Momma Interviews: Meet Amanda Rae
The Momma Interviews is a new blog series by Catherine O'Brien, LMFT highlighting the thoughts, experiences and wisdom of a unique real-world mom each week, to normalize and validate the struggles and triumphs that are a part of the universally human experience of motherhood for women everywhere.
This week, we're hearing from a momma who lives with Rheumatoid Arthritis and manages to chase around two energetic boys. When she feels stress coming on or judgment from others, she reminds herself that her sons are loved and at the end of the day that's all that really matters.
MEET Amanda Rae-- the mind-over-matter momma.
Here's her interview:
How do you balance the mom, work, and relationship roles?
I am a married mom to two boys (Kaden 11, Kael 3), I work a full time 8am-5pm job, and I also have Rheumatoid Arthritis. Life is hectic but I enjoy it all. Fall time is busiest because our oldest son plays tackle football which means practice 5 nights a week for 2 hours and games on Saturdays, homework every night, dinners rushed, housework piling up, bathing and grooming a 3 year old, fighting the fatigue and pain of the RA, and then when its finally bed time I'm a zombie... Oh wait, my poor husband!! ... and what about much needed "Me" time? Hot Mess? Um ya!
Thank goodness my husband is a willing participant! Part of my sanity is that I drop kids off in the AM to daycare and school and my husband picks them up in the afternoon and gets them to sports practice, that right there is a huge help and keeps me from loosing my mind! ha! Then Sundays I try to get caught up on housework, laundry, hard work etc. I can't say that I am completely "balanced" though... but really can anyone?
Most moms I speak to say there are moments when they are ready to throw in the towel. Can you describe a time you felt this way? What got you through it?
I have days where I feel completely overwhelmed from work, house chores, kids, husband, bills, pain and fatigue in every joint of my body, and a feeling of frustration but honestly I have never felt like throwing the towel in, by doing so I would feel like I failed my boys and that is not an option for me. I have though, grabbed a bottle of wine, snuck away and locked myself in the bathroom, ran a hot bubble bath, and had a good cry... like the "sobbing ugly cry" kind of cry! ha!
What do you do when you feel overwhelmed, overstretched, or less than?
There are a couple things that I do. One (my favorite) is a bubble bath, wine, and a good cry ... I always feel so much better afterwards.
If I'm overwhelmed I call my mom and vent and she does the same when she's overwhelmed (we have a good support system going.) I also like to use the "Mind Over Matter" approach, stress is a nasty thing and has many negative effects on the body so I try not to stress as much as possible... things happen and there is always a solution... the hard times will pass.
I've had parents tell me that one of the hardest things about being a parent is the comparisons and judgments from other parents. How do you personally cope with that?
Mom shaming is horrible! Everyone parents differently and no one will ever agree on what method is best. Of course, it's natural to compare yourself to others and to have others judge you on your parenting style. When this happens to me (usually by my ex which is my oldest son's dad) I keep in mind that my boys are loved very very much, they are clothed, fed, participate in sports and activities, and we are very active as a family... I KNOW that I am not a bad parent and have nothing to be ashamed of. There is no such thing as the "Perfect" parent... I have to remind myself of that.
What is the great lesson you've learned as a mom?
The greatest lesson I have learned by being a Mom is that there is no perfect way to raise children and there is no perfect mom. Everyday is a learning day... everyday is an unknown.
What is your favorite quote that inspires you as a mom?
“In the end I am the only one that can give my children a happy mother who loves life." Natalie Hodson
What is your favorite song that inspires you as a mom?
Hmmmmm I haven't really thought about this. I am terrible with songs and the artist haha.
What is the one piece of advice you'd like to give to other moms?
Don't forget to take care of yourself. It's like what the airline attendants say, "Put your oxygen masks on first then help your child with theirs,” You are no help to your children if you are depleted.
What do you feel is your greatest personal struggle with the experience of motherhood?
My greatest personal struggle from motherhood is a feeling that I have let me children down. Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis I experience awful fatigue that puts me down and out and I can barely function at times... then I hear the words, "Mom can you play with me!?" or "Mom, will you read to me?" I feel horrible guilt when I say "no sweetie, mommy is tired and needs to rest" UGH! I feel as if I am failing my children... even if it is only once in a while. I feel as if I need to be attentive to them at all times, I feel that time is ticking and it can not be wasted yet I'm trapped within the fatigue. I don't want my boys to remember me that way. I am slowly learning self-care and the importance of it to give my boys a happy, healthy, productive mom.
How has your relationship with your partner changed? How has it stayed the same?
My husband and I's relationship changed from having a lot of "us" time and focus on each other to our time alone being 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there and by the time we get the boys in bed and finally hit our bed we are exhausted (ok, I am exhausted) and just want to go to sleep. We have differences when it comes to parenting and sometimes bicker about discipline. As for what stayed the same.... I still think my husband is a hottie and I can never get tired of being in his arms.
How has your relationship with your friends, family or support system changed? How has it stayed the same?
Friends? You can have friends when you are a mom?! Just kidding. Honestly, I do not have any close long-term friends. I choose to hang out with my family. Again, I am learning the importance of self-care and not feeling guilty for having "me" time but it's still a work in progress. As for my family, we have been drawn closer (even from afar), my family is a very close-knit family.
What is something that has surprised you about being a mom (i.e. something you didn't realize you'd enjoy, something you didn't know babies/kids did, something you didn't know could bring so much joy)?
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed being pregnant and even enjoyed delivery. Creating a little human being is fascinating and seeing the characteristics of yourself in that child is priceless.
How many children do you have? (Include the special makeup of your family: steps, adopted, guardianships, halves- or no details at all, it's up to you!)
2 boys. One son with my current husband and one with my ex-husband.
Share your relationship status.
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