Hey guys! I hope you are all well! We have been busy decluttering and getting ready for the new school year. Over the last few days I’ve also made a discovery. I’ve found myself again.
It’s a bit funny to see it in print, especially because I didn’t consider myself to be lost. Allow me to explain…
I always wanted a family. I grew up telling everyone I would someday have 4 children, 2 girls & 2 boys.
I don’t know that I actually believed it, but coming from a family of 3 siblings, it just seemed like 4 would be a better number. More balanced, I guess.
As a child I was always interested in music, art, makeup & hair.
I loved Halloween, costume parties and being in plays and mostly for one reason: getting to create a different persona.
I was often finding myself doing hair and makeup for friends and even worked as a cosmetic consultant for a few years.
I also was constantly creating.
I sketched, sculpted, painted, wrote poetry, lyrics, played guitar and sang.
These things were what made me me. So, when I had my first baby, @Tonks, not much changed. She was such an easy baby and I stayed with my routine of self-care and while I had less free time to do art & music, I would pull out the guitar and play for her and she loved it. I wrote her a few songs and she would giggle and clap along.
Three years later, when Baby #2 (Wildstyle is the handle she’s chosen) came along, I expected things to be the same, but they weren’t.
First of all, it was wrong to assume that this baby would be the same. She was a fireball from day 1. She was vibrant and a fighter. She had to be because she would be my child with all the complicated allergy & gut issues.
I found myself suddenly lost and embarrassed. I had handled my first child so well! I was a Rockstar mom! And now I was exhausted and couldn’t figure out why nursing was suddenly so painful (didn’t have any problems with my first). Also, she would be happy and laughing for about 10-15 minutes, then fussin, crying or nursing. She was not just spitting up large amounts 3-5 times a day. I would have to change her clothes and mine so often, that I was buried in laundry. I gave up on my personal appearance. I mean, I was clean, that is, when I wasn’t smelling of vomit, but my hair was under a ball cap and forget makeup.
It was during this time that my oldest started really listening to the lyrics of the songs I was playing. I was shocked because she wasn’t even 4 and suddenly my playlist went from my 90s faves to the Wiggles and Disney tunes. The beautiful home we had purchased had a room that we called my studio, but I was too busy to ever even step foot in there during those years.
A couple years later, we decided to leave our traditional suburban life to become homesteaders. Right before we moved in, we discovered I was pregnant with Baby #3(Snowgo).
We were ecstatic, but there was a moment of fear for me because it would be our first time living out in the hills, away from family and still dealing with my then 2 yr old’s allergies & skin issues. It seemed there was always a list of projects to work on there at the homestead.
My daily uniform consisted of boots, jeans, t-shirt and a flannel. While this baby was a much better sleeper than #2, she was still very challenging at bedtime and thus we were all up late.
Whereas some people just have skin or digestive issues with food sensitivities, hers often manifest themselves behaviorally.
Transitions were hard for her, and the simplest transition, even just getting shoes on to play outside took lots of forethought and patience on my part.
During this time, I was lucky to get a shower twice a week and totally gave up on creating. I did end up playing guitar at the local co-op preschool once a week, so that allowed me to at least pick up the guitar for a few minutes each week, but it was just finding kids’ songs that correlated to the weekly lessons, so there wasn’t much creativity happening.
A couple years later, we saw things going south in California and decided to sell our homestead, buy a travel trailer and move to N. Idaho. Things were going splendidly!
The house sold quickly, and our first week in the trailer, we discovered I was pregnant with Baby #4.
The girls and I had just begun learning Sho-Shu before our move. Snowgo would cling to my leg if I put him down, so I just trained with him on my back.
This time I cried. It was going to be challenging enough moving out of state, with 5 of us in a travel trailer, while my husband worked from home, which meant keeping the kids outside or very quiet while he was on calls and such, cooking for my sensitive child, which meant no convenience foods, but 3 meals a day from scratch.
One of the few photos that shows the mess of the trailer. During that time I was hesitant to post many photos online or even share with family. It was impossible to keep that small of a space clean and tidy.
Then the real fear kicked in… What if we couldn’t find a property to buy? What if we had to stay in that trailer over the winter?
Well, we spent 4 months in that trailer, when we finally closed on a property that had a 2000 sq ft shop on it. We backed the trailer in and hunkered down for winter.
During that time we started framing our two story home that would exist within that shop.
(It sounds really weird, but someday when it’s clean, organized and finished, I’ll do a post showing just how we did it.) We continued living in that trailer while building, pulling the trailer outside in the spring.
Here you can see a wall of the house within the shop, just a couple feet from the trailer. This was also the day I decided to chop off my locks to donate.
We lived in that trailer for a total of 18 months before moving into our unfinished home.
If you’ve ever spent any time in a travel trailer, then you know that water is limited, or rather your waste water is. The grey and black tanks would have to be dumped regularly. During our time in the trailer, showers became something you thought twice about. If it was dark and cold outside and I still had a sink full of dishes, then the dishes took priority over my shower since I wanted to wait to dump the tanks until daylight. And squeezing 6 of us into a tiny space meant very little room for any extras, like makeup, hair products or styling tools, or even muffin pans… I did manage to bring an acoustic guitar, which we stored under the bed. I think I pulled it out maybe 5 times during those 18 months!
I’ve said it before, looking back, I am glad I did not know how hard those months would be. I would not have signed on for it. But I am so grateful for the experience now.
So here we are a couple years later. The home has come along nicely. We’re still in need of interior doors and trim, but other than that, we are quite comfortable. Baby #4, aka Crowbarbaby, is growing like a weed and old enough to toddle off with his siblings giving this mama a few minutes to breathe. And guess what I’ve discovered?
No. We aren’t expecting. 😉 Gotcha! That's a belly pic from the trailer bathroom!
I’ve discovered that I still enjoy doing my hair and makeup a little bit. And I don’t feel quite as guilty spending the time on myself now that everyone is able to get along without me for at least a few minutes at a time. I’ve also been spending more time practicing the uke and the guitar.
If you haven’t seen it, you really should listen to this duet performed with my lovely daughter.
I share all of this with you because I think there’s this idea that mothers are supposed to be superhuman and balance it all. We’re supposed to be nurturing mothers, who also have a broad knowledge of gut health and food issues, be a whiz in the kitchen, satisfy our husband’s needs, handle the family’s social calendar, read regularly, look fashionable and still find time for “self-care”! They recommend getting a pedicure or a massage or just spending an hour watching a guilty pleasure and sneaking some good chocolate. Well, self care for me was making sure I brushed my teeth and kept all the kids alive. That’s all I could do for some of that time!
Do an internet search for “mothers lose yourself” and you’ll find all these articles warning of how to maintain your identity and not lose yourself to motherhood. I suppose those writers mean well, but honestly, losing myself to motherhood was the best thing that happened to me. Motherhood changed my life completely. It flipped my world upside down and inside out, but I learned more from each of these magnificent human beings than I did from all my years of study.
I am fortunate to be a stay at home mom and blessed to have a spouse that supports my decision. It has not been easy, especially with the health issues and the moves, but again, the experience has been worth it.
I learned that I could still be me without all the makeup & hair. I learned that a person can take a break from their creative side and it will still be there when they get back to it. I feel that by losing myself, I found a truer version of me. One that is more confident and grounded. It wasn’t a sacrifice. It was just another experience in this human body that allowed me to stretch and heal.
I don’t necessarily feel that I’ve found myself as much as I feel reborn. I feel like a butterfly from the cocoon, ready to fly!
I owe a big thank you to the Steemit platform for giving me the opportunity to share my voice. Because of users like @coruscate, @papa-pepper, @golden-dawne who supported me, encouraged me & mentored me in the beginning, I am now encouraging and supporting other new users.
Because of groups like @steemitmamas, @GHSC and @onelovedtube I am becoming more comfortable in my own skin and finding more opportunities to be creative and true to my inner self. If you have any questions about these groups, please comment or click on the banners below.