I have two boys, my oldest is three and my youngest is one and a half. It seems the older they are, the more “limited” I feel.
When I first began this post, I tried thinking of all the things I gave up when I became a mom, like sleep, relaxing dinners, or uninterrupted bathroom breaks. However, the more I thought about this, the more I longed for the “easier” newborn days (as if that exists!) when I could still window shop, take road trips, or talk on the phone.
Aside from naps and an early bedtime, I didn’t feel limited in early motherhood. I could tailor each day to the schedule I liked best.
Until my youngest turned one, I was still able to run errands, go to doctor appointments, and take both boys to the gym without feeling completely run down. It wasn’t until I took my boys on a weekend beach trip as the solo parent that I realized I was trying to do everything I used to when I had a young toddler and a baby. I was pushing myself, and my boys, beyond our limits. Limits that I didn’t want to admit to because “it used to be easy,” and “so and so” can do it, so why can’t I?
Yet, that’s the thing about limitations, they’re different for everyone.
I knew going into this trip that my now one and a half year old does not sleep well on car trips, and my oldest fights his naps daily. I knew that I don’t like driving longer than an hour at a time. Still, I pushed myself and my boys past our limits because I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it all. So, I decided in Florida that I was done pushing our kids’ limits for my own selfish reasons. I decided that I was going to thrive within our current limitations rather than cling to the way things used to be, even if it means saying no to the beach.
I want to appreciate and value the young boys that I am raising now and not wish for the “easier” days when they only slept and ate. These imaginative, loving, active toddlers need a mom that is willing to honor hers and their limits and to know when to say no to fun opportunities for the sake of our physical and emotional health. They need a mom who is able to model contentment in her current situation and not cling to the past.
Ways that I’ve accepted our limitations
- Deciding what is most important to me and my family in this season and making room for it.
- Saying no to invitations or requests that will make our schedule too busy or stressful, (even if it’s fun, or there is space to say yes).
- Making relaxed family time a priority.
- Prioritize “fun” time with my boys, just the three of us, in order to bond with them without feeling the pressure to check off my to-do list. We usually go to the Knock Knock Museum or the Highland Park Splash Pad.
- Finding better systems for the weekly frustrations, like grocery shopping and housework. I recently tried Shipt and love it! I know it means an added line to our budget, but in this season it works for us, and there are other cheaper options to explore like Wal-Mart’s grocery pick up.
- Not comparing my motherhood to other moms. We all have our own strengths and journeys!