I used to stress that as a mother I didn’t have my shit together well enough. Chloe doesn’t have scheduled nap times. She stays up late. I don’t cook dinners. She doesn’t go to preschool. We just kinda wing it every day.
I can’t even tell you how much grief I’ve given myself over any of those. Will she be behind? Am I giving her bad habits? Will she be unruly and undisciplined in the future because I’ve lacked such structure?
Mamas everywhere can take a sigh of relief, because the answer is no.
What I’ve learned recently is there is a big difference between “lacking” a little somethin’ somethin’ and your somethin’ somethin’ just being a little different.
A big one I’ve gotten lately is how late Chloe goes to bed. I’ll be honest, it’s usually between 11 and 11:30 pm. *Cue the gasping moms of the Facebook troll world* But for my little family of two, Chloe and I, it works for us to be different. And here’s why–
As every mother knows, a mom’s free time, especially when they’re single and raising their child alone, is when the baby is sleeping. Plain and simple. I do the chores while she sleeps, I exercise while she sleeps, everything, hell, the entirety of my marathon training was done while that kid slept. When she’s awake, she gets my full attention.
Because I work from home and Chloe does not go to preschool, she is able to sleep in until 10 am after going to bed around 11 pm. And because I don’t have work to have an 9 to 5, I can use the 6 to 10am hours as my free time- pretty productive hours I’d say. Before, when I was afraid of doing things differently, Chloe had a rather strict bedtime of 8 or 9 pm. Then my free time would be from the moment she fell asleep until I fell asleep a few hours later. And let’s be real here…. Between 8 and 11 pm I’m watching Friends reruns and battling urges for junk food and wine, NOT working on myself, my home, or anything that will make me a better mother or benefit Chloe.
Last night, we stayed up late. This morning while Chloe slept, I ran, I had coffee and actually sat down, I cleaned the house, I took a candlelit bubble bath, I meditated, I journaled, and I set my intentions for the day. I feel so much more like myself. I feel real. I feel like me, truly authentic, this unfamiliar feeling that us mamas seem to be grasping at. I’m so much more available for my daughter. I am present.
And NOTHING that allows a mother to be a better mother is ever wrong. Sure, I could wake up to get things done at 4 am instead of 7 am. Unfortunately, I know that’s unrealistic for us because in order to get adequate sleep I’d have to be getting ready for bed at 8 pm and Chloe and I love to go to events and visit our family and friends, most of whom aren’t available until the evening hours. It’s an option, but not the option that serves our little family best.
So just because our schedule is different, it does not make it wrong. Chloe does not make me less of a mother. It does not mean that my household does not have its shit together.
And finally, my point. Ahh… points. Mamas, we have GOT to stop giving ourselves grief, judging ourselves, or judging others because another mother decided something different worked better for them. Freeing yourself of the ridiculous amount of mom guilt we all experience will give you clarity, peace, and an even greater capacity to love.
You do you, mama bear.
Oh, and Happy Halloween! Are you trick-or-treating tonight? Show me your littles!
Love, the Wonder Women