Being a mom can be really f’n BORING!

Being a mom can be really f’n BORING!

“My anxiety begins the moment the sun rises and my son awakes. The constant pressure I feel to be playing with him constantly AND that I should be enjoying it. Most of the time I sit and stare at him and wonder what the hell we are going to do next. The clock strikes 8am and I’m already running out of ideas on what to do next. There are just some things that I truly don’t enjoy doing but I feel so guilty admitting it. As if one of the ways my value as a mother is measured is by me enjoying him bounce in his Jumperoo as he stares at me. Most of the day I’m so bored and my anxiety soars as I search for new activities to do or Mommy-and Me groups to get out of the house. They say ‘the days are long but the years are short’ where I feel I’m only at ‘the days are long’ part of all of this.”

Motherhood can make you feel like you’re stranded on a deserted island like Tom Hanks in the movie, “Castaway”. Your only “friend” is a volleyball that you named Wilson and you talk to it as if it’s going to say something right back at you. Listen, I’m here to relieve you by telling you that it’s perfectly normal to feel bored as hell when you’re staring at a blob that doesn’t do much of anything. You shake things at it, sing to it, baby talk to it, make funny noises at it, and it just sits there at times. You run out of ideas of what to do with it other than changing its diaper or feeding it. I think that’s why I’ve always hated bath time- it seemed more like a filler than fun when I ran out of things to do.

Part of my problem as a new mom is I felt I needed to entertain her ALL THE TIME. Each second she was awake had to be filled with something that was going to make her grow, thrive, learn, stimulate and create interaction. I couldn’t just leave her to entertain herself, otherwise I’d be a terrible mother. There was so much pressure that I created from what I would read, an app that told me what she “should” be doing, or reading on a Facebook page about all the things a friend was doing with her new baby. The comparison trap that I continued to fall into was getting bigger by the day.

It also didn’t help that I quarantined myself the first few months, it was a horrible winter, and I was afraid to bring her out of the house. There is only so much you can do within the walls of your home before you start getting cabin fever and need to bust out of the joint. My deserted island was preventing me from becoming the mother I was meant to be but I didn’t know there was a way off and that I didn’t have to be there. It was more of an “it is what it is” way of living and surviving.

Many would tell me to simply get out of the house, wear her, and do the things I want to do. 6 years later, I completely agree. I mean, that was THE best time to do things that I wanted to do. She was immobile, couldn’t talk, and therefore couldn’t complain or have a meltdown. At the time, I felt that was way too selfish to even think of doing something that I enjoyed doing. I mean, I was a mom now. It was all about her. There was too much guilt and anxiety when I attempted to do something that I wanted to do.

The personal neglect I had also contributed to the boredom. I wasn’t doing the things I loved to do before entering that hospital. I love music, concerts, reading, exercising, being outdoors, traveling, art, restaurants as well as reality TV. Every single one of those things was put on a bookshelf the moment I entered my home with her. My career was gone, so that was 10 hours of the day I had to refill. An hour or so of reality TV. An hour of reading. An hour of exercise. Going to a new restaurant, another few hours. My day consisted of at least 20 hours of baby. If I was lucky to have 4 hours of sleep that night.

The boredom can carry into toddler-hood and childhood as well. I realized I didn’t enjoy some of the games and activities that my daughter loved. The guilt would overshadow and swallow any courage to actually admit it to anyone. I mean, so many women out there were LOVING being moms. It was the best thing that has happened to them, and they savored every moment. “Oh, it just goes by too fast, so enjoy every moment!” OK then, I’ll try. Maybe I’m just a terrible mother? Or average at best.

There have been things I’ve enjoyed, yes. It’s not all shit’s creek but it’s also not all rainbows, unicorns and roses. The dialogue between moms needs to change where we are comfortable admitting when things suck, and it doesn’t qualify our level of motherhood. You can safely say “God I can’t stand tummy time, what the hell am I supposed to do while she lays on her stomach for 10 minutes?” Maybe you’ve been in your house with a snowstorm and find yourself more entertained staring out the window, wishing the hands on the clock would go just a little bit faster? Perhaps you’re at a mommy-and-me music class at the local park district with a bunch of moms you have no connection with as you realize you’re only there to pass an hour of time?

It’s OK to be honest about these feelings. You’re also talking about the things you are enjoying to mix it up and create a real story of motherhood. So let’s see, what have I enjoyed and had fun with in motherhood? Infancy was hard for me, but I did simply enjoy the quiet and her sleeping on me. Smelling her and listening to her funny noises. I loved when she’d discover a body part and stare at it with her eyes crossed. When she’d fart and not realize it. The times she would laugh, I could do the thing I was doing in her face for hours listening to that laugh. In toddler-hood, I enjoyed walks where we just paid attention to nature. Trips to our local arboretum. Time with family. A splash pad with her squeals. So see, there ARE things that didn’t bore me to death to blend in with the things that did. We are human beings regardless of the Mom stamp and we can be bored and still be decent human beings, and mothers.

Are you OK with admitting that motherhood can be boring at times?  How does all of this make you feel after reading it?

Sincerely,

Michelle Mansfield Blog

Am I Terrible mom Because I hate bath Time?!

I seem to base all my “shoulds” on photos, commercials, and social media posts when I see parents doing all the kid-things with smiles on everyone’s faces. Bath time for example. It starts with the registry and me scrolling the aisles of Buy Buy Baby where there’s an entire bath section for babies. Not only are there toys galore but there are also pictures on the toys of families splashing, laughing, and making it seem like this was the way to be while washing your baby. There are bubbles, colors, squirty things, and babies squealing for joy. I registered for a bunch of bath time gear and continued to buy more gear as the years went on. 6 years later…

I still hate bath time. I’m actually just admitting it out loud this week. Gosh that felt so good!

Brooklyn is 6 and there are so many things that I’ve pressured myself into thinking I had to enjoy in order to be a “good mom”. Through these years I’ve pretended- a lot. Not only did I feel guilty for not enjoying every single moment with my daughter but I didn’t hear other moms talk about the things they truly didn’t enjoy. So I basically felt like I was either complaining or inadequate at finding joy in things Brooklyn was doing. I’d hear women talk about how much they LOVED bath time and they had all these joyous stories about their experiences. Only when I had the bravery to say on social media one day, “Ya know, I really hate bath time.”, and a friend of mine responded to my Instagram story with a “God I hate it too!” did I realize I wasn’t alone. Man it felt great to feel normal and not like an alien from another planet.

What else do I wish I could “opt out” of? Well, let’s see…

  1. Anything that has to do with pretending to be something.
  2. Schoolwork at home. I never enjoyed doing homework or summer schoolwork with my mom either.
  3. Dress up. Enough said.
  4. Spa day. Thank you “Fancy Nancy” and your “Oooh La La Spa”!
  5. Playing in our basement. I hate our basement. I’m trying to enjoy it but for me, it’s just a place that doesn’t give me energy. It’s the only place to go when you have 2 hours to kill before dinner when it’s a blizzard or below freezing. I think I have some sort of PTSD from going there when she was a toddler as she ALWAYS wants to go in the basement. It’s usually the area of pretend play as the costumes are down there. Simply put, it’s not my happy place.
  6. Going to the park. I have total anxiety about her falling through the 8 different random open areas where she can fall 15’ down. Plus she is JUST learning how to ask others to play with her versus always asking us to go down the slide with her. What sucks is there are some a-hole kids that won’t play with her or she’ll be an a-hole and not want to play with them anymore. Where it’s back to “Mama, can you please come up here and play?”

On the other side, what do I love doing with Brooklyn? Well, let’s see…

  1. Anything with music.
  2. Anything with arts & crafts.
  3. Reading.
  4. Going to the Morton Arboretum. It’s magical.
  5. Going to museums.
  6. Going to plays (yes, she loves musicals just like me!!!).
  7. Going to movies. I actually watch them too, I don’t just go for it to be a break for me.
  8. Going to experience new restaurants.
  9. Yes, you may think I’m crazy but I do love going to the public pool with her. It’s the only thing that satisfies me when it’s 95 and humid.
  10. Science experiments minus making slime.
  11. Cooking.
  12. Talking. Simply talking to her. Maybe we grab some ice cream down the street or have dinner on our weekly “girls’ night” where I love that we now have some pretty awesome conversations.
  13. Board games.

I have some more but hopefully you get my point that even though I have some “opt out” items, AKA activities I’d rather delegate to my husband or her grandmother, there are so many things I LOVE doing with her. There is enough variety within all this, where it’s not all about me (I know you feel selfish thinking of yourself), it’s about us as a family. I’m here to tell you it’s not selfish to expose your child and do things that you enjoy doing but rather a gift. And yes, there are times when I have to give her a bath. Actually 9 times out of 10 I’m the one doing it. But there are other times I simply tell her I’m just not in the mood to do what she wants in that moment. She then learns that it’s not all about her either which will help her in her relationships. In my eyes, that’s a win-win and a great parenting moment. So honor your passions, teach your children about the give-take world, and stop feeling like you’re not a good parent if you don’t like playing Ninja Princess.

Michelle Mansfield Blog

THE Word to Avoid in Your Identity Crisis (and why it doesn’t have to be a crisis!)

THE Word to Avoid in Your Identity Crisis (and why it doesn’t have to be a crisis!)

I didn’t have a child at the same time period as many of my friends and the common woman, whatever that means. Brooklyn is my one-and-done and I had her when I was 36, quietly approaching 37. No, I wasn’t 80, but in the world of pressured timelines and your OBG warning you about your old eggs, it was considered later than most. Not only were my eggs “old”, but I also had a lot more time on my own with the things that defined me.

Career was a huge identity definer for me. Since the age of 15, I’ve worked hard with self-motivation. I earned my “keep” as they say. I was eager, showed up, went the extra mile, promoted, kissed ass, and was proud that I earned my own money. College had me juggling 3 jobs between when I was at home and at school. I always did well in my jobs, above and beyond was usually the case.  Everything from bagging groceries, being promoted to a checker, the only female selling in the men’s shoe department (and rocking it!), tanning salons (free tans!), waiting tables, bartending, recruiting, administrative work, and then my last job, my career, in hospitality.

My annual reviews were stellar and I always got a raise. I knew my value and where I wanted to go next. During my hospitality career, which was my true career and passion, I had to write quarterly goals and how I was going to measure their success. They were presented to my boss and we went through them together to create a plan for that quarter. The handshake and “I know you can do this” was given as I left my boss’s office.

Another identity definer was where I lived. I talked about this with you earlier with mourning the loss of my life before baby. Living in the city was a huge part of my identity. I mean, I even blogged about it as therapy when I moved(Downtown Julie Brown to Suburban Mom was my blog… I need to check if it’s even still up on the internet!). Granted, I wasn’t kicking and screaming when I moved to live with my fiancé, now husband, but I definitely shed a lot of tears as I packed my apartment and closed the door to the chapter. Being in the city meant you were “hip”, “in the know”, “exciting”, “well-rounded”, “stylish”, “modern” and if you were a mom, you were all those adjectives with the word “mom” behind it. I was proud to tell people where I lived and that I was doing it all on my own with my career. Two worlds working together to what I thought made me… me.

The first night when I moved into my husband’s cookie-cutter suburban town-home was definitely a hard one. I stood in the kitchen with boxes all around when my childhood friend and her husband stopped by with a “welcome to the suburbs!” gift and a big hug. They knew a lot was changing for me. They were the ones that set me up with my husband, I had resisted because of where he lived, so I think they felt some sort of responsibility (I joke about this but I’m sure they felt they had to come check in on me and see if I was convulsing or itching). I was living in the exact place that I proclaimed I’d never live in- ever. (By the way NEVER say you’ll never do something, you will probably put your foot in your mouth) I lived within rows of town-homes, each looked the same as the next, there was a cornfield close by, and a Home Depot within spitting distance. The icing on the cake was that everywhere I turned every female I encountered was a mom. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but I was definitely not in the mom-zone yet. I was barely ripping off the Band-Aid to suburbia.

5 years after the move, I was finally adjusting to living in the suburbs. Yes, you read that correctly. FIVE YEARS. What happened? I had a baby. Until I had Brooklyn, I was in deep with my career and really wasn’t interested in making new friends. Especially ones that weren’t in my world, and I wasn’t in theirs. I had my college and high school friends that I was still hanging around with, so I was set. Within my career, I was jet-setting around the country, making my goals, making good money, entertaining clients, and enjoying a lot of freedom I didn’t realize I had. Even though my stepchildren were in our lives a lot, they were at an age where they were playing with friends and didn’t really want to hang with Dad and their stepmom. They were easy and low-maintenance. Plus, both parents have been very active with their kids and have a great relationship. So I was more of a friend than a parent.

When I had Brooklyn that winter, it was an instant 180. No person, no doctor, no class and no book prepare you for when that baby is in your arms. Especially when you walk out of that hospital, into your home, and you’re faced with reality.

I thought I would be able to be a working mom, and had planned on “making it work”. Within the first week of having Brooklyn home, I knew my life was changing… again. My career didn’t have a work-from-home option. I was commuting 2 hours each way (yes, 4 hours a day) where I was leaving my house at 5:45am and then arriving home by 7:30pm. If I had a client dinner, 10pm the earliest. Then there was the travel. I knew if I stayed that I would never see Brooklyn other than being up all night with her. And that broad was up ALLLLLLLLL fucking night. How much you ask? Every hour-and-a-half. I remember walking around my dark home with her screaming and as I looked out of one of our bedroom windows I thought “How the fuck am I going to make this all work?! What am I going to do? What will I say to my boss? Will we be OK financially? What if I am not working for long enough where I can never return?” Those thoughts traveled through my brain in a matter of 30 seconds as tears welled up in my eyes.

What I told myself that I would NEVER be was exactly what I was becoming. I was turning into a stay-at-home suburban mom. That sounds terrible to actually write out loud but for years I had assumptions of the SAHM in suburbia. The misunderstandings. Oh, if you read my Downtown Julie Brown to Suburban Mom blog you will smell the fear from your computer screen. I remember the talks with my friends over drinks exclaiming “I’ll NEVER move to the suburbs!” or “I can’t IMAGINE not working!” or “I’ll NEVER lose myself in motherhood!” We were a bunch of 20-30 something girls with no children and all the answers. The pressures and restrictions we were already putting on ourselves, that didn’t have to be the truth.

The word “NEVER” is a dangerous word for anyone, especially a mother. I’m learning to never say never… well, except in this sentence. The word “NEVER” led to my identity crisis I had, which definitely contributed to my postpartum depression. This word, “NEVER”, created some pretty high expectations & plans that I had in my brain even before I met my husband. Brooklyn just happened to be the reality that put a wrench in all of those “NEVERS”, but it can happen in so many other ways in a mom’s life. It travels all the way into how you raise your kids- the word “NEVER” can create that unrealistic perfection and judgment where most of the time you will find yourself eating your words.

Learning how to be open to the possibilities of life, new experiences, new friends, passions, and creative outlets can make you realize your identity is far beyond your career or the mother you are. There’s an actual person inside with other things that fuel your soul & personality. Maybe some pretty amazing things that have been hiding behind your career, the lifestyle you had, or the person you wish you could be, but something else is pulling you another direction. It’s OK to switch gears for a bit, nothing is permanent. Maybe it’s just not the time to be working full-time, maybe it is. Perhaps you can’t go to Mexico for a week on a whim but someday you’ll be able to. Or the freedom that you took for granted may be lessened but someday you’ll be able to have it again, and appreciate it more. Time flies so fast (you’ll hear that over and over again) and there may be those moments where you need to say out loud “it’s just not the right time for this- but someday it will be.”

Mom Friends are hard to make, but not Impossible

Mom Friends are hard to make, but not Impossible

The first few months after Brooklyn was born, I didn’t leave the house much. Partly because it was the dead of winter, along with everyone in the world proclaiming she could die from the flu. Those two things are valid points but I never really acknowledged to myself that I was also choosing to isolate myself for other reasons. Cold & flu season is a great excuse, and so is a monster snow storm, but as I think about how I would be if I had a 2nd child, I realize that the reasons I was home-bound on my deserted island went deeper than the weather.

I will also admit that the times that I thought about going on an adventure with Brooklyn were often stopped by the feeling of overwhelm of simply packing her diaper bag. I still wasn’t in the groove of feeling 100% prepared when I left the house. There were so many “what if she does this?” scenarios in my head, and what baby supply I would need if that even happened. What if she had a diaper blow out like the one at breastfeeding support group? The kind of blow out that shoots straight up her back and had me staring at her wondering where to even start with cleaning it. Or where to hide the evidence.

Then I wondered where I’d even go. I had no friends close by that had babies. I actually only had one childhood friend that lived by me but her kids were older where I just felt like a bother. Why would she want to hang out with a boring baby and even more boring mom? What did I even have to offer for conversation other than talking about how much I was watching “Golden Girls” and “Nick at Nite” until 5am. I hated the “George Lopez Show” and never watched it when it was on the air. Now I was watching back-to-back episodes on Nick at Night for hours. Why didn’t I just rent movies for crying out loud? Oh, wait, that would mean I’d actually have to pay attention and follow along with the movie. Brainless TV it is!

I felt like no one wanted to hear about how it was truly going for me. Never did I hear friends or family tell me how their first few months were after their baby was born.   Oh the sleepless nights were a common topic, of course. Then there were the diaper stories. How many diapers they went through, along with the poop up the back, the colors, and smell. All would end in laughter, which I believe is a goal visitors have with a new mom.  Nothing serious, let’s keep it light, funny, and talk about poo and vomit. So basically I learned I wasn’t going to sleep a lot and I knew she was going to piss and shit a lot. I honestly thought my feelings were totally out there and that NO ONE would understand. Therefore, I kept them to myself. I kept A LOT to myself. I chose not to be vulnerable and that’s where the isolation started.

During this time, my husband was wonderful in so many ways. I have to preface that because of course any challenges I had with him during this time I feel horribly guilty even bringing up. It’s not like he did anything wrong. There were just these times and feelings which created that separation and feelings of being alone. I mostly blame my boobs for it but I also have to honor that it’s just how I felt about him and this time. The first week after Brooklyn was born, he stayed home with me. Which was wonderful. Even though he couldn’t do much, his presence with me was just so comforting. The companionship was warm and cozy. If Brooklyn was screaming, we were “in this thing together!” He has 2 children from a previous marriage where he also knew a lot more than I did. “What are those sesame seeds in her poo? And why is it orange?” He knew the answer. “How the fuck did you know that?” I would swing my head and ask him. Well, he had walked this road a couple times.

When he had to go back to work, shit got real. I had huge anxiety once that clock hit 9pm. I would count down the minutes until he drew the shades and went upstairs, by himself, at 11pm. I stayed downstairs for a while because Brooklyn was up all night crying as I figured out the breastfeeding crap. I slept on the reclining leather sofa with her bassinet next to me; reclining back and forth getting small bursts of sleep in between feeding her. I still can hear that leather screeching sound when she’d wake up and I’d recline up to feed her. Then recline down pulling up an afghan that was made for Brooklyn and too small for me. I remember when the sun would start shining in, I’d look at that damn clock to see 6am, and panicked that the day was beginning. At the same time, it didn’t seem like the day before ever ended. Soon he’d be getting up to shower for work. He’d leave and then I’d be alone with a long day of nothing. Staring at the blob on the mat with her tummy time pillow. Just making obnoxious noises at her, shaking things in her face, reading to her, and singing any song I could because I didn’t know any lullabies (My college friends recommended sitcom theme songs so “Thank you for Being a Friend” was the magic tune. That happened day after day and that line up lasted a whole hot 30 minutes.

I can’t believe I still have that clock up on our wall. I wasn’t mad at my husband for leaving me. I felt guilty for having any sort of negative feelings to him getting sleep and going to work.   Was I jealous? Probably a bit. More so I was just missing him and his comfort. It was hard to be alone with Brooklyn. I wasn’t afraid anything bad would happen or I wasn’t capable of taking care of her. I was simply bored, lonely, and just desperate for companionship. I felt I was becoming boring as a result. What did I even have to offer when all I did was put her on my boobs, staring at her, watch Nick at Nite, and raise and lower myself in a recliner?

I had so many people around me that I could reach out to, but wouldn’t. Many of my friends were also moms, but at totally different stages where I didn’t reach out for fear of bothering them. Plus, no one ever talked about the crap I was going through. The sadness. Regrets. Grieving. Resentments. Anger. NO ONE. Everyone seemed to have their shit together and when their children were newborns, everyone seemed fine. I never had a friend reach out crying about how miserable she was. We would just sit there and coo over her baby and totally neglect talking to her about what was going on. The real shit. It was ALL about the baby. Plus, I am sure they all felt like me where they didn’t want to bother anyone with their story. Perhaps they would appear ungrateful, that they didn’t LOVE motherhood, that they didn’t love their baby? When that role of MOM is branded on your ass, shit changes. You’re now supposed to be the rock in that family. The strong one. The bitch that holds her shit together and doesn’t show a spider on the wall that she’s struggling.

When we don’t share our struggles- we are getting further into that jungle on the deserted island. No one can see us, find us, or even think about us. People aren’t going to come right out and ask “So, do you feel like your life has turned upside down, and it kinda sucks at times?” Also, with this positivity movement, GOD FORBID you complain about any part of your new life. Otherwise you’re seen as “negative”, “toxic”, or just a bad vibe. You should be GRATEFUL and appreciate your blessings. News Flash!  You are grateful. You do love your baby. You have got to acknowledge your struggle to climb out of it. It’s not a permanent place but you have to honor what you’re going through and your feelings in order to learn and become the amazing mother you’re meant to be. Rip the layers, get vulnerable, and if that’s hard then BE FUNNY about it to make it easier. Just say one thing that you’re struggling with when a friend asks how you are. See how her eyes open, she starts to get comfortable, and says to you “Oh my gosh, I felt the EXACT same way.”

Being distant from some friends is natural. I didn’t know that at the time, and it saddened me. Looking back, I know that our friendship will be there but right now it’s just taking a dip. We’re just not in the same places and life is full of so many things that distance friends even more. What overwhelmed me is finding the new community of women that were in the same boat as me. On top of it, many would say “Once she’s in school you’ll find some friends.” I didn’t want to wait THAT long or I’d go insane! (Plus I had no idea that I’d actually have her in Montessori by 18 months) I had to take action TODAY. I would go to Meet Ups, Facebook group play dates, and come home in tears to my husband saying, “I’M NEVER GOING TO MAKE ANOTHER FRIEND AGAIN!” I went into every play date so desperate to find friends. Reminds me of the dating world I had after breaking up with a long-term boyfriend when my mom told me “Don’t look at every date as your future husband.” My husband gave me the exact same advice, “Don’t go into these play dates expecting to find 5 best friends.” I had been so tight with my high school and college friends that I never really had to get out there and create a new community of friends. Well, now I had to. If I wanted to get off my island and stop talking to my volleyball (Wilson!) then I’d have to be open to disappointment.

When I finally realized that I wasn’t going to connect with every woman I met (nor would every women connect with ME either!) I relaxed a bit. I trusted my gut more on who gave me that good feeling and instant connection. My first friend I found that way was my dearest friend, Vanessa. I finally got off Google and went to a live breastfeeding support group at the local hospital. I thank my NP at our pediatrician’s office for suggesting it. My constant phone calls to her may have been a hint that I was struggling with this.

Vanessa was one of 10 women throughout the weeks we all met as a group. Honestly she was the one woman I connected with, and I knew it instantly. From the moment she pulled out her boob to feed her daughter, I said, “This is my kind of gal.” We’ve been friends ever since. Our girls went to preschool together and we will probably be sitting next to one another crying as our girls walk down the graduation aisle. We met for coffee (oh the days when our girls were immobile blobs of babies and we could sit and chat for hours!). Trips to a park, visits at one another’s home, and we also met just the two of us. We never had a dull conversation and I felt I could tell her EVERYTHING. She could tell me everything as well. There is laughter. Serious conversations. We learn so much from one another. We’ve been on trips together. We’ve even declared we’ll be the real life Golden Girls when we’re in our silver stage… or maybe earlier? I’m so grateful that I trusted my inner compass and gravitated towards her. Opened my heart to her and let her be a part of my life. The “my kind of gal” friends are the ones that will stick with you through it all. So let them see your boob, break the ice, and trust that gut when you’re talking to her. You’ll know if she’s YOUR own kind of gal.

Your Mom Friend,

Michelle Mansfield Blog

Hi!  How Are You?  I’M SO BUSY!

Hi! How Are You? I’M SO BUSY!

I am so guilty of this habit we, as mothers, have created when it comes to casual conversation.

“Hi! How are you?”

“Gosh, SO busy. How are you?”

“OMG SO busy too. I can’t keep up!”

“I know, right?”

The conversation takes a screeching halt. At times you may even find yourself STILL going back and forth about how busy you both are. Then you start listing all the things you are busy with- which 9 times out of 10 have NOTHING to do with you and all about your children. This is one of the dozens of reasons we have this identity questioning as a new or even seasoned mother. When we take the focus off of our true selves, it’s impossible to cultivate and grow the person we are or the person we are challenged to be. In turn, allowing the layers to be lost, being a bit vulnerable or God forbid even proud of something WE are doing as an individual can create a pretty interesting individual beyond the word “Mom”.

When I’m with my friends who work full time, there is PLENTY to talk about when it comes to their careers and what they are doing. They are proud, even when they are bitching about their jobs (who doesn’t at times), and we could carry on in other conversations based on the career talk. But for the mom that doesn’t go to an office everyday, or even a home office, why do they feel they can’t contribute to the conversation? I totally get it as there are times I sit back with my friends who work full time and simply enjoy listening to their stories. I don’t always have something to contribute. That’s OK, I still love listening and hearing the amazing things they are doing. I can always learn something from listening- even if it’s simply appreciating that I don’t have to go to an office every M-F!

At times I wonder if a woman feels she’s either a SAHM or a working mom, and only those 2 categories. So a woman finds herself either talking about her kids the whole time or work with a touch of kid convo splashed in. They don’t want to appear they are bragging if something is going well or interesting for them so they either hide that topic or they actually aren’t doing anything to create a section for themselves. We are so giving as women, we are nurturing, caring, and as you know it, we think about everyone else first. It’s in our nature and I definitely honor that part of my personality. I’ve also had to really force myself to get out of that shell and comfort, the role that I’m told I should have. Learning how to not feel selfish or that I’m neglecting someone, even if it’s for a couple hours that week, has been a lot of work. Reading books, listening to podcasts, watching inspirational people, and connecting with other moms has been my university to realizing I need creativity in my life. I wanted to talk about something other than what our children are doing or how BUSY we all were.

I didn’t want to hide behind the word “BUSY” either. Busy wasn’t going to be my excuse for not bringing something inspirational into my life. Busy wasn’t going to be the shield to learning more, growing as a person, and therefore becoming the mother I wanted to be. The woman I wanted to be. I also don’t want Brooklyn to see my role as her chauffeur or secretary scheduling her life. She needs to see that Mama also has things going on, pretty amazing things, and that I talk to her about them and share the joy. I love writing and although it hardly makes me a millionaire, Brooklyn sees my books and talking to children about wellness where I hope she is inspired to have a piece of her own creativity and joy. I hope to have wonderful conversations with HER as well as she gets older and activities get thrown in her brain. The last thing she needs is to be SO BUSY, over-scheduled, and overwhelmed. To feel robotic as she’s in and out of a car. Brooklyn isn’t good with too much on her plate, and I’ve seen that for years. So I’m honoring that. Just as I’m honoring what I need on my plate to make me happy, confident, and full of pride.

We are put on this earth to enjoy more than our careers or role as a mother. There is so much more out there. It doesn’t have to be complicated, a side-hustle, time-consuming, or make you millions of dollars. Your piece of you is beyond the word BUSY. Your piece is your passion and is a huge part of your life. It can be rewarding beyond a paycheck or annual review. This is your time to investigate, explore, discover, and ignite a fire inside you that will burn as long as you want it to. Sure, talk about your kids or things they are doing. Because your friends and family do want to know. But don’t make that the ONLY thing you talk about or hide behind the word “BUSY” because you don’t know what else to say. You have so much to say and so much to give. Go find it.

With Love,

Michelle Mansfield Blog

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