The limited number of hours in each day is never quite equal to the amount of things happening or chores to get done or errands that need ran. It’s hard enough finding time to shower in the midst of being a working mama of three plus a military spouse. Life is insane, always. Somewhere in that hurricane, it’s vital to find those sliver of moments that are for no one but yourself. Call it self-care, call it whatever you want. As long as you make time. Maybe it’s picking up that book you’ve been meaning to finish, after the kids are down and maybe that means letting the dishes soak a little bit longer. Maybe it’s actual sleep, like at a normal hour, which means you’re not up folding laundry passed midnight. Recently for me, it’s getting back to art that makes me happy. Art that has no financial gain for me and is not requested by anyone but myself. Now just like writing, will I always have the time or energy to devote to it? No. But like an old, trusted friend, it will be there waiting for when I need it. When I pick up that watercolor brush or apple pencil it’s like the 400 hats I’ve been wearing all day long are removed. When I’m creating for myself, I’m Carly, not mom, not marketing manager, not Mrs. Brettmann. I’m just Carly. And that, like my loves of fall below, make me deliriously happy.
My first and only child turns 5 this weekend. I’m totally one of those moms “I can’t believe she’s going to be 5!” or “where has the time gone!” The truth is, I never really felt like time went all that fast before she was around. In fact, much of my time was spent staying in bed until 2 pm on Saturday binge watching Law and Order. The only real concern I had was having money to pay my bills and making sure I had clean underwear. The rest of the stuff just happened. If I felt like working out, I did that. If I felt like spending the afternoon crafting, I did it. Chinese food? Sure. I didn’t have to worry about much outside of what I wanted to do at any given time.
Fast forward five years. Where every moment of those five years was captured by child milestones. Time all the sudden seemed to move so quickly when I started watching this small human morph right before my eyes. Wondering how to make her eat more than cheerios, keeping her from running in the road, constantly buying socks because where do they go? I found myself in a constant state of planning for and worrying about my daughter. I fell into defining myself by motherhood. I was a mom and I would do anything for my daughter. End of story.
Uh yeah, no, it’s not though. I’m always going to have an invisible string connecting me to a sassy little girl. But I’m also a product manager, I love my job, I’m knowledgeable, valuable. I’m a big sister, I give advice. I’m a crafty person, usually getting glue on the furniture. I’m a friend, a kickboxer, a kitchen dance party haver. I’m obsessed with tennis shoes, I love a good garage sale, I’m lazy with my laundry. I’d rather spend time in the moment with people I care about than making sure my house is spotless.
So what? The point, that’s what. Who are you?
Who are you?
Who are you?
Being a mother is something you do, it’s not who you are. We already talked about how precious time is, especially when we are mothering our children. So much of our time is dedicated to our kids, it’s no wonder many of us identify ourselves solely as mothers. This is a MSA – Mother Service Announcement – go find yourself. Dedicate time to you. Even if one hour a week, make.it.happen. Try something new, go somewhere uncomfortable, talk to a stranger – learn who you are. And don’t do it for anyone else but yourself. Know yourself, love yourself, challenge yourself, admire yourself – just as you would for your own child. Fight. Fight for that person, she’s in there and she’s well worth the effort.
I think we all agree that most aspects of adulting is hard. One aspect that I’ve worked on for a long time is making friends. See, I work from home and have for going on 5 years now. I’ve also moved to a different state twice and to four different houses in that time. And all in that time frame I was on a mission to find some freakin’ friends. It’s insanely hard to meet people in these circumstances.
The thing about making friends as an adult is that it’s almost impossible not to come off as like a creepy stalker person that is trying to steal someone’s identity or car or something. When we were kids it was like “oh hey, we both like pink! Let’s be best friends!” Could you imagine if you walked up to another adult and said, “hey! We both have red shirts on, we should hang out some time!” Uh, no. Or think about this – how do we teach our kids to make friends? I know I’ve personally told my own kid to say “Hi, I’m (enter kids name here), what’s your name?” Again, that doesn’t work as an adult without causing confusion or alarm.
Because I didn’t have an office to go to every day that had real, live, in-person humans to interact with, I really tried to go the extra mile on the occasions I did get out of the house. Because of that, I’m sharing with you three ways you should not attempt to make friends with someone – from personal experience.
- A woman in the parking lot of the pediatrician’s office. Just because a random woman has a baby the same age as yours and they made eye contact and smiled doesn’t make this a qualifying scenario to attempt friendship. I remember it perfectly, “Well I’m always looking for friends with kids, can I have your phone number, so we can get together?!” Then after no response, I thought it through and yeah, I guess it was pretty weird of me – especially when my former husband said “you did what…”
- The waitress at a restaurant. Yeah, I know. I hate to even put this one, but it’s real. It’s only partially my fault because my former husband knew I was trying hard to find friends, telling the waitress she and I should hang out sometime, asking for her name on facebook. *face palm* nothing more on that one.
- The girl that calls you to say your package was delivered at her house accidentally. So, before you start judging, this one is different. She was the one that wanted to befriend me, but because I was so desperate for friends I didn’t think that was a strange way to befriend someone. I wasn’t alarmed at all that she felt like we had something in common because she opened my package up and it was something she had also bought once… At this point my husband at the time was becoming worried for my safety so I had to figure something else out.
After all the weird attempts, trying way to hard to find friends, I changed my perspective. I decided instead to get out of the house and just do something I like to do even if I knew no one there. This has been wildly successful for me and I’ll tell you why – because the people around me when I’m doing what I like, also like that too.
Throughout the past three years, I have made some of the greatest friends all by happenstance – one at the park with my daughter, one in a boxing class, and then came the friends of friends I got close with. I started up a craft club because I wanted to have people over that like to spend time crafting and drinking wine. Guess what? I gained one of the greatest friends ever. We like crafting and wine and complaining about doing mom things and whatever else we do. And we are uncool, in our 30s and it couldn’t be better. I hope they don’t read this and see that I said we are uncool.
The point of this is that no matter what your age, get out of your comfort zone, find things you enjoy doing and you’ll be surrounded by people who enjoy the very same things. And also, the point is to avoid being the well-intentioned yet super creepy and stalkerish person approaching other people.
I promise to take care of myself. To rest, drink water, and eat all of the calories I can comfortably consume. To not feel guilty about putting my feet up & asking for help.
I promise to feel my feelings. To not judge myself on what I should be doing and to just accept myself, right where I am.
I promise to cherish my squishy belly. To adore it just as much as when my baby was in it. To not wish it away or to want it to go back to “normal.” To talk and think positive thoughts about my body. To purposefully speak self-love so my children can hear it too.
I promise to give myself grace. To not compare myself to others.
I promise to enjoy my sweet newborn baby and all of the cuddles and quiet moments that won’t be here forever.
I promise to re-evaluate my needs constantly. To acknowledge that I am recovering and to be gentle with myself, even when I feel great. And especially when I am feeling tired, slow, and low on energy.