women who meet that ideal do it, but I know I ate Taco Bell more than once with each of my pregnancies. I napped a lot during the first one and gave up running during the first trimester when I thought I would throw up and have a migraine headache from listening to my mp3 player while I ran. I did exercise and teach until he was born and I did make him baby food (most of the time) and I did start back to jogging with him as soon as I was cleared to. What didn’t happen was my stomach never returned and was even more destroyed with the second child (see here) and we did Family Yoga with the big one, but the little one hates it. I do have two very active kids and I have pushed them in the stroller, pulled them behind my bike, and encouraged them to help me with my workouts as much as humanly possible. I lost a lot of weight each time due to breastfeeding, and currently weigh in around 140lbs (more than before each of them), but I’m okay with that (see here). Having “all of the knowledge” means squat in the middle of labor and cravings and tired mornings when your baby cried and nursed all night while teething. It means nothing when it means not putting yourself first in other ways.
I guess this is the one area in which blogging has helped me to realize, it’s okay to not be perfect….
I mean, Who is this mythical Superwoman of a Mom anyway?!