I’m not always ‘that mom.’ The one who brings in treat bags, cookies, cakes, games, or other thoughtful pieces of holiday goodness for little ones. I’m not always smiling or feeling like I have my act together, because to be honest I don’t. Most days I’m just doing my best, trying to remember all of the balls that are juggling in the air.
However, there are some days when I find the time, the little extra window in my day where I can appreciate the smallness of my children and drop into a Dollar Tree and put together silly little bags for dance class.
There’s a few reasons I felt called to write this post, and most importantly that it’s OKAY to be that mom who forgets or didn’t have time to do something extra. It’s also OKAY to be the mom who does.
This morning as I worked out, I figured afterwards I would take Bradley over to the Dollar Tree and pick up some glow sticks for our pumpkins to light up. I then remembered last year’s dance class “Halloween Party” and how it sent me spiraling into an emotional meltdown. I feel that it’s important to share these things, because to some people, it may look like I have it all figured out. I simply stay home, raise kids, cook a lot of food, run a real estate business, take care of two dogs and do most housework because my husband works crazy hours. But the point is, I do it mostly alone, with little help here and there. The pressure I put on myself (yup, it’s me and my mind!) can sometimes bring me to a breaking point, thus resulting in last year’s escapade.
I remember sending some friends a Marco Polo after getting home from dance class. I just rewatched it, and man I want to hug that girl! My eyes were swollen from hysterically crying and I remember just feeling alone, like a failure and like I should just go on meds because I felt just absolutely crazy. (Disclaimer, I do believe medicine has a purpose, I just don’t think it’s best for me, at this time.)
Why was I so upset? Because I knew that Brooke (who was in her 4th year of dance) would be having a little Halloween party. I knew the other moms/girls would have treats or trinkets for the girls to give out. I also just didn’t go to the store and get some…
Prior to dance class I had been going around and around with a frustrating tenant who fell behind on the rent, and was arguing with me that he had paid x amount when my records showed differently. I was extremely frustrated and since this was really the first tenant we had any issues with, it truly caught me off guard. I let my emotions get in the way, some insecurities and such, and it just threw me.
But when I went to pick up Brooke at dance, I felt like she was the only one who didn’t have something to pass out to her little friends. It killed me. Now, I knew even then, that no one really cared about the candy (hello, they’d all be getting SO much more in another day trick-or-treating) but the fact was, that I enjoyed doing the little things for her and her dance friends. I love holidays, even Halloween, mostly because of the magical element of innocence, simplicity and wonder it brings out in the kids. I sat there, with tears welling in my eyes as I saw the girls exchange and Brookie looked at me like, where’s my bags to give out? Of course her 5 year old self didn’t say anything, but it hurt and clearly still haunts me to today. Why? Because I was not being my authentic self that day. It was a number of things that lead to that feeling, but I truly felt like a shell of myself this time last year.
It’s about the effort. It’s about doing something, even if it’s little, if you can and want to. It’s about not letting negative people who aren’t paying their rent, bring you down. It’s about rising up even after you may have failed, and getting a second chance to do something right this time. It’s about asking for help, whether it means paying a sitter a lot of money to have time away, or hiring a cleaning service to help you get your house back in order. It’s about being the mom you want to be, not what anyone else may expect or want from you. It’s about loving yourself in the moment, even if you don’t want to.
That girl a year ago had a lot of growing up to do. It wasn’t just about not having a silly bag of Dollar Tree goodies (that may or may not end up in a dog’s mouth or the garbage) but it is more about SELF LOVE. SELF COMPASSION. SELF WORTH. SELF IMPROVEMENT. This past year I have worked on ME so much and it has made me a better, happier, stronger, mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, human. Anyone who tells you differently, makes fun of you for working on YOU, has more work to do on themselves. Let me say that again, any person who tries to say anything negative about loving herself, has a lot of growing to do and it’s not up to you to fix her. We can only change ourselves, that is all. Other can learn by us leading by example.
I had some major changes that had to take place that were not easy. Shortly after this episode, I had to walk away from a friendship that was no longer serving me. I had to put myself first and join the gym again. I had to surround myself with loving, encouraging friends that lifted my spirits. . . I needed to find out what made JENN happy. (This blog from last year explains a bit more.)
Life is not always easy, nor do I expect it so. I think one of the most beautiful aspects of life is that we can look back and truly grow from our experiences. I write all of these words not to brag about my goodie bag, but to share that you are right where you need to be right now, friend. Whether you’re a mom or not, whether you are struggling, or feeling high on life, everything is going to be okay. It’s not all perfect, it’s not all going to fall into place, but each day we have the chance to be a little better than we were yesterday.
So stop beating yourself up about what you did or didn’t get to do, and maybe just go out and do it now. Make the cookies. Join the gym. Read the book. Cancel the cable. Take the class. Join the side hustle. Whatever is speaking to your soul, listen. The more wound up I find myself getting, the more I need to simplify and quiet my world around me so that I can hear what I am being called to do.
I hope that you can begin to listen too.