Finding What I Enjoy in Motherhood
Each time a new week starts, I’m determined to be a fun mom. I want to put my kids to bed each night with huge smiles on their faces thinking about how much fun they had with me that day. And I want to go to bed each night thinking of how I chose my kids over my phone, or my work, or any other distractions that crop up throughout the day. And each week? I’m pretty sure I’ve failed.
I’ve often tried to find ways to keep my work time during my work time and my kid time during my kid time, but as a work at home mom, I find that the two are often intertwined, and that is my fault. I need to learn that emails don’t need to be answered right away, that it’s okay to take a break from work and focus on my boys. And yet week after week, I struggle with this concept.
One thing that doesn’t help is that I am finding the things the boys want to play, I don’t. I am not a mom who loves to play make believe. I am not one who wants to run around as a superhero (or, more often, the damsel in distress with her cat up a tree) for hours on end. I can do these things for a few minutes and then I often find myself looking for a distraction, whether I realize it or not.
I am a creative mom - I want to build things and do art projects and experiments. Some of my favorite times with Henry are during what we call “art hour” where we’ll break out his crayons and markers and color together, or make drawings based on upcoming holidays and then plaster them throughout the house. I’m also a mom who wants to run around outside and play sports. Those are the things I love to do with my kids.
Recently, while listening to the 3 in 30 podcast, they talked about finding joy in motherhood again, something I knew I had been lacking. One of the main takeaways was finding what YOU love to do with your kids and doing that during your time together. It seems so simple, but I often find myself feeling guilty that I don’t want to do what they want to do. But on the podcast, they made it very simple - I do the things I enjoy doing with them, they see a happier mommy and a mommy who wants to play with them for much, much longer.
And those things they want to do that I don’t enjoy? They can do those during their independent play, or with their Daddy, or grandparents.
Once again I was feeling mom guilt for not doing it all. When really, the truth is, all they want is time to play with me. Sure, sometimes they might desperately want to play superheroes while I want to color, and during those times, we’ll compromise. But for the most part, the thing they want most? Time with me. That’s it. Simple as that.
I have a new outlook now. A few new tricks up my sleeve. I want to bring my joy back to motherhood. So I am arming myself with a list of things I love to do, I am turning all remaining notifications off on my phone, and I am leaving my phone in the kitchen where it won’t disturb me.
Will I be perfect at this every day all day? Of course not, but at least it’s a start, a promise to be present. And hopefully, smiling faces at the end of the day, from all of us.