This feature is all about celebrating real mums. Mums are amazing and come in all shapes and sizes but sometimes we can feel alone, we can feel as though we are the only ones struggling to keep on top of things. I want to lift the lid on motherhood so we can all feel part of a sisterhood, to feel proud about our own achievements and know that we are doing the best we can!
Without further a do let me hand over to Jessie!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
My non-husband and I have a blended family of five. He has one son from his previous marriage, who is 10 and I have an 18 year old and an 8 year old. Oh and one fur-baby, so a family of six.
Because we are not married I call him my non-husband, but the kids call each other brothers and sisters. We’ve been together since my littlest was 3 and he doesn’t remember life without them in it.
Describe a typical day in your life
My typical day varies, we have my stepson half the time.
If I’m fortunate to wake up before my youngest, then I meditate and enjoy the quiet. Once, the littlest is awake, we sit on the couch together. I work on my laptop while he watches cartoons, and the fur-baby chews a bone (and preferably not the couch).
We usually wake up an hour or so before we need to mobilize for school. On Mondays and Tuesdays, we get an earlier start because my stepson goes to school an hour away (near his mom’s house).
On Mondays & Tuesdays I scramble to get a ride to school for my little guy. We’re just under a mile away from school which means he doesn’t get a bus. Occasionally we have to Uber.
I had spinal surgery last September and have not been able to drive since. It’s extremely frustrating. Prior to the injury, I was a hospice nurse and was very passionate about my vocation. That was ripped away by my injury along with a lot of my other passions, like distance running and yoga.
I have occipital neuralgia as a result of the accident which means I have a constant pain in the back of my head varying in intensity. Sometimes the pain is blinding and can confine me to bed for days at a time. I’m fighting the insurance company to cover a surgery that could help.
If I’m having a good day, I get as much done as possible, working, writing, ordering groceries, cleaning, laundry, etc.
After school we scramble to do homework and find a ride to hockey practice, or whatever other sport I’ve been suckered into signing them up for. My youngest is totally ice hockey obsessed. He practices three times a week and jumps on any other opportunity he has to get on the ice.
At bedtime, my youngest and I meditate together, a new routine that I’m loving.
What is the best thing about being a mum?
I love being a mom so much. If life had different circumstances, I would have had 10 more. I feel intense happiness from seeing the joy on their faces as they create cherished memories.
I love watching them have fun with their friends, or just playing together, in the pool, at the beach, in the yard, with smiles lighting up their faces.
I adore traveling with them. Watching their minds expand as they discover the world and see it from different points of views.
We created a family fantasy football league; last night was our draft. I couldn’t care less about football (American football), but it was so much fun because the boys revelled in the excitement of it.
One of the things I love most is the pride I feel as I watch them transform into incredible people. My daughter just graduated high school, 3rd in her class, despite many challenges. Not only is she brilliant and beautiful but she is the most compassionate, kind person I’ve ever known. Qualities I admire.
I really love when my son tells me he wants to marry me when he grows up.
What have you found hardest about motherhood?
Letting go or watching my kids experience pain I can’t take away.
I moved my daughter to college last weekend; it was heart-breaking. We both bawled our eyes out. I felt like she was in first grade all over again as I was leaving her with strangers. This time I couldn’t even reassure her with, “I’ll be back in six quick hours.” Even though I knew she’d forget all about missing me within a day, I knew I would continue to miss her terribly. I cried for days; my eyes still tear up as I write this.
My son struggles with my ex-husband and I not being together. We separated when he was only a year old. He doesn’t remember our life together, but still he often wishes that we were together. I tell him that his dad and I are like macaroni and cheese and cookies, really yummy on their own, but terrible together.
Last year he told me, “It’s not fair, I always miss someone. When I’m home I miss my daddy. Then I go to my dad’s house and I miss my mommy.” His dad and I are friends, and we all often do things together. He’s very welcome in our house (by both me and my non-husband), his dad even tucks him into bed here from time to time. It helps, but my son still feels sadness. It breaks my heart because I don’t know how to fix it.
How has your body changed?
I became a mother when I was extremely young. I was only 15 when I got pregnant. So for the majority of my life, my body has been just like it is now. I have stretch marks all over. Even though I really don’t care for them, I’ve come to accept them as part of me.
I used to adamantly believe that I would get breast implants one day. Ironically, my injury made me feel more content with my body the way it is. I often experience debilitating pain, so big perky boobs just don’t seem that important anymore…I’d happily settle for a few days of living without pain. Don’t get me wrong, I still wear a push-up bra! haha
Do you wear make-up? If so, what does your routine look like?
Most days I only wear tinted moisturizer with SPF, eye brow powder and mascara.
If I want to look a little more “done up”, then I add blush, highlighter, contouring powder, and a neutral eyeshadow. I’m pretty laid back, casual most of the time. Give me a comfy sundress or cute romper and I’m happy, bonus if I can add a cute hat.
I used to get dressed up and go out often; not so much since the injury. On the occasion that I do get dressed up, I like to go all out, fake lashes, smoky eyes, or a fun bright lipstick.
What’s in your handbag?
I have two kinds of purses, one is my pre-injury kind of purse: a big beautiful bag stuffed with anything I could possibly need, i.e. snacks, inhaler, mints, batting cage coins, every business card on the planet, ten shades of lip stick, antibacterial gel, receipts for my last thirty-nine purchases, and enough crumbs to make a meal if I got stranded on an island.
Now, I can’t lug that giant handbag around; it puts too much strain on my neck. I only bring what I absolutely need in a small wallet wristlet. It has money, credit cards, tinted lip moisturizer, my phone, and house keys attached to the keyring. I’m in trouble if I get stuck on an island, but life is simpler without lugging around tons of extra stuff.
What is your relationship with housework?
Housework and I have a love-hate relationship. I love a clean house, but I hate housework. Our main living area is moderately neat, with the exception of dog toys strewn about and the daily piece of sports equipment that never finds its way home. I could definitely vacuum more often.
The only reason our house is kind of neat is because I shove all random items into the “playroom”. Honestly, it’s only a playroom by name, no actual “playing” could possibly take place there because it’s completely packed with junk.
How do you relax?
My favourite thing to do after a long day, settle down with a warm cup of lemongrass tea, a good tv show, and tune out the world.
I have a tough time relaxing. The muscles in my neck are always tense which keeps me on edge. Even when I’m watching TV, I’m usually multi-tasking, doing research, writing notes, or catching up on social media.
The only thing that helps me chill out a little bit, it turning on a guided meditation and laying down. My mind is always going.
What’s the best parenting advice you have ever been given?
My mom always told me, to “Enjoy them while they’re little; they grow up very quickly.”
Unbelievably true. I wish I could go back in time and enjoy my daughter as a little girl all over again. I feel like I spent too much time stressing about what I couldn’t give her and not enough time enjoying each simple moment with her. Having her off to college has made me hold on to the boys a little bit tighter.
For any new mums out there, what would you like to tell them?
Trust your instincts. When I was a new mom, I was scared to death. I had 0 confidence. I was also only 16. Over time I learned that no one knew my children like I did. I can feel it in my gut when something was wrong.
Consult others when you have concerns or questions, but always trust your gut. If you don’t feel like you’re getting the best answer, keep searching.
What makes you happy?
This is a tough one for me. My perception of myself has changed so much; and I’m a little lost right now. I’m really good at saying what used to make me happy. I’m in the process of rediscovering or remaking the new me.
It makes me happy that my daughter asks me questions that I would have asked friends as a teenager. Or talks to me about her life. Or leaves me hidden love notes to find after she’s off at college.
It makes me happy to see my son grin after he scores a goal he worked so hard for. It makes me happy to hear my stepson’s jokes. It makes me happy to the boys sing and dance to whatever the crazy song is popular at the minute.
My kids make me happy. But there’s more to life than being a mum. One day my kids will be off building lives of their own. I need to find my own happiness before then…
And finally, complete this sentence:
I am a great mum because….. I’m a great mum because I find intense joy in teaching my kids kindness, compassion and chasing dreams.
Oh Jessie this was such a beautiful read! I am so sorry you have to live with such pain each day but my goodness you are such an inspiration. I could listened to you (or read) all day! I hope you find happiness again, life is too short to be unhappy. x
You can find out more about Jessie and her world over at her blog, Flustered Mom.
She is also on Twitter so go say hi!
I am not accepting any more submissions for this feature. xx