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Those Thoughts Don’t Make You a Bad Mom – They Make You Human

I wanted to run away from my kids yesterday.


Everything just came crashing down all at once. There were several factors at play: I just felt tired, alone, like everything was on me, and that I had no way out.

Motherhood has this way of consuming every atom capable of feeling love in your body, and then multiplying each and every one at an exponential rate. It can make you want to sacrifice everything and anything for another person, without having to think twice. It is exhilarating, beautiful, and fulfilling.

Motherhood also has another side, a side we feel guilty talking about. We shouldn’t really talk about it, right? I sound ungrateful. I’ve been blessed with the privilege of raising these amazing children. I shouldn’t complain. I could have it a lot worse. I should focus on the positives because the negatives will just bring me, and others, down.

The truth is that, at one point or another, you’ll feel it. You will. You’ll feel trapped. You’ll get tired of being so completely depended upon. You’ll miss your freedom. You’ll think back to when you were just you and only had to take care of yourself, and you’ll miss that. You’ll miss the luxury of thinking to yourself, “I think I’ll go to bed now,” and then waking up when you decide you’re ready to do so. You’ll miss sitting in a cafe reading a book for three hours. You’ll miss shopping alone, without any time restrictions and without having to do the mommy-jiggle-shake-bounce while you try and lull that ticking-time-bomb baby to sleep as you hurriedly examine ingredient lists and price tags.

You’ll miss how you were as a couple. You’ll miss your decadent two-person holidays and your lazy, late Sunday morning brunches. You’ll miss staying up to watch a movie on a Friday night without worrying about whether you just heard someone cry on the baby monitor, or frantically calculating how many hours of sleep you might get if you bite the bullet stay up another hour.

What’s my problem? Did I seriously just have these kids so that I could wish to be alone and unattached again? I need to get over myself.

I remember when my secondborn was about three weeks old, my husband and I decided to go for a walk and get some ice cream. I had her in the carrier, and my husband was pushing our older daughter in her stroller. I hadn’t slept for more than an hour at a time since the baby was born. My body was still recovering from a C-section. I was only comfortable in my maternity clothes because nothing else really fit, and the furthest journey we were willing to make as a brand-spanking-new family of four was 500 meters down the road. As we walked along the pavement, I had a terrible, horrible, selfish, unthinkable thought brewing in my head, and I was so nervous to say it out loud to my husband because I could just hear how awful it sounded. I gathered up the courage and just blurted it out.

“Do you ever miss life without kids?” I asked him.

“Yes.”

He answered so quickly and confidently that relief flooded my heart so fast I nearly cried. Heck, given my hormonally-volatile state, I probably did cry.

I read an article shared by a friend last week about how mourning the loss of our pre-motherhood selves has a big, fat, giant “taboo” sticker on it. The article struck such a huge chord with me and I’ve been thinking about it a lot since then, because that’s exactly what I’m going through right now.

Motherhood demands the impossible from you sometimes. You have to constantly give more and more and more of yourself. Just when you think that you’re spent, you’re all out, you really have nothing left, you have to search every last corner of yourself and give more.

You start to desperately crave simple things, like leaving the house on your own to do whatever the hell you want with one small handbag and no promises as to when you’ll return.

You dream of spending an entire day on your own: reading, shopping, running, singing, writing, going to a spa, driving a car, eating a meal with a knife and fork at the same time, and drinking a hot coffee as soon as it arrives at the table.

You wonder what it was like when no one physically depended on you for all of their nutritional needs. Or when you could eat or drink whatever you pleased without having to worry about how it might affect someone else.

You want to look at your hair in the mirror and think, “I need a haircut,” and then book that haircut for tomorrow without having to plan and strategize and think about pumping, naps, and feeding schedules.

You want to spend hours – hours – at a grocery store or a mall, browsing to your heart’s content without checking your watch or your phone, or wondering if you should head back just in case, even in the absence of someone immediately needing you.

You want to feel like you aren’t asking for permission or a favor when you want to leave the kids with your husband or whoever else and have some me-time. It’s funny, because it’s only you that feels that way, but that limitation you set on yourself only adds to the feeling of being stuck, and only makes that motivation to do something for yourself, and only yourself, harder to find.

The truth is, we are forever changed because of our children. We can’t switch off. I know they’ll be 25, independent, and totally self-sufficient one day, and I’ll still be wondering if they’re okay.

So I’m going to book that haircut. I’m going to go on that shopping trip. I’m going to get that massage. I’m going to read my book at that cafe (but maybe only for an hour). I’m going to chase that dream that I put on the back-burner because I thought the timing just wasn’t right. I’m going to go for a run. I’m going to take care of me, because in order to properly take care of someone else, I need to be okay, too.

I’m going to reclaim as much of myself as I can while accepting that I am not the “me” I once was, and there is nothing wrong with that. We grow, we change, we evolve. Nothing is static and things rarely go back to exactly what they used to be.

We need to be okay with admitting the hard parts, though. That new mom who feels like her world is falling apart and that she’s doing it all wrong needs you to assure her that, yes, some of this really, really sucks. It’s hard, and you’re not a bad mom for feeling that. You’re not a bad mom for wistfully thinking back to when you didn’t have kids.

You’re not a bad mom for thinking, “I miss just being me.” You’d be surprised how many of us have thought that exact same thing.

This post was originally published here.

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Summer heat has a way of making the house feel smaller, more congested, with less room for the air to circulate. And there's nothing like the heat to make me want to strip down, cool off and lighten my load. So, motivation in three digits, now that school is back in, it's time to do a purge.

Forget the spring clean—who has time for that? Those last few months of the school year are busier than the first. And summer's warm weather entices our family outdoors on the weekends, which doesn't leave much time for re-organizing.

So, I seize the opportunity when my kids are back in school to enter my zone.

I love throwing open every closet and cupboard door, pulling out anything and everything that doesn't fit our bodies or our lives. Each joyless item purged peels off another oppressive layer of "not me" or "not us."

Stuff can obscure what really makes us feel light, capable and competent.

Stuff can stem the flow of what makes our lives work.

With my kids back in school, I am energized, motivated by the thought that I have the space to be in my head with no interruptions. No refereeing. No snacks. No naps… I am tossing. I am folding. I am stacking. I am organizing. I don't worry about having to stop. The neat-freak in me is having a field day.

Passing bedroom doors, ajar and flashing their naughty bits of chaos at me, it's more than I can handle in terms of temptation. I have to be careful, though, because I can get on a roll. Taking to my kids' rooms I tread carefully, always aware that what I think is junk can actually be their treasure.

But I usually have a good sense for what has been abandoned or invisible in plain sight for the lack of movement or the accumulation of dust. Anything that fits the description gets relegated to a box in the garage where it is on standby—in case its absence is noticed and a meltdown has ensued. Crisis averted. Either way, it's a victory.

Oh, it's quiet. So, so quiet. And I can think it all through…

Do we really need all this stuff?

Will my son really notice if I toss all this stuff?

Will my daughter be heartbroken if I donate all this stuff?

Will I really miss this dress I wore three years ago that barely fit my waist then and had me holding in my tummy all night, and that I for sure cannot zip today?

Can we live without it all? All. This. Stuff?

The fall purge always gets me wondering, where in the world does all this stuff come from? So with the beginning of the school year upon us, I vow to create a new mindset to evaluate everything that enters my home from now on, so that there will be so much less stuff.

I vow to really think about objects before they enter my home…

…to evaluate what is really useful,

...to consider when it would be useful,

...to imagine where it would be useful,

...to remember why it may be useful,

…to decide how to use it in more than one way,

... so that all this stuff won't get in the way of what really matters—time and attention for my kids and our lives as a new year reveals more layers of the real stuff—what my kids are made of.

Bring it on.

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In the moments after we give birth, we desperately want to hear our baby cry. In the middle of the night a few months later it's no longer exactly music to our ears, but those cries aren't just telling us that baby needs a night feeding: They're also giving us a hint at what our children may sound like as kindergarteners, and adults.

New research published in the journal Biology Letters suggests the pitch of a 4-month-old's cry predicts the pitch they'll use to ask for more cookies at age five and maybe even later on as adults.

The study saw 2 to 5-month olds recorded while crying. Five years later, the researchers hit record again and chatted with the now speaking children. Their findings, combined with previous work on the subject, suggest it's possible to figure out what a baby's voice will sound like later in life, and that the pitch of our adult voices may be traceable back to the time we spend in utero. Further studies are needed, but scientists are very interested in how factors before birth can impact decades later.

"In utero, you have a lot of different things that can alter and impact your life — not only as a baby, but also at an adult stage," one of the authors of the study, Nicolas Mathevon, told the New York Times.

The New York Times also spoke with Carolyn Hodges, an assistant professor of anthropology at Boston University who was not involved in the study. According to Hodges, while voice pitch may not seem like a big deal, it impacts how we perceive people in very real ways.

Voice pitch is a factor in how attractive we think people are, how trustworthy. But why we find certain pitches more or less appealing isn't known. "There aren't many studies that address these questions, so that makes this research especially intriguing," Hodges said, adding that it "suggests that individual differences in voice pitch may have their origins very, very early in development."

So the pitch of that midnight cry may have been determined months ago, and it may determine part of your child's future, too. There are still so many things we don't know, but as parents we do know one thing: Our babies cries (as much as we don't want to hear them all the time) really are something special.

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For many years, Serena Williams seemed as perfect as a person could be. But now, Serena is a mom. She's imperfect and she's being honest about that and we're so grateful.

On the cover of TIME, Williams owns her imperfection, and in doing so, she gives mothers around the world permission to be as real as she is being.

"Nothing about me right now is perfect," she told TIME. "But I'm perfectly Serena."

The interview sheds light on Williams' recovery from her traumatic birth experience, and how her mental health has been impacted by the challenges she's faced in going from a medical emergency to new motherhood and back to the tennis court all within one year.

"Some days, I cry. I'm really sad. I've had meltdowns. It's been a really tough 11 months," she said.

It would have been easy for Williams to keep her struggles to herself over the last year. She didn't have to tell the world about her life-threatening birth experience, her decision to stop breastfeeding, her maternal mental health, how she missed her daughter's first steps, or any of it. But she did share these experiences, and in doing so she started incredibly powerful conversations on a national stage.

After Serena lost at Wimbledon this summer, she told the mothers watching around the world that she was playing for them. "And I tried," she said through tears. "I look forward to continuing to be back out here and doing what I do best."

In the TIME cover story, what happened before that match, where Williams lost to Angelique Kerber was revealed. TIME reports that Williams checked her phone about 10 minutes before the match, and learned, via Instagram, that the man convicted of fatally shooting her sister Yetunde Price, in 2003 is out on parole.

"I couldn't shake it out of my mind," Serena says. "It was hard because all I think about is her kids," she says. She was playing for all the mothers out there, but she had a specific mother on her mind during that historic match.

Williams' performance at Wimbledon wasn't perfect, and neither is she, as she clearly states on the cover of time. But motherhood isn't perfect either. It's okay to admit that. Thanks, Serena, for showing us how.

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There are some mornings where I wake up and I'm ready for the day. My alarm goes off and I pop out of bed and hum along as I make breakfast before my son wakes up. But then there are days where I just want 10 more minutes to sleep in. Or breakfast feels impossible to make because all our time has run out. Or I just feel overwhelmed and unprepared.

Those are the mornings I stare at the fridge and think, Can someone else just make breakfast, please?

Enter: make-ahead breakfasts. We spoke to the geniuses at Pinterest and they shared their top 10 pins all around this beautiful, planned-ahead treat. Here they are.

(You're welcome, future self.)

1. Make-ahead breakfast enchiladas

www.pinterest.com

Created by Bellyful

I'd make these for dinner, too.

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