Friday, May 3, 2013

Hey Ma... it's not all about the kids.

Today while doing my ceiling-high pile of dishes (we don't have a dishwasher... not complaining, just sayin') I was just sort of thinking over "who is Sierra?" I thought about how if someone who had no idea of who I was asked me this, I would go on about how I am a married, stay-at-home-mom of three little boys and three daycare kids (don't panic, I only have my two littlest boys and two daycare kids at a time). Then I would go on to talk about my hobbies like sewing and DIY projects, my Zumba class, my new clean-eating lifestyle, my faith and my involvement at my church, my heart for victims of sex-trafficking and moms dealing with unwanted pregnancies, I would talk about my time in Mexico and I'd brag about my neighborhood. I have so many great things going on in my life. I get to BE and EXPERIENCE way more than just my mama job.

Sometimes I feel like my whole life is centered on kids and their needs. I get pretty tired of it sometimes. Don't get me wrong, I love that I get to be at home with my kids, and I don't take it for granted. But I do feel at times that my identity is all centered in my offspring. And then I fret about how I am raising them, how I don't study sight words enough with Max, how Gabriel is not brushing his teeth enough, or about how Eli doesn't get read to enough. And I forget that there are so many other parts to ME. Sierra.

If you are a mom (or dad) what do you do to nurture the other areas of your life? Do you struggle with making it all about the kids?

After my dad died in 2010, I realized that I needed a break. I needed time away to process and to rest (mamahood ain't for wimps, right?!) I came up with an idea for a 24 hour retreat. My best friend Hilary is childless and has the sweetest husband (he's like a brother to me), Nick. They have a nice neat house, welcoming, warm, comfy, and did I mention childless? Perfect place for respite. It was wonderful. Very quickly, with my husband's blessing, it became a monthly ritual. Matt sent me away once a month for a full 24 hour break. I still do it to this day. My 24 hour retreat is coveted by many of my mom-friends (and not-yet-mom friends too!). A few of them have had the pleasure of joining me at Hilary's. They would tell you, it is AAAAhhhhhh-mazing. What do we do? Sometimes nothing but sit and watch movies, sleep, and eat pretzel m&ms. In the past I've brought sewing projects. Sometimes we actually get dressed and we go out. Sometimes we get pedicures. Sometimes we drink margaritas. Sometimes we have long drawn-out heart to heart talks, sometimes I tell her I don't feel like talking. If you aren't on the 24 hour retreat train mama, ya needs ta hop aboard. These retreats help me so much. They help re-energize me. They help me to get girl time and help me feel like a grown-up.

Another break that I am allotted on a regular basis is my Funday Mondays. Every Monday, without question, I get to leave at 5 for Zumba, and I am not expected home until well after kids' bedtime. I get to visit with friends or have alone time. Many are spent with Lea. Sometimes we go see movies or eat Punch Pizza. Sometimes we go shopping for cheap accessories at Forever21. Sometimes we just go grocery shopping. It's a weekly break. My husband is so great isn't he?

It's funny, because when I have shared the ideas of the 24hr retreat or Funday Mondays with other women in front of their husbands, I get some crazy looks from the guys. One guy jokingly covered his wife's ears and said "don't give her any ideas!" and then agreed that they should work out some sort of regular break for his lady.

So, those are two things I have in my life, that make this all seem bearable. Opportunities that allow me to step out of the mom box for just a little while, to help me see all of the other things that make me... Me. I'm a good mom. I find a good part of my identity in that. But there are a whole lot of other things that make up this lady. And for that, I am grateful.

I think this is from when I was just starting my retreats. Me and my BFFE Hil.
Her and I had been through a lot that year.

Me and my Funday Monday girl.
If you are a mama in a similar place in life, I want to encourage you to find time to step outside of the mama box for a little self-preservation.  Go get a pedicure. Go hang with your girlfriends and laugh really hard. Go see a movie. Eat some ice cream with your BF. Go have some alone time with God. Catch a break sister. 

Have a good weekend. I am off to coffee and a play with my neighbor Amy tonight! See? I even get breaks on nights other than Monday! Again, my guy is great. I remind him of that a lot. 


  1. your guy should give seminars. ;)

    1. Yeah he should! I think that men would be pleasantly surprised by how much happier their wives would be if they were able I get away and breathe from time time.

  2. Lovelovelove you and this.

  3. so do you make dinner and then leave at 5? or let hubby figure it out? just curious... I usually feel guilty, I know I shouldn't...

  4. Sometimes I start dinner. Sometimes I make sure that there is stuff in the fridge to make dinner. And sometimes I mention the left-overs in the fridge for him, and suggest cereal or a frozen pizza for the kiddos. My kids are STARVING around 4pm usually so sometimes I give them a good hearty healthy snack so that husband can just give them a light dinner.

    I'm not a good freezer meal maker (my husband isn't fond of hot dishes or bakes anyway) but maybe that would be a good suggestion for starting out! I used to leave after dinner, but since my Zumba class is at 5:30 I leave before dinner now.

    I know the guilty feeling. I know it well. Let me know if you needs some helpful suggestions, I'd be glad to share how we were able to find a routine that worked for us:)