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You become a mom and you have all of these preconceived
ideas of how things will go. Or at least I did. I had this vision of myself as a mom—and I always looked peaceful in these visions,
like Mother Nature. And then I had a baby. Two years later, I had another
I woke up one morning and realized the things I used to
care about before I had kids were now weighing me down. It was time to let go of some things.
Victoria's secret is that she doesn't have a 2-year-old screaming for apple juice while a newborn wails in the crib.
I am shocked that I used to actually spend time
digging through my underwear drawer to find the hot pink bra that went with the
light pink panties with the hot pink lace. Or trying to find the black knee
socks to wear under my knee-high boots, even though no one could see them. I
wasted so much time color-coordinating my purse to my shoes, hunting through a
tangle of jewelry for the earrings that went with a sweater or the necklace
that brought out the silver in my dress. No more. Victoria's secret is that she
doesn't have a 2-year-old screaming for apple juice while a newborn wails in
I used to send them for everything. A birthday present, a bottle of
wine brought to a dinner party, a good deed done by a kind-hearted soul. It's a
good thing to send thank you cards and I still make the effort when I have
time. But I've given up on trying to send thank you cards for everything now
that I have kids. For one, I never have stamps (let me tell you about the time
my 3-year-old mistook a book of stamps for stickers). Secondly, by the
time I locate a card, a stamp, the address of the recipient and steal 10 minutes to write a note, I've forgotten what I'm thankful for.
Now I send thank
you texts as soon as a gift is received or a kindness is done. While my
inner Emily Post cringes, I'm content that I'm doing the best I can and my
friends know I'm grateful even if my gratitude doesn't arrive on Hallmark
via the postal service.
3. Reading all of the magazines
Once upon a time, I subscribed to no less than six magazines, as well
as the daily newspaper. And I read them all, cover to cover. Then children
came along and I found the pile of newspapers and magazines becoming
overwhelming. For awhile when my oldest was a baby, I would tackle the pile
once a week or so while he napped. It became a chore.
I started skimming for the most interesting articles, but even that wasn't
enough to make a dent in the pile. I let all of my magazine subscriptions lapse
and reduced my newspaper subscription to Wednesday and Thursday. Now I only buy
a magazine if I know I'll read it within the week, and I usually have enough
time to page through the newspaper twice a week. One day I'll subscribe to my
favorites, but for now I'm letting go of the paper pile.
A friend would be fighting with a mutual friend over
a perceived slight, another friend was refusing to deal with family issues that
had been festering for years, a third friend was hating her job and wanted to
vent about it. I used to let this stuff actually take up space in my brain—and
my life. I've come to the realization that being a good friend doesn't mean
internalizing everyone else's issues and complaints and letting myself become
stressed and exhausted by problems that have nothing to do with me. The saying
"Not my monkey, not my circus," works well in scenarios like these. Being
supportive and encouraging, offering advice when it's solicited and staying
quiet when it's not all work for me now.
I have no doubt that as my children get older, I will let go of more things or return to spending time on things that I've put on the back burner for now (I need new underwear, after all, so they might as well match!). What have you given up since becoming a mom? And what do you still need to let go of? It's a good question to ask when you're awake at 2 a.m. because of something that really no longer matters to you.