11 January 2012

The Trade Off For A Happy Mommy

It has taken me 2 years, 343 days but I finally have figured it out.

When I first became pregnant and then after I had Aedyn, I always heard, "Take time for yourself, you need time for just you."

And you know what I thought when I heard that? "I've got kids who need to eat, or who have just made a mess that will only get worse the longer I leave it, someone needs to go potty or have their diaper changed, if there's not that then I'm needing to do laundry or dishes or something else that I've been putting off, and I have a husband who needs to be at least slightly less neglected, oh and sleep, I need sleep too."

Sleep usually won over everything else. But there was never enough sleep. I was tired, I was burnt out. I had no patience left and most of my day was spent trying to get the boys occupied with something that didn't involve me so I could rest just a little bit more.

But on New Years Eve Jake and I got into a pretty heavy discussion, not a fight, surprisingly, but a deep  talk. It cleared some things in my mind and resulted in some changes that I think are for the best.

I figured out how to get myself up and motivated and going in the morning. I found I had more patience, more energy, I didn't get as tired during the day. I actually found myself excited about things, and actually feeling happy. (Not that I was unhappy before, I just couldn't get past being tired to feel much of anything else.)

What changed was TV and not less of it. More. For my kids.

When we moved into our new place I really wanted to cut the boys down to next to no TV. Now, I'm using it for the tool it is. Putting on Veggie Tales, or Dinosaur Train, or whatever while they eat breakfast occupies them completely for 30 minutes to an hour. Time for me to actually wash my face, brush my teeth and my hair, get my own breakfast and read something out of my Bible.

For the past almost 3 years, at best I would just splash some water on my face and brush my teeth when I remembered. I didn't even know where my Bible was for the longest time. It was those things that I got jealous of Jake being able to do every day. It never failed that the instant I tried to do any of the things I listed above one of the boys would need something that just couldn't wait, even if they were both soundly asleep moments before.

And then I realized that I could use the TV. And I do. It makes me a better mom. Sure, I know the studies that say I'm ruining my children psychologically and emotionally by letting them watch TV before they're 2 or 3 or whatever age is supposed to be ok now. But how much more was I hurting them by being unmotivated and irritable all the time?

An hour of TV in the mornings means we're more likely to go to the park in the afternoon, or the zoo, or just get outside. It means I'm more likely to fix a real, healthy, balanced meal instead of just tossing something in the microwave. It's worth it.

It's a trade off, and it's worth it, because now I'm a Happy Mommy.

When and how did you figure out how to maintain your sanity? Share your thoughts and come join me on Google+, Facebook, and/or Twitter!


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