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Interview with a SAHM – Kerry

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11081375_815214358548101_2414692197837436727_nI spent a lot of time struggling with my identity. I never thought I fit the role, but of course, looking around, no one does! Every mom I know is doing amazing and interesting things, we’re just doing it in bits and pieces interwoven with our daily lives instead of having any separation between what we do and who we are.

Reversible morning/bedtime chart

Super cool reversible morning/bedtime chart!

I’m so excited to introduce you to an mentor of mine, Kerry! She has been a SAHM for 11 years and shares with us some lessons learned along the way.  As a new SAHM, I LOVE to glean advice from those further down the path.  As a side note, Kerry shared this super awesome reversible chart that hangs around her clock, to improve their morning and bedtime routines. This invention of hers has totally taken the hassle out of most mornings/bedtimes.  So genies, don’t you think?!  I’ll share more about that this weekend:-).  Now…to meet Kerry!

Q) What was your career before becoming a full-time parent, and tell us a bit about your family.

A) I was working at the Early Childhood Project, a statewide organization that supports the career development of child care workers and preschool teachers. I gave workshops and collected data on early childhood professionals, basically teaching the teacher. I had just finished coordinating the state Early Learning Guidelines (what children ages 3-5 need to know, understand, and be able to do) and had introduced them around the state hugely pregnant with my first child. I now have two children, both boys, who are 11 and 7 years old. My husband owns his own manufacturing business, and we have lived in Bozeman since 1996.

I don’t think I would have reached the profound emotional connection with the world around me without them. I like how they have stretched me and changed me.

Q) What do you miss most about life before kids? & What are some of your favorite things about life with kids.

A) The thing I miss most about life before kids is being able to do things in the manner and order that I would prefer. There’s no more waiting around for inspiration to tackle a project – it either needs to get done or it doesn’t. I can’t feel my way through my days, I now plow through them. My favorite thing about having kids is that life is infused with a depth and meaning it didn’t have before. I think I could have been happy without kids, but I don’t think I would have reached the profound emotional connection with the world around me without them. I like how they have stretched me and changed me.

Every mom I know is doing amazing and interesting things, we’re just doing it in bits and pieces interwoven with our daily lives instead of having any separation between what we do and who we are.

Q) What’s the hardest part about being a SAHM (stay-at-Home Mom)?

A)  It used to be accepting the fact that I WAS a SAHM. I spent a lot of time struggling with my identity. I never thought I fit the role, but of course, looking around, no one does! Every mom I know is doing amazing and interesting things, we’re just doing it in bits and pieces interwoven with our daily lives instead of having any separation between what we do and who we are. I am much more content with the idea of expressing myself in the world in a variety of ways and not getting compensated for it. Now the hardest part for me is feeling locked into all the ways I’ve made myself indispensable around the house. With my boys growing up, I need to consciously start divvying up responsibilities a lot more evenly, and allowing myself time to cultivate my own interests.

It was more than a year of sleepless nights and non-stop days, and there were so many times I envied my husband who got to leave the house to work for those 8 hours every day.

Q) Have you ever thought, “Gosh, I can’t do this?” and why?

A) Yes, absolutely! When my first child was only a few months old, he was diagnosed with severe food sensitivities, and then, probably partly because of his discomfort, he developed very difficult sleep patterns. I remember leaving a coffee shop crying when a friend of a friend told her “It’s been more than four months, he really should be sleeping through the night by now” and mine was a couple of months older than him! It was more than a year of sleepless nights and non-stop days, and there were so many times I envied my husband who got to leave the house to work for those 8 hours every day. I really had a breakdown when my oldest turned 5 and my youngest was still a toddler. With one heading off to kindergarten, I felt that my role as mom was losing some of its importance, and yet I still saw no end in sight to the diapers and naps and tantrums ahead of me. I couldn’t find anything to celebrate about this transition and it hit me hard.

Q) How do you get through the tough moments/days? What helps you the most? 

A) It was so hard when the kids were very young, because it seems like you’re living just one long, unending day, but now I do have the luxury of promising myself that tomorrow will be better. I am also much better about asking for help than I was before, and lowering my standards when it’s obvious that nothing’s going to go right on any particular day. Ordering in doesn’t feel like the failure I used to make it out to be. In general, I am much more forgiving of myself.
Don’t try to get everything “right” because there is no such thing. Listen to your inner voice and approach your life as a whole person, knowing that when you show up as your whole self your children will benefit…
Q) What advice would you give to a new ex-career mom regarding how to most enjoy (or get the most out of) being a SAHM?
A) Don’t try to get everything “right” because there is no such thing. Listen to your inner voice and approach your life as a whole person, knowing that when you show up as your whole self your children will benefit, even if that means you need to get out and do something for yourself, or volunteer/do work for others, in order to feel like yourself. Your kids don’t need a perfect parent, and they don’t need your physical presence as much as they need YOU to be fully there when you’re there. And understand that you will change and grow just like your kids, so don’t just grab for anything, allow yourself time and space to find what makes you hum!

To hear more from Kerry, check out her recent TedTalk from Tedx Bozeman!  Go to this link: TEDx Bozeman 2015 on Livestream & Scroll to 4:06:45.  You’ll be glad you did!

Maybe I should listen to my husband….

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confessions of a 1st time momHere’s another confession.  So, the other day I’m cutting our son’s nails.  Yeah.  If you have done this with a 1-year-old, you probably know what a wonderful chore it is, huh? So, I’m trying to get through the wiggling and squirming and trying my best to stay upbeat about the whole process while holding my son’s hand so tight his circulation was probably getting low.  “It’s ok honey.. Mommy is just going to get a few more fingers and then we will be done.”  clip.  And then… he let out a giant wail.  “What?”  I look down and I have accidentally caught his pinky finger as I was clipping the nail beside it, and it is dripping blood.  That’s right.  His FINGER got clipped.  Oh boy.  That is not what I meant to do.  I immediately rush to get a cloth and my oh-so-helpful and thoughtful and caring husband says, “You know. He seems to hate getting his nails clipped the last couple of times.  Do you think we should try using a nail file?”

I immediately flash him daggers via my eye balls and say, “That is only for babies.  His nails are too hard for that now.  I’m doing the best that I can.  You are absolutely welcome to try the files if you want to” (slyly thinking in my head that I will get sweet revenge when his unrequested advice doesn’t work).

I hand him the child and he comes back with the nail file and sits CM on his lap.  I agreed to help hold CM’s other hand, so he won’t try to rip the file out of Daddy’s hands, but all the while I am just waiting for this to fail. And…

It didn’t.listen to my husband

He actually giggled the whole time because it felt like the nail file was tickling his fingers, and the job got done just as effectively (umm…ok. Maybe even more effectively considering no blood was drawn in his approach).

So, I am just saying.  Maybe… sometimes… I should listen to my husband. *But if you tell him I said so, we will no longer be friends.;-)

 

 

4 Tips to Stay Centered as a Parent

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centered as a parentI think it is super important to take a mommy “vacation” for some self-care, if you have a support system that will help you to do this.

3 weeks ago I took my first trip away from my little “Chunky Monkey” (1 year old), to have  a girl’s weekend with my mom and some friends at Westminster Woods Camp and Conference Center.

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Couldn’t say it better myself!

1st off, I have to give a shout out to “The Woods” (as we call it), for being one of my favorite places in the Universe.  It is a peaceful adorable place in the redwoods of Norther California, where I have made memories since I was 2 years old.  I used to go there as a summer-camper, then I went as a high school volunteer, and then as a college summer staffer.  So, going back is like returning “home”.

The speaker at this Women’s retreat was Sheila Denton of the Unique Self-Coaching Collective.  She is amazing! And since you couldn’t all be there to benefit from her amazing ways of leading us all into a more centered place, I want to share some of her wisdom with you.

1.  She asked great questions.  Great ones for anyone to ask themselves.  Take 1-3 minutes to let your pen free-flow to complete each of the following statements:

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Author: FLORA

I am a post-career SAHM (Stay-at-home mom), living in Bozeman Montana. I share stories and ideas from parenting with a Montessori and Positive Discipline inspired perspective. Also, I LOVE DIY projects and finding great ways to use thrift store or hand-made toys for my little ones.
Learn more about why I say I'm "Just" a stay-at-home mom.

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