I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but the day I became a mom is the day I decided I had to do it all. I would be the wife that has a clean house, drops it low on demand, keeps her body tight and right, all while being his biggest cheerleader. While all that was happening, I was going to simultaneously be #SuperMommi. I would be one homeschooling, breakfast making, story reading, lullaby singing SuperMommi. There was only one problem, THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE!
As most of you know, my husband is a college basketball coach. What that means is that on a daily basis he spends most days and time away from home than he does with us. Between working in the office, recruiting, phone calls, meetings, practice, road games, and of course dealing with college level shenanigans from his players; he most definitely has his hands full. I won’t lie, there was definitely a time where I resented how much time he had away on his own. The fact that he can jump up and book a flight, pack light, travel alone, eat food while it’s hot, all without thinking twice about childcare, homework assignments, doctor’s appointments or any of the other 10,000 things that run through my head on a regular basis; honestly made me jealous. However, I shoved that aside and vowed to be the doting wife who never missed a home game. There I was, two babies and another kid in tow. Late nights, early mornings, matching outfits, pom poms in hand, ready to cheer on my husband as he chased his dreams. Every now and then I’d swallow the resentment that tried to rise up in my throat as I looked around and saw all that I was sacrificing to help make his dreams come true. After all, that’s what I’m supposed to do right? So just get up and do it anyway, Tierra. Yea the kids are tired. Yes, you haven’t slept. But you and those kids need to be front and center in team colors, so everyone knows what a supportive wife you are. My anger didn’t stop with him. I found myself angry with my kids, too. Angry they got sick on the same day I had a deadline or a meeting. Angry they needed me to rock them back to sleep at night. Angry at every inconvenient part of motherhood that didn’t fit into the narrative I had created in my head to be the mom who has it all together and gets it all done.
“If I could just stay at home with the kids, then I’ll be able to do it all!”
Wrong! I literally couldn’t be wronger (Yes, I know that’s not a word. But trust me. Here, it’s the best word to describe the level of wrongness I experienced.)
About 4 years ago Dre’s job moved us away from family and we felt more comfortable with me staying home with the boys versus sending them to daycare. At the time they were 8, 3, and 1½. While there were some beautiful memories made, I look back at that time and see a mom who was so exhausted and afraid to ask for help, even from her husband, that she drove herself (and probably everyone else in my house) crazy. No days off. No breaks. I was all mom and wife all the time. But why wasn’t I happy? Shouldn’t this be enough? I love them so much, and yet still feel so empty.
It wasn’t until months into being a SAHM that I realized work gave me a sense of accomplishment. I was an event planner and found so much joy in seeing months of hard work come to fruition in a well-planned event.
Motherhood has no finish line.
You wash a load of laundry, just for there to be more loads waiting on you. You feed them, only for them to be hungry again. You sweep the floor 9,567 times a day only to still find crumbs everywhere you turn. You reach one milestone only to find this new stage comes with its own trials and tribulations. That sense of “completion” was gone for me and I wasn’t really sure how to navigate this new territory.
I knew I struggled feeling worthy. I used to love getting dressed up, but now found myself in pajamas or sweats most of the day. Maybe I’d showered, maybe I didn’t. I also remember so clearly the look of disappointment on my husband’s face when he would walk through the door to find the house a mess, dinner not yet cooked, and kids running amuck. Where I looked around and saw fun activities and a day well spent with my kids, he saw himself leaving work only to come home to more work. This was it. I was failing as a wife and a mom. What do I do now?
I CAN’T DO IT ALL EVERYDAY AND THAT’S OK! (I’m screaming at myself, not ya’ll.)
I had to come to the realization that I was only failing myself. My husband still had a loving wife and my kids still had a mom who would literally run through a brick wall for them. I just had to convince myself that what I had to give was enough. Even on the days I couldn’t get it all done. What I gave was enough because it was everything I had in me to give.
I had to really learn to communicate and my needs and be able to listen to my husband’s needs too. We had to talk about our expectations of each other in our roles as husband and wife to each other because suddenly everything had changed. We were both operating from disappointment of the other person not living up to an expectation they didn’t even know existed, and that just wasn’t fair.
I had to slow down and let my kids be kids. I had to release the need to make a to do list and check off every box. And most importantly, I had to be sure I was adding things to the to-do list that brought me JOY. Whether that is something creative, or sometimes just doing nothing, I make sure everyday has something on it that’s just for me. It’s how I refuel and am a better wife and mother to my husband and my kids.
Ultimately, I had to let #SuperMommi die so that Tierra could live and live life abundantly. And I pray you’re able to do the same.
Because, life doesn’t come with a manual, it comes with a M.O.M.