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Balancing being a mom vs. having personal time the right away

Aug 3, 2018

A couple of years ago I had the opportunity with our family to be in a Mormon Message Video. I will be honest, back then that was a dream come true. We used to watch them all the time and I had always dreamt of being in one.So when we were invited to do one I was beyond excited.

I remember was so excited when it finally came out. But then disappointment hit me. I will tell you why. We also had the opportunity to do an interview after the video. My interview was never published. I don’t know why to this day. I remember that one of my first instincts was to blame myself for it. I thought that maybe I had said something wrong. Did I not smile enough?  Was my hair bad? I hadn’t had time to do it that morning since we started filming at 8 am. Back then I was so not a morning person. I also hadn’t discovered caffeine yet. JK! 

I do remember that they ran out of batteries at some point. I think they couldn’t record some of it. At least that was what my always super positive husband who sees good intentions in everything said. 

A lot of the questions I had been asked, had to do with stay at home mom management. 

I cannot even remember anymore a lot of the things that we actually said in that interview, but one of them that stack out to me and I remember saying, is the following.

I was asked how we decided that it was time to have children. I remember that I said that when I was close to graduating from college, I was thinking about my future options. Before college I had secretly always wanted to go to beauty school. Now that I was graduating, I still had that desire. 

I had lots f other things that I wanted to pursue and I knew I could have taken the time to work on those first. But I didn’t want to go into debt for an education. Beauty school would have meant student debt. At the time I didn’t want the burden of having a student loan if after schooling I decided to stay at home and have children right away. I always knew I had always wanted to be a mother.

I remember that I finally explained on that camera interview that I had decided that I had enough Me Time in my life. I called it ME TIME as in how I was wanting to spend my time in life going forward. I felt that I had dedicated enough of my life to my education, and to growing my personal skills, and that now was the time to dedicate my time to someone else. For me that meant to start having children and dedicate my time to raising them. 

I was ready to teach someone else now.

Being a mom means spending a lot of time in the service of others. Even if a mom works, when around her children a mother doesn’t get paid for what she does. A mom gets very little recognition for all of her sacrifices. Society rarely praises moms. Children often don’t praise moms. Sometimes even spouses don’t. So moms don’t get as much me time at all. If you already are a mom you know exactly what I am talking about right now. 

I made the personal choice to NOT work when we started having children even if it meant making financial sacrifices. I didn’t want to look back some day and have regrets that I wasn’t there when our took their first steps, or before falling asleep.

 I had dreamt of becoming a mother since I was a teenager so for me it came as a natural choice to stay home. I was not about to mess up while living my dream. 

I was 22 when I started having children. I was done having my last child 6 days before I turned 31. Because I was so young I still had fresh memories of what it was like to be a kid. I enjoyed playing with my kids and doing child like activities a lot more because I was still a kid myself.

I really enjoyed being at home with my kids. At times being at home all the time has been a little depressing. Because of the sacrifices we had to make when finances were tight, for many years I didn’t have a car when my husband had to go to work. I was fortunate enough that he always worked for home. Yet we still had to juggle each other schedules with precision.

I spent many days at home only dreaming of some day having the freedom and financial resources that many other families had. In due time finances got better. My husband was able to progress with his education and his careers. We never had to cut back because we had to go from two incomes to one. We only knew one option. We grew as a family as the finances increased.

With each stage of life I have had to manage my time as a mom in different ways. 

As I have grown older and wiser I have learned that even stay at home moms need time management. They also need to have fun. They need an outlet. They can still educate themselves. They can still have hobbies, exercise, eat healthy. Heck, they can also have a side business or a job. 

I have had to work on making time to find activities that I still enjoy. When I started my parenting journey, I didn’t understand how important it is to have fun to avoid burn out. I didn’t burn out right away as a parent but I sure did at some point. Once I reached that tipping point I could no longer ignore how important it is for a mom to have fun. 

ME TIME over the years has been different. But personal time and mom time management has become more and more of a priority as the years go by to prevent burn out. A sad mom for a prolonged period of time, is not right. It isn’t necessary to drive oneself to self destruction. 

To make time for myself and to still be present as a mother I have had to be really wise with when I choose to do what. I also have had to be ok with being interrupted. I still need to be ready to drop what I like to do when the kids need me so I can be present. Children need to know that they matter. They need to know that we are available. I remind myself to not act annoyed if I have to stop what I am doing for myself some days. As they are all getting older it’s becoming easier for them to respect my time and wait if we need to talk. The are also more independent and it has allowed me to have longer periods of time for myself. 

There have been stages when the kids were little where I was running after the kids needs on a daily basis with very little breaks. I felt strengthen during those times. I was tired but I wanted to do it and I did it each and every day. Life has a way to give you the strength to do what comes your way every time you need it. Perhaps as the kids are getting older I also needed even more personal time so that I would not miss their absence and how they are slowly becoming more independent.  I always knew I wasn’t raising them for me. I was raising them to be ready to go things on their own. Now I am slowly detaching that umbilical cord. 

Personal time can take different forms. It doesn’t have to be just shopping. In fact that is not even good for finances. For me mom time has meant to educate myself. Over the years, I must say that while I took a break from working full time. I no longer was going  to actual classrooms until recently. I have also been able here and there to educate myself.  In lots of fields by doing online courses. I read lots of books too. 

I have worked here and there a little bit in my husband’s business. I have yet to go to beauty school because that is a very hands on type of education, but I know that if I decide to do it in the future I will be able to do it.

I have also had many opportunities to think about what I want. Some of my hobbies that I have considered turning into businesses, over time have fizzled away. I am glad I didn’t quite pursue them right away now. I had lots of  time to think about what I truly wanted over time vs. what I only enjoyed doing for myself.  Luckily I had the time to  think about what to pursue next from the comfort of my home, and not after pulling out a business loan. 

Many moms may have to make sacrifices and make decisions when there is no other option. That is also a great drive, though. Sometimes having your back against the wall is the fire one’s needs to just start something. 

Remember that this was my personal journey and thoughts. Everyone is different. Since that interview was never published I wanted to take the time to share it.

What is your favorite way to have fun personal time? Have you made a list of at least 10 items to keep handy for when life gets so repetitive and you are stuck in a funk? Tell me in the comments! 

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Serena Essuman

   

Serena Essuman

   
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