Thursday, March 21, 2013

Time to Confess

Dear Readers, 
I have a confession to make. 

I have not been nourishing myself properly. 
I have not been creating to the extent I need to, in order to feel like myself. 
As a result, I have not been blooming. 
I feel like I've lost my sparkle.

This parenting gig is hard. Harder than I anticipated and I feel like it's kicking my ass. The first year of my daughter's life I was high from the euphoria of finally becoming a mama. Toddlerhood is a different story. My little one is spirited. A climber. Fearless. Fast. And Loud. 

She might end up being an only child.

I now know why "it takes a village." The problem is we don't have a village here in Dallas and minimal traveling familial help. My hubby works at least 60 hours a week and often travels. Almost all the other mamas in my moms group are preggers or just had a baby and I am thinking: how the hell does anyone have more than one child? 

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE my daughter. She is my glitter. My heart and soul. My joy. My snuggle. 

She is also the cause of my sleep deprivation (anyone who knows me knows I need a lot of sleep to function) and the cause of my new white hairs (still so few I can pluck them, thank goodness.) 

I've lost balance. When she first clung to my leg, my heart melted. Now, I would just like to walk unencumbered. 

Yes, I can hire help. But now that I'm a parent, I finally understand what mommy guilt is. I don't want to stick her with an anonymous sitter.

There is more of me (I gained a few pounds) and less of me (mojo, where did you go?). Is the creative, hip woman I used to be inside this mama who wears yoga pants everyday? On the positive side, I've also gained insight and empathy for all who are in a similar situation. Caregiving is tough. Caregiving with limited support is extremely tough. 

Sometimes I cry to my husband, "I feel like a failure! How is everyone else doing this?" He says, "Look at her! She is thriving!" And it's true, she is. But look at me. I need to find some middle ground before she sucks me dry.

I don't want to model self-neglect to my daughter. 

I want to be a mama who sparkles.

So, in December, I made a choice to focus on my own care. I'm fighting the mommy guilt head on. And it is not easy, folks. I joined a new gym (the last one kept kicking her out of the day care for crying too long) and I've set monthly goals for myself that I'm tracking in a fabulous Wizard of Oz datebook that my mother-in-law gave me. At first, I was also recording everything I did that nourished my body and soul (crafty time, writing time, baths, etc.) I've had 2 set backs, but each time I got back up, and that's all that counts. And I'm now taking my own professional advice on balance (which I took pre-baby, back when it was easier.) Preschool a few days a week has also turned out to be life-changing.

So, I'm not going to pretend that I am a mama who has it all together. My hope is that my confession helps me stay on the path back to myself. I also hope it helps you as much as it helps me. Maybe you need a bit of a kick in the butt too to start making your health and happiness a priority.

So, tell me, dear readers: What are your struggles and what are your goals? How are you making your wellness a priority, or how are you going to do so moving forward? Please share your insights here to help others. Or share your struggles and seek support. Or share your plans: how are you going to nourish your sparkle?


  1. I keep other people's young babies every Wednesday. It is a deep joy for me to see this one girl named Brynlee and this other boy named ?? Shoot, I always for get his "cool" name, he's a blue eyed blonde kid that 25 years ago would have been precious John boy. :) He's a go getter, he's vocal and the fastest one in the group. He will also come up from behind and give me a big hug. Such a love muffin. And Brynlee is wicked smart and has a great sense of humor. She laughs at all my jokes so I'm a big fan of hers, too. There are other great babies. I think it's a lie mothers tell themselves that caregivers aren't loving. That's what makes them sign up for the position. And if not, then keep interviewing. I see it in the momma's eyes when they pick their children up, like I didn't love with my whole heart for the two hours they are mine. The truth is we have big fun together. We laugh and play and dance and we make up new verses to the songs we know by heart. Now, when it comes to my own child, it's difficult because she's VOCAL about how she doesn't want to be anywhere else but in the house with me, glued to my leg so to speak, though we are both doing our thing, just not as creatively. I keep wishing I had "best friend" help to hang with her after school so I could continue to work. the day is so short, but I struggle with not being there for her even if I am there. Her emotional needs are more now. and I'd heard other mothers say that. Being her mother to support her and help her reach and grow yet take her concerns to heart, I feel like I get my butt kicked every day. But God picked me for this job and I pick myself to give the best I can daily in a babystep way. A little of this, a little of that. some days are a little heavier on Me creative, and some I drop everything to be with her. You are the perfect mama, Kathianne. Trust your instincts to nourish yourself, nourish her and your family. Everybody grows when we do. I love you and I send you big blessings today and always. Because yes, you both can. :) And the perfect match for "caregiving" awaits. Your toddler is a blessing to all who witness her free spirit just as it is. xoxo

  2. Kristen,
    Your comment made me teary. And made me think about the caregiver part. And I love when you said, "God picked me for this job." That makes me feel better. I believe she picked me to be her mama when she was still up in heaven. Like I tell her, "Of all the mamas and and all the babies in the whole while world, I'm so glad we found each other." I love you too, K-Ro!

  3. Love this post!
    I totally can relate to much of it...good for you for getting it out there!

    Try to GET a few hours at least a week during the day to yourself. I am lucky to have my inlaws spend time with Perianna, but other Moms I know here who don't have families get a bit of help.

    Your husband has a very demanding job and you do too! So, add on your list to find a special caregiver for her at least a few hours twice a week. Do something even if small for yourself every day! Another thought is to swap our care with another mom/kiddo to for play-dates so you can get a few hours to yourself.

    Wish you lived closer we could help each other out and have fun!

  4. Anonymous2:36 PM CDT

    I struggled will my innate will and desire to NOT be like my mother and other females in my family. Specifically, having and striving for a career - not just a job. Working, going to school, and ultimately travelling to move my career along. My 2 started with "babysitters" at 6 weeks old - that was the norm then. I also worked some weekends. Because of this (I guess),I didn't give a lot of thought to my own care. My major parenting rule was "play time." When I wasn't working, I made it a priority to play with my kids, even through sleep deprivation. As a military family there were lots of kids around with parents who also liked to play - that village you talk about - so, I had lots of "quasi" family help and advice. I now know how blessed I was then. I couldn't have survived without them, being so far away from family. So, I can relate to your statement. ... However, please note; YaYa has "suitcase will travel", and I'm just a few hours away. :) Good, bad or indifferent; my generation of Mamas basically just put one foot in front of the other and kept moving. I can't remember ever thinking that I wasn't taking care of myself and I never thought of what I might be missing - Mr. Bill (like your husband) was a great Dad; also sometimes working 60 hours a week. I did everything that I wanted to do (school, teaching, exercise, crafting ... etc.) with him picking up whatever slack was need while I was busy being "busy" and he still does. So, I never felt deprived. I quess what I'm trying to say is - Mamas (and Daddies)are tough. I promise you - every hour lost in sleep, every hour of angst, every feeling of inadequacy and imperfection will ALWAYS be forgotten and replaced with the smile of that little ball of energy known as your bundle of joy. Take your vitamins though, that little bundle of yours is destined to be perpetually on the move. Love ... YaYa

  5. Anonymous5:57 PM CDT

    thank you so very very much for this post kathianne!!!! i absolutely can relate with everything you wrote. my daughter will be 3 in a few months and my son ( he was a huge surprise ) ust turned i am coming out of the fog that is the first year of caring for my babies.....they dont sleep well . you have inspired me to get started on a path of self care !

  6. I feel your pain, Kathianne. Whether you are a stay at home Mom, work full time or part time, babies are hard. They are beyond needy. My son is an angel at daycare but saves his neediness for us (especially me). I work from home and most days it is all I can do to throw on some sweats, put my hair in a pony tail and get him dressed and fed and off to school to start working by 7:30 am. I stop working at 4:00 and then get an hour to exercise, shower, clean up then I brace myself for when he gets home at 5:00 with Dad. Somedays he is happy, somedays he is crying, but he is always loud. I know though that these years go by so quickly and I sometimes feel guilt for having him in daycare full time. We all just do what we need to take care of our families and ourselves. He loves his friends at daycare and is learning a lot but really craves our attention too. We do the best we can. I still have an extra ten pounds to lose and I do the best I can with that too. So send her to pre-school and don't feel guilty! She will learn valuable social skills for school.

  7. Anonymous7:57 AM CDT

    Kats, you are such a great mom. Your daughter is bright and happy, because of the sacrifice you've made. That's what we moms do, we sacrifice the "me time". This sacrifice makes all the difference in our children's lives and it will pay off ( that's what motivates me). The Pay off.
    Life as it used to be is no more. It's different and it takes time to adjust. Finding a new normal. We are not who we were @ the U. Thank God, cause I've come a long way. Reality check we are getting older and can not afford to take care of ourselves. Take care of the caregiver.Otherwise we are no good for anyone else.

    I have a confession......I wish I could be there for you more. And I need your energy as well. Since you and your family moved to Dallas, I think about you all the time. I don't reach out to you as much as I'd like to. But the truth is my life as a single mom is CHAOTIC ( in a good way). I have lots of positive things going on, but I'm unorganized and it causes me to become overwhelmed. Sacha and Sherman are getting older. They are involved in church activities, school activities, sports, homework,my mom,my grandma, my BUSINESS! Imagine not having your husband to support you through. I know, you feel like a single mom, right. Well your not.
    Energy....what is that? I feel guilty because some days my kids have to fend for themselves because I fall asleep before they do.
    No one has it all together, it is impossible. We can only give our all and in the end, we won't regret it.

    You're so organized, you have a space for everything.

    It does take a village to raise a child and I am making a commitment this morning to become apart of your village, because I need you to be apart of mine.
    Confession does help. I feel better already and I hope you do too. Sounds like you're on the right track to getting your mojo back. Let's help each other.

    1. Shellie,
      Thank you for your kind words. Spending time with you and your two amazing children, even though is has been infrequent, has been a highlight of living here in Dallas. I would like very much to be a part of your village, and welcome your support in mine as well. Great single moms like you, and my friend Hollie, are my heros. I don't know how you do it. Seriously. I am in awe. -Kats

  8. Thank you, Dear Readers, for all of your comments here and on Facebook. Your support, insight, and sweet words are making me shine. I can feel the sparkle coming back. With gratitude, Kathianne