I DECIDED TO CREATE THE MOMUMENTAL MOTHERS SERIES TO CELEBRATE WOMEN FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE. EACH OF THE WOMEN I WILL FEATURE ARE DIFFERENT, BUT THEY ARE ALL UNITED IN MOTHERHOOD.
Today I am happy to introduce you to fellow mom and parenting blogger, the lovely Jessica. Jessica is the author of the great blog The Mommy Side of Things, where she shares the joys and struggles of mothering young children with other toddler and preschool moms- which I definitely identify with, having a toddler and a preschooler myself.
Jessica, can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
I’m 28. I was a daycare teacher in a toddler classroom for four years before I had my second baby and we made the decision for me to stay home.
How old are your children?
My son Joey is 3.5 and my daughter Gloria is 19 months old.
What do you feel is your biggest struggle as a parent?
Balancing all the things. It feels like there are perfect moms out there who find time to read their Bible, do an hour long workout, get all the housework and cooking done, and still have time to run a blog or business. I find that most days I’m choosing one thing over another, and I never have a day where I hit all those marks at once.
What is your favorite part of being a parent? What is your least favorite?
My favorite thing about being a mom is the honor of being their safe place. When they’re afraid or sad or hurt, they come to me. It’s an amazing feeling to be so trusted by these precious little ones.
How is parenting or being a mother different than you may have thought it would be before you had kids?
I did not expect motherhood to be so all-consuming. I thought life would continue as usual, and we would just have a new baby in tow. It didn’t occur to me that pregnancy would change literally EVERYTHING about me. From my hair, to my skin, to my weight, to my taste buds. I didn’t know that your belly doesn’t just snap back once the baby comes out. I had to come to terms with my new self and accept that our old way of life was over. I also didn’t expect the strange sadness that came after I had my first, and that scary feeling that my heart was now outside of my body in him. I will say–it was 100% worth it and I would do it over and over again for my babies.
What do you think makes you and your story unique from other mothers you know?
I’m very sentimental. Maybe even overly sentimental. I mark the passing of time with pictures, videos, and keepsakes, and my kids both have fully completed baby books that I am constantly adding to.
What is a normal day like for your family?
I wake up early with my husband, make his breakfast and pack his lunch, and spend a little time with him before he goes to work. After that, assuming the kids aren’t awake yet, I take some time to do a quick devotional. After that, I usually relax, drink my coffee, and catch up on social media stuff.
Once the kids are up, it’s go time. I get everybody dressed and fed, and I get started on house chores for the day. The rest of the day tends to be a blur of diaper changes, deescalating tantrums and fights, and preparing and cleaning up after meals. I try to have the kids bathed and in pajamas by the time my husband gets home, so he can just enjoy being with them before they go to bed.
Once the kids are in bed (assuming neither of them is refusing to go to sleep on time), my husband and I have some time together to chat about our day and watch our favorite YouTubers before bed. He usually goes to bed before I do, and I take that late evening time to work on my blog before I eventually head to bed too.
What are your tips for staying sane each morning and at bedtime as everyone gets ready?
Get up before your kids. I know everyone says that and it’s so hard, but it really makes a difference. Fight through the tiredness and get up an hour before your kids normally wake up. Drink your coffee in the quiet and read a little chapter in the Bible. Open your curtains and watch the sunrise. Then when they toddle out of their rooms, you’ll be happier because you had time to wake up and fuel your body and your soul.
How do you handle everyday stressors?
Worship music and coffee. And on super challenging days with the kids, I turn on the TV for a while and let them watch their shows while I try to regroup.
What do you think your parents did when you were growing up that helped you become a responsible and successful adult?
My parents allowed me to get my first real job at fifteen. My father opened up a checking account for me and taught me how to use it. I appreciate being allowed to earn my own money and choose how to spend it, though looking back, I wish my parents had been a little more tight-fisted about it. I wasted all of my money, and I could have saved it and made good investments with it. Such is life. Honestly, my father probably tried to explain those things to me and I didn’t listen. #15yearolds
What do you wish your parents would have taught you or given you that you didn’t have/they didn’t do? What are you doing to try to help your kids?
As far as what my parents did not do that I will absolutely do (and I am already doing) with my kids is raising them in a Christian home. My parents are good people with good morals, but our home was not faith based, and I suffered because of that. When life got hard, I didn’t have hope and I didn’t know what to hang onto. I found Jesus when I was eighteen years old, and my children will grow up never having memories of what life is like without Him. I feel so incredibly blessed to have a husband who grew up in a Christian home and has such strong faith. My kids will know the love of Jesus.
Do you think it is possible for women to have it all? How do you find a work/life balance?
I think it’s possible, but not all at once. I think day by day, or week by week, our priorities have to shift in order for us to have all of those things. For me, time with God matters most. Jesus is who gives me strength and peace to get through every day. After Jesus, my husband and my kids matter most.
I don’t have a formal job right now, although I do nanny from my home several days a week. On days that I nanny, my priorities shift so I can do that well and take care of those kids. On off days, I’m able to devote more time to what I want to do–blogging, making videos, watching my favorite Youtubers. I find that my other hobbies have taken an extreme back seat because I would rather give my free time to other things. This season of motherhood is busy, and I’m okay with that.
As far as women being able to “have it all” I think it’s important to ask ourselves what we really want most in our current season of life and chase after that. What I want most is to be close to Jesus and to be a good mother and wife.
OK, last question: what would your advice for a new mother be?
Go easy on yourself. You just did an amazing thing. You carried a baby in your body and brought it into the world. Your hormones are going to be going crazy, you’re most likely exhausted, and you don’t need to be putting a ton of pressure on yourself to be perfect right now. Just breathe, drink a glass of water and eat a real meal (not a granola bar), and focus on taking care of that new baby. This is your time to bond with your baby and figure out a rhythm to your days. Your house doesn’t need to be spotless and you don’t need to worry about updating and pleasing a bunch of people.
I hope you all enjoyed my interview with Jessica. Head over to her blog, The Mommy Side of Things, and show her some love by subscribing!
Thank you, Jessica!