The inspiration for this post came from a poll on Instagram, as I asked what you like to see here on Life In Leggings and the topics shared on the coordinating social pages.
Health and fitness related content will always be the focus here, but I also like to include life along the way (hence the title of this blog!), and it was a pleasant surprise to read that many of you like to hear about the ups and downs in parenthood, the real life coffee talks and Day in the Life chatter, too.
Accounts that cover this type of content mixed into the good stuff have always been my personal style and preference when choosing who to follow. It’s refreshing to read past the perfectly curated squares, no? We’re not robots, and the right dose of real life mixed in with the posts and videos that can really help change habits into healthier ones is the sweet spot that I like to be in and create.
So, thank you for your input! That is exactly what got us here today talking about juggling parenting a toddler with work, personal and professional goals, a social life, travels, everyday responsibilities and obligations, and just about anything and everything else.
Spoiler alert, it isn’t easy, and I certainly don’t have it all together or perfected. I think it’s important to touch on that so it’s not forgotten, and I wanted to share a few things that I have learned in this journey with you.
I’ve always known that I wanted to be a mother. Those who have been reading for awhile already know that it wasn’t an easy road into parenthood, and it came with many years of infertility struggles and losses. But, those extremely difficult seasons had a baby boy named Skyler (now three years old) at the end of the rainbow waiting for us, and he was one thousand percent worth every tear shed through the storm. That is undeniable.
The future isn’t clear for us, and I don’t know if we will be adding more kids into the mix, but I do know that parenting even one awesome and very energetic toddler can be a handful and all consuming. You literally put the needs of someone else first, for every minute of every day, which means that you sometimes put yourself last. That’s just how it goes, and this concept can be a difficult transition for a lot of people … especially as a new mom.
Working Mom Transitioning Into a Work/Stay At Home Mom
I’ve seen both sides of being a working mom; working full-time outside of the home with the help of a part-time nanny and a very hands-on husband, and working at home and for myself while running my own online businesses. Being able to earn an income at home has been a dream of mine since I knew I wanted kids. There are definitely pros and cons to both sides, as you either have more uninterrupted time to dedicate to your career or more time to spend at home with your family. You also have a choice of steady income and benefits or choosing your own hours to work whenever, wherever it makes sense at a possible pay cut.
Just about a year and a half ago, I transitioned out of working full-time and into working for myself at home, and please hear me and know that I mean it when I say that neither option is “better” than the other. People choose what route and role is best for their own family and needs during different seasons, and that is pretty cool to me.
This transition could be the focus of a post all on its own, so let’s move on and wrap all of that up by saying both have contrasting challenges every day. You’re either stressed at work or stressed over doing all the things simultaneously pulling at you at home like cooking, cleaning, entertaining, caretaking, play-date planning, crafting, teaching lessons, volunteering (etc.), am I right?
If you are a mother, you are automatically juggling a lot of different roles and hats at once. For me, these roles include mother, wife, friend, small business owner, personal trainer, blogger, clean beauty advocate, student, content creator, social media manager, volunteer, house cleaner, cook, laundry folder, errand runner … and the list goes on.
Now here’s the biggest takeaway of the post!
You can’t do it all, and accepting that is powerful
Unless you hire people to help you with everything, it’s almost impossible to keep up with all of it, all the time. And please forget about trying to keep up with what other moms are doing, too. Let’s stay in our own lanes and keep our eyes on our own papers here.
People who appear to have it all together either have the help, or they aren’t showing you the whole story. I can almost guarantee it. Let’s just throw that idea out there, marinate on it and try to remember it the next time you’re scrolling and wondering how someone seems to check all of the boxes. (They’re probably not!)
Here’s what I know. There will be days where you put things like your work first and others where family trumps all. There will be months where your business or career is thriving, but your house is a disaster. There will be moments where you want to pursue that next step of one dream, but you can’t possibly think of how you’ll have time to do it. But you do it anyway, and somehow figure it out with a lot of bumps along the way. And this can go on for years.
This. Is. Parenthood. It’s not perfect, and it’s actually pretty messy most of the time. But it’s equally as wonderful and special, even if we’re only reminded of it during the sweet moments that instantly melt your heart.
Parenthood is amazing and something that I am eternally grateful for. At the same time, it’s also freaking hard at times and can feel like you aren’t “getting anything done” outside of keeping a human alive. And that should be normalized, because it’s certainly enough.
Here’s the truth … some days I feel like I’m rocking it in all areas and others I feel like all I did was feed everyone, clean the messes up, do my best to control tantrums, repeat, get everyone clean and call it a day. That’s the reality. It’s a constant circle of triumphs and failures in this season – ebb and flows.
Finding the balance in mothering a toddler and life
I don’t have any experience in parenting a teenager, but I have heard that every stage of parenthood comes with a different set of joys and challenges. My experience is in parenting a newborn turned baby turned toddler, and this statement is absolutely true. There are always easier and harder aspects of each age.
I have to admit that the toddler stage has been the hardest for me so far. I can do without the sleep and constant needs (and diapers!) of a newborn better than Scott, but he is better at rough housing and disciplining Skyler as a three-year-old. We all have different strengths and weaknesses in parenting, and we’re constantly making mistakes and learning from them.
(Again,) I don’t have it all figured it out, but here are some lessons I’ve learned:
- You have to learn to give yourself grace on the days where you think you aren’t doing a great job, because just recognizing that feeling and wanting to change it means that you are.
- It’s okay to say no to the things that don’t fill your cup and yes to the things that do.
- You can only do so much in one day! Really. Remember that.
- Sometimes you have time to cook the meals, and sometimes you don’t. And that’s okay.
- Self-care is important, and sometimes ten minutes is all you need to reset your mood.
- You are a better version of yourself (and better mom) when you make those reset moments happen.
- Fifteen minutes of focused exercise is better than zero.
- Long walks are good for the body, mind and soul – for both you and the kiddos!
- Routines are key for some households and not a big deal in others. You have to figure out what works best for you and your family.
- Focus on what you CAN do and control versus what you can’t.
- We’re all just doing our best, taking things one day and chapter at a time.
If nothing else, I hope this post has provided some insight and encouragement from a mom who feels like she wears many different hats and sometimes drops a lot of them. Finding a balance in work, life, a social life, personal goals and motherhood is hard. It’s something that is constantly being reassessed and restructured, and that’s hard too.
But it is totally worth it, and being Skyler’s mom is the best job that I could ever ask for. He is my world and every day is brighter and a lot sweeter with him in it. That’s a fact!
Being okay with letting some hats fall while others rise is what has gotten me through the hardest days and seasons. Acceptance and grace are powerful tools and are necessary for growth in all areas. Some days my mom heart is full, and others lead me to take a back seat and learn from my mistakes.
I think that is what parenthood is all about.
I’d love to hear more about your journey in finding a balance in life and parenthood!
- Do you have kids? If so, what are their ages?
- What has been the “hardest” stage for you as a parent and why?
- Any advice for anyone reading this?
Thank you so much for being here and being a part of this community!