Accepting Your Season of Life
This is something I've been struggling with a lot lately. I guess you could say that I have mini-FOMO! One of the dangers of social media is that it's a lot easier to see what other people are doing and wish you were doing the same thing. Whether that means taking a huge leap in their career, traveling constantly, or chasing their dreams (whatever that means for them), it's so easy to get caught up in seeing what other people are doing and comparing that to your own life.
I just recently did a podcast with another mama, and we talked briefly about this, but it's been weighing on me pretty hard the past few weeks as we approach spring and the warmer months. Everyone comes out of social hibernation and the event calendars fill up quickly. THat's where my FOMO kicks in. There are networking events, ballgames, blogger events... you name it, it's happening in the city.
It's one thing to juggle social calendars and make sure to give yourself time to sleep, recharge, and still be out and about on the social scene.
But when you're a mom, it's totally different.
I watch from afar and follow along with events on Instagram or Facebook, because I very rarely get time out of the house. And that's where my mindset comes in.
I'm not "new" at the whole motherhood thing, but I'm still fresh enough that I am still adjusting and getting used to rearranging my life for 2 little kids. And I find myself getting grumpy and irritated after hearing "Mommy, Mommy... MOM!" 276 times before 10am.
There are days that I miss going into an office and socializing with other adults and working in a collaborative environment. It fuels my creativity to bounce ideas off of other creatives and brainstorm while working. Having conversations about life and weekend plans during lunch breaks. None of that happens when you work from home with kids.
Events go unattended, even though maybe the plan was to go. I can't even begin to count the number of events that I plan to go to, and then last minute have to cancel because my kids get sick, or the babysitter cancels, or Brian's work schedule changes... whatever the case is, I constantly cancel plans. And it makes me kind of grumpy.
I know it's unavoidable, but canceling plans with other adults (after only having the company of 2 kids under 3 all day) really bums me out. Hard. It's not their fault. And I try very hard to not take it out on them, but it usually affects how I interact with hubby.
That's not fair, and it's something I'm working on.
The biggest thing for me that helps is to think about my mindset. It's not a natural thing, and it's a slow process, but there are a few things I do when I'm going through a "down" moment.
Another thing I see constantly struggle with (when it comes to the comparison trap), are all the forms of self-indulgences and splurges people make. Maybe because they got a promotion, they had a stressful week, or are celebrating a milestone. They get a new designer bag, a spa day,
It really hits me when I've had a long week with terrible work deadlines, a fussy baby, and a toddler who is sometimes a terror (terrible 2's can stop any time now). When do I get my moment of free time? It's not that simple for me. Being a mom is my real, full-time job, and it's a 24/7 position. Even when the kids aren't with me, I'm still thinking about them, doing their laundry, prepping their food, etc. So on top of the work I get paid to do, my full devotion is to being a mom. Juggling it all is my newfound talent.
Changing my mindset isn't something that is easy for me. I'm learning how to juggle kids, work, my domestic goddess duties, and still try to have some kind of social life. I'm learning how to let go of my FOMO and be happy and content with having JOMO. (Joy-of-missing-out, for all you newbies!)
Instead of feeling bummed about what I'm missing out on, I stop. I stop myself, before I start to get a little jealous, frustrated, or even lonely. Those who I am comparing myself to are in a different season of life.
Maybe they are single, don't have kids, and have a phenomenal 9-5 job. They obviously have loads of free time and have the ability to do whatever they want. Or maybe they're older and went through the same phase I'm in, but are on the other side. They dealt with the years of diaper changes, late nights with no sleep, and learning to function on a gallon of coffee. I find myself comparing myself to people who aren't on the same playing field, for pete's sake... sometimes it's a totally different ballgame. The single college girl or the military wife. The stay-at-home-mom or the "trophy wife." It isn't fair to myself to compare myself to people who are in completely different seasons of life.
I'm married, have 2 small kids, and have a job that lets me work whenever, as long as I meet deadlines. I have bills to pay, kids to feed and clothe, and a house to maintain. There's no real reason for me to complain. But the "grass is always greener..."
For all we know, the person who we "envy" the most on social media may be looking at us and be envious of what we have. I've said it once, and I'll say it again - social media is the highlight reel. You don't see all the bad and ugly times.
So I take into account that everyone experiences life very differently, and so I stop comparing myself. If only it were that easy. But it's a start.
I'm fortunate that I get to work from home everyday.
I'm blessed to be able to stay home with my kids everyday.
I am lucky that my husband has a great job that allows me to stay at home.
I stop thinking about what I'm missing out on and start listing the things I GET to do instead.
I get to tuck my girls into bed every night.
I get to spend huge chunks of time playing with them and watching them grow.
There are days when we read dozen of books and I get to see Caroline learn and think about each story and hear her ideas and thoughts.
I get to wear sweatpants/loungewear everyday
I get to learn the theme songs to Peppa Pig, Fancy Nancy, and Puppy Dog Pals, because it helps me relate to Caroline and know what she's learning.
I get to teach Caroline how to bake cookies, make smoothies, and have her help me in the kitchen, no matter how messy
We have family days and I get to have a flexible schedule that allows me to work when I can
I get to take vacations with my family and spend time with the girls doing new things
The list goes on. It's all in how I look at things, and accepting that this is the season of life that I'm in right now. Yes, I miss out on events, happy hours, trips, etc. but that's okay - it'll happen one day. And while I'm out doing things, I'll find myself wishing for these days again.
Days are chaotic, hectic, and a constant stream of dirty diapers, but I'm fortunate that I can be with my girls and we don't ship them off to daycare every morning. I'm finding my new stride as a full-time SAHM (well, really WAHM), and with all new things, there is a learning curve.
Changing my mindset to appreciate the amazing life I have and that my husband and I are building is a process, but it's helping me love the season of life that I'm in. It's also teaching me to accept that the things I want aren't impossible, just not possible right now. It will only make me appreciate them later in life.