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50 Ways I’m Barely Managing Motherhood

Well, since my blog is called Mama Manages, I thought it was time to have a moment of authenticity. Ya know, I like to write about the things I’ve figured out how to do better, because nobody wants to read a blog about someone who’s just fretful and whiny all the time.

At the same time, I’m kind of a mess in a lot of ways. I write because I love to write, not because I necessarily have all the answers. So here are all the ways I’m barely managing motherhood – and all that it entails. I hope it’s relatable, at least!

But I feel like before I begin, I need to say this:

I genuinely like myself in spite of all the garbage listed below. I hope you like yourself, too.

I’m barely managing motherhood when it comes to self care.

  1. I hate exercise. I’m doing it regularly right now, but I sure don’t make it look easy.
  2. I used to read books all the time. Now, I can barely read anything longer than a tweet without getting distracted.
  3. I love the spa, but I can’t stand to spend money to treat myself. I only go when I get a gift card from my mother-in-law. That’s because…
  4. I’m a tight wad.
  5. I am lousy at fashion. I never notice a new trend until it’s been going on for several years. And then, I never execute it quite right.
  6. I gained 53 pounds with each of my first two pregnancies! Now we have stretch marks by the dozen.
  7. I am bad at making time for things like hair appointments and mani-pedis, so I tend to have a very DIY look going on.
  8. I’m a person with respectable amount of will power, but it all vanishes at 9:00 every night. TV snacking is my kryptonite.
  9. I don’t write in a journal or see a therapist, and I’ve never been great at prayer.

I just can’t bear to sound this doomy-gloomy in the name of being #relatable, because I’m a pretty optimistic person. Here’s what’s working well for me with regard to self-care: my gluten-free diet, regularly attending Bible Studies, my new jogging hobby, and working on this blog – just for me.

mom napping on the couch - son playing

I’m barely managing at maintaining and making new friendships.

  1. I only have two friends in my town who are my age. We’ve moved around quite a bit, and it’s too easy to be content with just my husband rather than trying so hard to find friends. But then sometimes, I really wish I had more frequent girls’ nights.
  2. I’ve lost touch with some of the best friends I’ve ever had. I didn’t even know that one of my bridesmaids had a baby until it was posted on Facebook. We didn’t even have a fight or anything. She just lives on the east coast, and we lost touch.
  3. I get kinda sad at playgrounds because all the other moms are laughing and talking in groups, and I’m just there, alone on a park bench. Oh, that sounds pitiful. But I’m just being real here.
  4. I am terrible at remembering and properly observing birthdays with anything more than a text message. One year, I sent my sister three birthday gifts in the same month to play catch up!

The good news? My next door neighbor is a hoot and makes me smile all the time. I see friends at church, and we’re all trying to make a better effort now. I have a best friend from my old town and we keep in touch and make time for each other. I’ve got an awesome family that I can talk with on the phone.

I’m barely managing motherhood with regard to parenting.

Don’t judge, but…

  1. I don’t yell, but I offer up lengthy manipulative, whiny rants when I’m frustrated. I’m working on it.
  2. I’m incredibly impatient with my oldest, who CANNOT speed things up. Are all six year olds this slow!?
  3. I don’t have high enough expectations for my little boy. He’s just a doofus, (compared to his sister) so I give him too much slack. I probably push big sister too hard.
  4. I leave my 15 month old playing with her big siblings too often while I’m doing chores, and just pray that I’ve kept everything dangerous off the floor.
  5. My kids watch 90 minutes of tv every day in the summer. No tablets, though! Yes, I know what the AAP says about it…
  6. Sometimes, I am so over it by bedtime that I let my preschooler skip toothbrushing. I just don’t have it in me to wrestle him.
  7. I’m not super touchy-feely by nature. I have to really work on giving out plenty of hugs to my kids.
  8. One time, I was overwhelmed with trying to get dinner made, and my 15 month old was hollering. I couldn’t find a prep-free, respectable snack to give her, so I let her eat an entire bag of Cheetos. It was available, and it worked.
  9. I have to put “play with the kids” on a to-do-list, because otherwise I’ll get caught up in housework and forget they need Mama time.
  10. Sometimes, I scroll through my phone while a kid is talking too much.
  11. The most irritable I get all week is the 20 minutes before we leave for church, when no one is on schedule, and no one is listening to me, and my husband (peacefully catching up on the news and drinking coffee) has no idea what I’m mad about.
  12. I’m seriously considering giving my middle kid Dramamine on the airplane next month, even though he doesn’t actually get motion sickness. You know why.
  13. I’m raising super independent kids, but it’s mostly because I want them to take some of these chores off my plate STAT.
  14. After my oldest was born, I had a really hard time adjusting to motherhood. It was not enough sleep. It was too many hormones. She cried too much. I cried too much, too. I’ve let go of the old me, and I’m better now.
  15. The toddler makes a disaster under her high chair every meal. When I get behind on the sweeping, which needs to be done after every meal, I sometimes catch her snacking off the floor.
  16. Sometimes, I bribe my son with external rewards because I haven’t figured out what motivates him to learn new things yet.
  17. I don’t have a high tolerance for messy spaces, so I’m constantly nagging at the kids to do a 20 item tidy up. It was fun at first (and it does WORK), but I should probably just chill out occasionally.

Here’s the good bits: my kids are happy, well-fed and rested, loved deeply, and other people seem to enjoy being around them – in small doses.

mother and son talking at eye level

I’m a mama who’s barely managing to maintain this household.

  1. I routinely forget to cancel subscriptions, and then I have to waste a bunch of time trying to get automatic payments refunded.
  2. I frequently try to create a budget for the month, but then I never adhere very strictly to it.
  3. Our front yard looks bad. I can’t decide what to do with it.
  4. I cook dinner 4 nights a week, which is pretty impressive. But my kids hate my cooking, and my husband’s too nice to say anything.
  5. We have lost two library books.
  6. Most of our kids’ furniture and bookshelves are from Target and they’re all slowly falling apart.

The good news is that our house is pretty well-maintained in spite of my failures. It’s in better shape than most people would expect given that there are 3 kids under 7 living here. Also, I’m really good at accomplishing major household tasks in less time than most people would spend thinking about doing it.

I’m sorta-kinda managing at being an awesome wife.

I had to ask my husband for some material on this one, because I think I’m pretty flawless in the wifin’ department. Humble, too. Below are his criticisms.

***Note that these probably belong in the housekeeping section, but I don’t want to correct him. That’s because nit-picking is not good wifery. ***

Anyway, he says…

  1. I forget to lock things and we’re all gonna get murdered in our beds someday.
  2. Sometimes I don’t even remember to close doors when I leave the house.
  3. I don’t take good care of expensive things that’s we’ve both worked hard to earn.

Isn’t he a smart man? Those are like…so benign. God love him.

Here are my own thoughts on my wifin’ failures:

  1. I can be a bit manipulative to get my way sometimes. I don’t mean to do it. I don’t like it about myself, and I’m working on it. But I can be extremely persuasive in a not-so-charming way.
  2. There are about two days each month where I’m just cold, distant and annoyed for no good reason.
  3. I’m an Enneagram 3, so I constantly need to be told how great I am or how well I did something, and my husband is not playin’ that game – however, he gives excellent foot rubs and has good taste in tv, so I allow it.

I have nothing more to say on this topic, lol. He’s lucky to have me.

mom and son playing on a tablet - barely managing motherhood

I’m barely managing when it comes to my work life.

I’m a part-time teacher/interventionist. Here are all the ways I suck.

  1. Over 90% of my students are Latino, and I don’t speak Spanish.
  2. I’m not a super creative teacher with my lesson planning.
  3. This past year was my first year to be an interventionist. The first-year teacher who I was supposed to be supporting hated me (HATED ME) for the first 6 weeks of our partnership because my personality was too dominant in the room, and I was yet another person telling her what to do and things to change when she was struggling. I kept misunderstanding what she needed from me when she would express her worries and frustrations. (Never again will I make this mistake – I’m a quick learner, at least).
  4. I’m a true believer in the accountability that data provides teachers, but I have a hard time course-correcting and making meaningful changes when the data reflects bad news. I know I NEED to, but it feels overwhelming to basically start over with my LPs and long-term calendar. So sometimes I just flail around for a bit, unless the change is more of a tweak than an overhaul.
  5. Due to the nature of my husband’s job, when someone gets sick in our household, I’m usually (not always) on deck and have to miss work. Two years ago, I used ALL my sick days and then some.
  6. I use way too many external rewards and coupons to motivate my students. They’ll probably never be intrinsically motivated, and it’s definitely going to be my fault.
  7. My classroom door is never decorated very well. In fact, my classroom decor is never that cutesy or matchy-matchy. I am not a Pinterest teacher.
  8. I do almost no work in the summer or on vacations, except for what can be accomplished during professional development.

The good news: I genuinely like my students, and with few exceptions, they like me, too. I know my subject area back and forth. I take criticism well and learn pretty quickly. I’m super organized. I’m basically an expert at delivering bad news to parents with grace and solving school problems together. I forgive easily.