As soon as I posted The Modern Day Brown Mom, I knew the questions and comments would coming flooding in. I haven’t gotten back to everyone yet and I haven’t posted any of the recipes that have been requested but all these things take time and time is something that I am in desperate need of. No matter how fast I clean, and cook, and get things done there are still tons of things to do. Truth be told, I am having a pretty hard time coping with everything that goes on in my household due to the lack of sleep, food, and rest. This feeling of being overwhelmed is quite normal and something many mothers can relate to.
Raising kids is no easy feat and I never thought that it would be but I also never imagined it would be this difficult. I am by no means a single mother but unfortunately I often feel like one. For one my husband is always outside the home be it for work or recreation and secondly he is one of those men that believe child-rearing is a woman’s “job.” That is not to say my husband hasn’t ever changed diapers or fed the kids when asked . With three kids under six, one of which is a baby who fights sleep and requires being held constantly, it can get overwhelming at times especially when the kids or I are sick which lately, has been a lot.
Many of you were curious to know what my day-to-day life is like and what I do for myself so today I am going to tell you a little bit about that. I wish there were more hours in a day! Every day is basically a race to see how much I can accomplish while awake. Akshaya and Udayan, wake up around 5:00 – 6:00 AM every morning, including weekends and holidays, and my almost 10 month old baby still feeds every three hours at night regardless of how much I feed him during the day. If that wasn’t bad enough he randomly wakes up as he pleases, sleeps in short bursts, and is currently fighting nap during the day and winning. Udayan stopped napping after one year and I fear that little brother Achyuthan is taking after him. I used to think I was doing something wrong, but it turns out some kids simply don’t need as much sleep. My kids definitely inherited that from me.
I usually start on breakfast, pack schoolbags with everything the children need for their day at school, before the kids wake up. As soon as the older kids are off to school, I start my chores in-between tending to Vishnu’s needs. I finish cooking dinner, with the baby in one arm, before the kids arrive home from school. I also attempt to have lunches and snacks packed for the next day but usually this doesn’t happen. I really make an effort to use my time efficiently while the older kids are at school, so that when they do come back I can spend quality time with them rather than spend my time getting dinner ready or finishing up chores.
Fortunately my dad picks up Akshaya and Udayan from school and drops them off at home so that is one less thing that I have to do. When the kids come home from school, they eat their afternoon snack which holds them until dinnertime, bathe, complete any homework, read, and play. On weekdays, we do not watch TV because I prefer the kids to use the time afterschool to interact with me and one another. Every Monday evening, my husband takes Akshaya to her acrobatic dance class while I stay at home with baby Vishnu and fold laundry. If I don’t get it done, it will remain unfolded for the next couple days and I hate having to walk by baskets of unfolded laundry.
When the older kids have eaten dinner, and been tucked in bed, I start prepping for the following day. This includes cooking and packing lunch for the older kids, preparing lunch for the adults, preparing the children’s snack boxes, and preparing Vishnu’s bottles for night-time feeds. If I plan on making muffins or a healthy pancake for breakfast the next day, I prepare the batter that night so that everything will be ready to go in the morning. However, as of late we’ve been eating more cereal as well as toast and eggs because I am too exhausted to attempt anything else.
All week I look forward to the weekend because I feel it is less stressful but in actuality it is also quite chaotic. Saturday morning, Akshaya has her Jazz lesson. Right after dance class, we come home to eat lunch and then run errands, buy our weekly groceries, and prepare dinner, before heading off to Udayan’s soccer practice. Sundays are almost always spent at home however Sundays are never relaxed as I would like because there is always so much to get done before the week begins all over again.
My life is pretty hectic and not at all as easy even though it might appear to be that way on Instagram. Being a mother is a 24/7 kind of job. So much time and effort goes into preparing the meals and lunches that you see on Instagram and believe it or not sometimes I don’t even have the few seconds to snap a picture and share it on Instagram. Some of you request posts on skin, hair, and all things beauty. There is a reason (or three) why beauty is not a part of my blog. Being a mother definitely doesn’t mean letting go of yourself but unfortunately beauty and fashion currently has no place in my life and oddly I am okay with that. I’m lucky if I can eat two decent meals a day and that’s what I choose to focus on these days.
Sometimes I fantasize over how much I could get done if baby VIshnu took a small nap or at least slept through the night. It is important to understand that it is okay to experience a wide range of emotions when it comes to your kids and to want time for yourself, away from the kids – it doesn’t make you any less of a mother. I really wish someone had told me that earlier. As much as I love being a mother I often count down the last few hours until the children’s bedtime so that I can sit for a second, drink tea, and unwind before tackling the evening chores. I used to feel mom-guilt over this but after a long day I think it is warranted. Right now I am not able to do much to relax because I am the only adult at home the majority of the time but if you have got the support, definitely make use of it. Everyone needs time to themselves and that includes mothers. I actually believe mothers probably need it the most because raising babies, toddlers, and little ones is not only physically exhausting, it is mentally exhausting as well.
The irony of motherhood is that all the stress, anxiety, and near melt-down moments are worth it because no matter how hard the day or situation is at the moment, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Sacrificing our needs and wants for that of our children comes with the territory of being a mother and a lot of us are doing quite well at that. But we also have the responsibility of taking care of ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally so that we are able to give our children the best version of ourselves.
– Moden Day Brown Mom
NOTE: I wrote this post to shed some light on what motherhood (specifically my life) is actually like because I often receive beautiful emails praising how effortlessly I take on the role of being a mother. I am no different than any mother – I work hard,make sacrifices for the sake of my kids and find motherhood to be a challenge just like most mothers. I would also like to add that this is my life because I chose this life for myself. I wanted three kids and despite the chaotic lifestyle, I would totally have a fourth if I could because that’s how much I love being a mother.