October 5, 2020

Motherhood at a Glance: The Power in Knowing You Are Enough


We are officially one week away from wrapping up Motherhood at a Glance for 2020! Our second-to-last writer is my sister-in-law, Ivonne Fullerton!

Ivonne lives in Southern California with her husband and their twin boys! She loves all forms of adventure outdoors and when inside, she loves to crochet. Ivonne is such an incredible mom and has been through so much in her motherhood journey! I’m so excited for you to read how she has cultivated confidence in her life and motherhood through the simple reminder that “you are, have and do enough”. 




NOTE TO SELF:

Relax

You are enough 

You have enough 

You do enough 


I don't know who came up with this quote, but it has been lifechanging for me. How many of us could use this reminder on a daily basis? I know I could. Motherhood is amazing, but it can be hard, and to top it off we are hard on ourselves. We set such high expectations, we look around and see that someone has more or does more, and you end up feeling not as successful or fulfilled. And with social media at the palm of our hands, it's so easy to go down this dangerous path of comparison. I know that I have done this before, and sometimes I still do. And I have to constantly remind myself of these three simple truths to bring myself back from the darkness that comes with comparing my life with others. 










I have always been told that I seem very confident. I haven't always felt confident though. A lot of times I faked it. Fake it till you make it right? That's what we're told. I have struggled all throughout my life with feeling like I'm not enough. Especially when I was younger. It's pretty common to feel like you don't belong as a teenager. But I really felt like I didn't have a place where I belonged. So, like any teenage girl that felt like she had no place that she fit in, I did what I felt others wanted of me.


It wasn't until I served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, that I truly felt like I had a purpose. As missionaries, well back then more than now, we had very limited access to technology. We only got to email our families and friends once a week. Yeah, email, we couldn't text or call them. We got one email, once a week and that is all we had. So, during that time, I had a lot of time to myself and my thoughts. I got know me. The real me. 


I was able to cultivate true confidence. I was able to learn how to get to a place where I felt like I was enough. Now when the stress of being a mother gets to me and I start to think that I'm not being a good mom or wife, I make sure to take time to myself and do what I learned during my mission to remind myself that I am a good mother and wife. I take time to myself. I'm not just talking about going out and doing something nice for myself. I'm talking about being alone, complete silence, and just sit and listen. Listen to your body, listen to the thoughts that cross your mind, and do as my husband says, "feel all the feelings." Cry it out! Tune out all the noise from the world that makes you feel like you aren't good enough. List all the things you're good at. Remind yourself of how amazing you are. Just breath. You will feel a calmness come over you and you will forget all the negative feeling that were overwhelming you. 


If you don't get much of an opportunity to get away, do this when you're in the shower. Right before bed is also a great time to do this, I find that it helps me sleep better. Just take that time to look inside yourself. Five minutes is all you need. And maybe come up with a phrase that you can tell yourself to help remind you of why you are a good woman, mom, daughter or wife. I just keep adding to mine, as time goes by. I'll share mine, and maybe one day you can share yours with me :)


I am enough because I am a daughter of God. I am enough because I do my best.  I am enough, because I say I am enough. 












Where do I begin with this one? Why do we self- sabotage and compare our lives with others? I honestly don't know. It is so unhealthy and it just leads to feeling unfulfilled. I have a twin sister, and our whole life we have been compared. Who is smarter? Who is stronger? Who is nicer? Who is meaner? People would constantly compare us. So, it's no surprise that I was constantly comparing my life to hers. While I was serving a mission my sister got married, got a house, and when I got back, she was talking about having kids. And here I was getting home to live with my parents, with no job or car or money. 


Time passed and I talked to her about how unfulfilled I felt. I told her of how I felt like I was behind in life because I didn't have what she had. Do you want to know what she said? She said that she sometimes compared her life to mine. I got to live on my own, I got to explore and get to know myself, and buy my first car all on my own. Isn't that crazy! Here I was envying her for all she had. And here she was doing the same thing. 


At the end of our conversation we came to the conclusion that despite us looking in and wishing some things were different, in the end we did what was best for us. I was not ready for marriage at 20 like she was. I wasn't ready for kids at 22. I was barely ready for them at 25. One thing I realized is that someone will always be ahead of me, someone will always have more. I can either spend all my time comparing and trying to keep up, or I can enjoy the process of getting to where I wish to be.  


I love sitting with my husband and just talking about how blessed we are to have what we have. We'll sit and watch the boys play and we'll look at each other and say how happy we are to be here. Those are my favorite moments. 


Slow down, take time to look around and see the blessings in your life. Write them down and then go back and remind yourself of it when you start to feel like you don't have enough.  










People always ask me how I do it? I always just say that I cry a lot. They laugh because they think I'm joking. I laugh because I'm not. 


Oh, how I've cried. I don't think I have ever cried so much in my life. I'm not saying I haven't enjoyed being a mom. I'm just simply stating the truth that a lot of us already know. Being a mom is exhausting in so many ways. Emotionally,  physically and spiritually. I cry because I feel like I can't do this mom thing anymore. I felt this way all the time when I first had the boys. I was 25 with pre-mature twin boys, trying to go to the hospital as much as I could to see them and be there with them. I was pumping every 3 hours on the clock trying to make sure I had enough breastmilk for them. 


When they got home the twins were on a 3-hour schedule, which means that every three hours they needed to be fed. That's what they were used to while in the NICU and we had to keep that schedule at home. They couldn't latch because my nipples were huge because of all the pumping I was doing. Imagine trying to get chores done and having to pump for an hour every 3 hours. Try going out! I literally took the pump with me everywhere and I literally pumped everywhere to have food for my children. I did this until I could get enough milk saved in the freezer. 


Once we got them breastfeeding, I spent over an hour with them on my breasts. Again, try doing your chores while having two little boys latched to your breasts for over an hour at a time. I was feeding on demand! And they demanded a lot! At nights I would still wake up every 3 hours and pump for an hour each time because I had to keep up with my supply, and I had to have enough milk for them for the days they were with the babysitter. I had no sleep. I was tried, two little humans depended on my breasts to provide their meals. I eventually lost it. 


I felt so defeated, I felt like a failure. To top it off I would see these super moms that had their life together. And I felt like no matter how many hours were in the day, I just couldn't get everything done. I couldn't keep up. My house was a mess, my laundry sat on the floor for weeks and then I realized I could finally see my floor again because I had to do laundry again. Sometimes the laundry thing still happens. These expectations of doing everything and having my life together caused depression. 


I would lose my patience with my little ones and with my husband. I would sleep in and let my husband take care of things because I just didn't feel like I could get out of bed. Honestly, I am so grateful to my husband for stepping in when I had my bad days, and for stepping in when he noticed I was losing my patience with the twins. He still does. He is an amazing husband and father, I could not have gotten this far without him. 





Luckily, one day I realized that I didn't have to do it all in one day or on my own. I learned to accept help. I let go of the idea that I had to do it all on my own. I accepted that if I wanted to be a good mother, I would need help. And help is what I got. My mom helped me so much. She always made me feel better, she reminded me that it takes time to get adjusted to being a mother. I had and still have friends and family willing to help me when I need it. 


Eventually we did some sleep training, we got the boys on a schedule and we keep to it. It has been the best thing we have done as parents. It allows me to stay sane. I take the time before the twins wake up to work out and clean, when they are awake they have all of my attention. When they nap, I clean some more and sometimes I nap as well. When they wake up from their nap, I am all theirs again. And when 8pm comes around we send them off to bed and my husband and I spend time together. The schedule has changed as the boys got older, but we always make sure they have a schedule. I can't begin to tell you how much this has helped me. I'm not as depressed, or stressed out. I love the schedule. 


I also make sure not to push myself. I do what I can and I try to not stress over the things I didn't get to. I just look around make a mental list of what needs to be done the next day and I tell myself that I did my best today and tomorrow I will do a little better. Doesn't mean I always will, but that's ok. I tried. 


Mamas, remind yourself that what you did today is enough. You do so much, give yourself some credit. It's the end of the day, just take a seat and relax. 


I just wish to share one last quote.  


Motherhood is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to angels. 

-J Rieben Clark





Thank you so much to Ivonne for this simply yet, so often forgotten, reminder that you are enough, you have enough and you do enough. There is so much power in knowing that and being able to cultivate it in order to have more power in your motherhood! 







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