The Good, The Bad, and the Downright Ugly in Parenting

I’ve done a great deal of thinking recently about why I have always had this need to share my journey through blogging – and why I so often choose to talk about the tough stuff and the heavy stuff instead of the light and pretty stuff – and I think it’s because it is the books, stories, and blogs that do just that are the ones that have led and supported me through all the twists and turns my life has taken when I didn’t have a lighthouse to guide me. In a podcast interview, I did last year, the interviewer called me the master of reinvention as I have been married twice, adopted two children, birthed two children, started businesses, failed, succeeded and bobbed and weaved a million times. I have lived nine lives in my very short time on earth.

I have always defined myself as this kind of extreme dichotomy – two polar opposite parts of myself that are kind of always in battle with one another in terms of what fulfills me. I would historically always do one thing all the way, and then shift to do another with the same abandon – always jumping head first into everything I’ve ever done.

I’ve been lucky that my life has been set up in such a way that I have been able to kind of float back and forth between these different priorities – mothering, self, business, romance, love, freedom, travel, creativity, responsibility, fun, and work – never once having to stay in any one box or forced to stick with any one thing for very long without being able to set myself free to move into another part of who I am. I was never just ONE THING – nothing ever took up so much of my life and my identity that I could be defined by it. Even the adoption of my children and the ten years of parenting I did in the past – it was never all consuming enough to define me.

Nothing was ever really enough for me in this life. I always wanted….more. More sunsets, more concerts, more kisses, more romance, more fun, more challenges, more professional pursuits, more experiences, more connections, more friends, more vacations, more music, more memories, more laughter, more of everything this life had to offer. I have always wanted IT ALL…..because truth be told I always saw life as this kind of magical enchanting gift that I wanted to suck every last marrow out of. There were so many things to learn, and experience, and feel, and do. So much life my mom never got to live. In some ways, I felt like I was living for us both.

The past two years (and most of what this blog is about) my life has become more or less consumed by trying to get pregnant, getting pregnant, having babies, and being a mother to four children – age 7 months to 21. Today I am truly more or less simply a mom. There was a time in my life when I believed that anyone who allowed themselves to be defined by motherhood was somehow settling and secretly yearning for more – and surprisingly nothing could be further from the truth for me today.

I have struggled so mightily to fully process just how much this entire thing has changed me. The blogs throughout the years are the chronicle of my nine lives, often times the only way I remember certain things or times in my life and the tool I use to reflect and process all of the pieces together.

I don’t know if I had been where I am today without all the crazy roads I have taken to get here if the sum of all its parts would have had the same profound impact it has had on my life or not. I can just say that for the first time in my life – it is enough – and in some ways too much – as strange as that sounds. I want for nothing more. I know that mothering babies has consumed me in a way that nothing before ever has. I also know that whatever those two little babies added to the mix that is my other children, my marriage, my experiences, my life in all its parts gave me this sense of wanting to be right where I am today. I have everything I have ever wanted in this life – everything I have ever dreamed of having – and there has been this sense of arriving that I never have known before.

I don’t know if that’s what happens when your life is finally aligned with your highest calling or just what happens when your family is complete or just what has happened to me after everything I have been through… but it is a strange and free place to be. I have just wanted to celebrate arriving to this place, I wanted to pop the champagne and sit in this space and just be for a moment with it all. It was as if the world stopped for me and it was perplexing to me that other people were still in this rat race trying to get to something or someplace.

With all of that said, I suppose the most perplexing and frustrating part of this entire experience for me has been how stressful all of this joy really is and how hard it is to keep the pressure and worry at bay enough that you actually enjoy this life you love so much. It’s so insane that I have never been happier in my entire life, and yet most of my day to day is really about trying to stay afloat. There have been so many obstacles to keeping myself in the present and I have recently come to realize that most of it has been an inside job in terms of what unrealistic expectations I have held in terms of the way things were before and how they are now vs. how I thought things should be. I simply don’t think most people are very honest about the journey.

Most of what I have read about parenting and marriage with young kids etc. doesn’t really speak to me in any kind of authentic way about how to allow yourself to be with what is – and how to embrace the chaos and get the support you need to be able to truly enjoy what you worked so hard to achieve. I think people think you have to be happy to be fulfilled – and you can’t deeply struggle and still be grateful and filled with joy at the same time. And for me nothing could be further from the truth.

I want to raise my hand and say – some days I want to drive away, some days I hate my husband, and some days I feel so overwhelmed I can barely form thoughts – and yet I wouldn’t change a single thing about my life. Both things can exist at the same time. My husband once said, perfect people and perfect lives only exist on Instagram – and that is completely true.

My husband and I can bite each other’s heads off and ignore each other for hours and be as sweet and gentle as newlywed’s hours later. I can sob my eyes out in the middle of a sleepless night and then completely melt the next morning at my daughter’s smile. Only most people just show those good times because they feel guilty that the other side exists – it’s as if they are afraid the stress and the difficulty will somehow minimize the love and the gratitude. I am certainly still in transition through this process, but I have learned a great deal in terms of allowing myself to become someone very different than I thought I would be, what perception is versus reality and more than any of that I have allowed myself to become defined by one thing – motherhood while yet refusing to be put in a box in terms of what I feel – both completely in love and overwhelmed all at the same time.

If today were my last day on earth I can honestly say that I have been so beyond blessed and I got to do almost everything I ever wanted to do in this lifetime. I have known love. I have found my purpose. I have felt pain. I have known joy. I have lived a life worth living.

With all of that said, in the day to day of this new role of parenting twins – I’ve needed some real advice and in the trenches support when I am in my stress bubble and trying to stay afloat on the days that I grow horns. It is because of all of this that I have written a series of posts to follow, explaining just how and why this whole baby mom thing has been so transformative – and just how I have come to grips with realigning my expectations and giving myself a well-deserved break from some previously held belief systems that no longer serve me. At the end of the day, I just hope my words and my experiences can shine a light for someone else just trying to find the path back home. Without further ado….The Good, The Bad, and Downright Ugly in Parenting.

Part One: Your Control Freak Emerges

Part Two: When Your Life Becomes Bigger Than You

Part Three: Not Everyone Will Get It

Part Four: The Atom Bomb On Marriage That Is Kids

 

 

 

 

 

 

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