Happy Mom

Are you the mom who is over worked, under paid, and always tired? Are you the mom who is always in a mood, and who feels like you spend 99% of your time yelling?

Me too.

Or at least, I was.

I was fed up with being the unhappy mom, so I decided I was going to have to make some changes.

I did some soul searching, and figured out what it was about my life that was making me so unhappy. And then I changed it.

I’m not saying I never yell anymore, or that I’m never too tired to play, or that I’m never cranky.

But I no longer feel like those things define me.

When I really sat down to analyze my life and ask myself the hard questions, I came to a few conclusions:

  • My husband/marriage was not my problem. He is truly amazing – a real family man – a fantastic father. He loves me, and I love him.
  • I love being a mom. Do I find my kids annoying at times? — Yes. (Who doesn’t?) But I do love them, and I really do love being their mom, because they really are pretty awesome.
  • I hated my job.

I don’t think anyone likes their job 100% of the time. It’s work. It’s supposed to suck to a certain degree, that’s why it’s called work. However, I don’t think it’s normal to hate your job to the point that you sit in the parking lot and give yourself a little pep talk before entering.

But that’s where I was.

My job no longer brought me joy of any kind, and I dreaded going to work on a daily basis. I knew it was time to move on to something new.

I’m not talking about some sort of pyramid sales nonsense. I’m not suddenly working from home and “building a team”. That just isn’t for me. I go to work Monday through Friday. I earn an hourly wage that results in an actual weekly paycheck. I am still a working mom. I just changed who I do that work for.

I think I stuck around at my previous job for so long partly because I was comfortable, and partly because being the new girl again is terrifying. Mostly though, I continued to work a job I despised because I knew that taking a new job would mean taking a pay cut.

Fast forward a little bit, and here I am, the new girl in the office.

The “new girl” that is both learning the job, but also trying to gain the respect and trust of my new co-workers. And yes, this job does pay a bit less, but what I’ve gained makes it all worth it. I can’t even begin to put a price on what I’ve gotten out of this experience.

When I sit back and really think about the changes I’ve made in the last month, I could damn near kick myself for not taking this leap sooner.

One of the perks to my new job is that I no longer have to work nights or weekends. I have been home to tuck my kids in every night for a month. I’ve been home to help them get ready for school every day for a month.

That first weekend home with the kids was amazing. I actually had the energy to be present with them for the entire weekend!

We started our weekend with cinnamon rolls for breakfast on Saturday morning. Then, we all cleaned the house together. They were actually excited to clean with me! My eight year old cleaned his room, and did some dusting. My 5 year old cleaned mirrors, picked up toys, gathered laundry to be washed, and helped make the beds. My three year old “helped vacuum”, picked up toys, and helped sweep the kitchen floor.

We watched Frozen 2 for the first time, and The Incredibles 2 for the millionth time. We played Memory, Connect 4, and Candy Land. We played with Barbies, LOL Dolls, and Play-doh. We played ‘Superheros’, Paw Patrol, and cars.

The two younger ones were able to take a bath that wasn’t rushed. They literally played until the water was too cold to be in anymore.

I was able to sit down read books with them. So many books in fact, that I can’t even remember what we read. My daughter read every book in her kindergarten book baggie. I was able to actually help my oldest with his homework.

My family ate a home cooked meal three days in a row. Which for us, is no small feat!

It’s been a breath of fresh air to actually enjoy going to work again. Because it’s been awhile since I’ve felt this way. I feel energized again.

I used to be so tired that playing with my kids felt like work. Another thing I had to do, another task to check off the never ending to-do list. I worked so many hours at a job that was so physically demanding, that even when I was home, I wasn’t present. Sure, I kept the kids alive, and I kept the house from burning down, but to expect anything more from me on a day off was pointless. Days off work were used for resting, and for recharging my body.

I was stuck in a place that limited what I was capable of. I lacked a balance between home and work. I could be a good mom and a good wife, but a sucky employee; or I could be a good employee and provider, but a sucky mom. I couldn’t be a good employee and a good mom, because there just wasn’t enough of me to go around.

It wasn’t fair to anyone.

Think about it, if someone tells you they don’t like their job, what’s your response going to be? Probably something along the lines of, “Then get a new one.” At least that’s the first thing I say.

And sure, I could have just quit my job on a whim and easily found a new one. One that paid a great deal of money probably, due to the amount of experience I have under my belt in retail and restaurant management. And sure, that job would have been fun for awhile, until the new wore off. And then what?

I know people say that a job is just a job, but I had high hopes for this job…

This job was going to get me out of retail. It was going to give me my nights and weekends back, my holidays back. This job was going to give me my happy back.

Not just any old job was going to do it. It was going to have to be the right job. I couldn’t just take the first offer that fell into my lap. I was going to have to step outside of my comfort zone, and take a leap of faith.

I ended up “job hunting” for a long. A really long time. Like six months long.

I had all but given up the idea that such a job existed for me. But eventually, I found it.

If you feel like you are the unhappy mom or wife who has the worlds worst job, I do relate to you. I truly understand how stuck you feel. And I know how scary the idea of making a drastic change is.

But I’m here to tell you to take the leap of faith. MAKE THE CHANGE. In my experience, it was worth it.

This change brought me back to a place that let’s me enjoy my kids again.

I’ve made it back to a place that I actually have hobbies again. I didn’t realize that I’d stopped doing things just for fun, until someone actually asked me one day what I like to do in my spare time. Then it hit me, that I didn’t have spare time. Ever.

To have answered that question honestly, I would have had to have said that I spent my spare time sleeping. What self respecting adult says that? That’s not an acceptable answer unless you are an early 20-something, or you have a newborn baby. Neither of those scenarios apply to me, by the way.

Before anyone gets their panties in a bunch, I’m not saying that everyone just needs a better job to be happy.

(or that every mom just needs to go to work to be happy)

It was, however, what I needed to be a happier mom, a happier wife, and a happier me.

I AM saying, you should really take the time to figure out what is making you unhappy. And then go do something about it. Because your kids deserve a happy mom. Your spouse deserves a happy wife.