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.
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This week, we're hearing from a momma who turns to God when running her home and running after her sons gets overwhelming. When she feels unsure or uneasy, she listens to her inner voice and instinct to make the right choices.
Meet Ruth Rau-- the make-time-don't-just-look-for-it, momma.
Here's her interview:
How do you balance the mom, work, and relationship roles?
Not very well, haha! I make 2 lists. One is a running list of everything that needs to be done as I think of it. The other is a daily list. I make this before I go to bed at night and put no more than 3 items on it for the following day. Those 3 items can be as simple as "take out the trash, make dinner, do one thing for the business." I try to tackle that list of 3 things before dinnertime so that I'm not burning the midnight oilIt doesn't always work perfectly, but thinking about my day BEFORE it starts is invaluable to staying calm, if not a little more balanced.
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?
Oh man, when my youngest was about 6 months old and not sleeping (he had some reflux issues) and my oldest dropped down to one nap a day... One of them was always in some state of needing me all day long. Breakfasts, put down the baby for a nap, quiet time alone with my oldest, lunches for everyone, put down my toddler for a nap, quiet time alone with the baby, put down the baby for a nap, make dinner with a toddler underfoot, bedtimes, a little bit of working, my bedtime, baby up all night— wash, rinse, repeat. I was exhausted and angry at life. I would pray daily for the Lord's patience, because mine only seemed to show up if I got at least 5 uninterrupted hours of sleep a night. I relied heavily on my faith every time it got to be too much. I often reminded myself "Come to me, all who are weary, and I will give you rest."
What do you do when you feel overwhelmed, overstretched, or less than?
I check my inner voice. Often, she's critical, guilt inducing, and just plain mean. So when I am overwhelmed, my first response is always to listen to how I am speaking to myself. Sometimes I'm overwhelmed for real reasons, but more often than not, I am overwhelmed because I have unrealistic expectations about how much a human being can possibly do in one day.
I've had parents tell me that one of the hardest things about being a parent is the comparisons and judgements from other parents. How do you personally cope with that?
I try to remind myself daily that my road is not their road. My kids are not their kids. My struggles are not their struggles. If they want to pass judgement, as long as they're not calling Child Services, then it's their problem, not mine.
What is the great lesson you've learned as a mom?
I have learned how very deep God's love is for his children. I always used to bristle at being called a child of God, feeling like I was somehow less than in His eyes. Being a mother, I now understand that we are his heart, walking around here on earth. How vulnerable and gracious He is to us.
What is your favorite quote that inspires you as a mom?
"Mama, I love you" followed closely by "Every mother's greatest joy and heartbreak is that her children grow up"
What is your favorite song that inspires you as a mom?
“How great the Father's love for us.”
What is the one piece of advice you'd like to give to other moms?
Trust yourself. More than any other advice giver or blogger or parenting book or other mom or grandma in the world, you KNOW your child. You have known your child since before birth. There is a depth of understanding for normal and for healthy behavior that only you have. Trust that. Love your children, love yourself as their mother.
What do you feel is your greatest personal struggle with the experience of motherhood?
Managing my expectations about myself. I have all of these grand plans and very little energy to carry them out.
How has your relationship with your partner changed? How has it stayed the same?
So many changes. We used to put each other first unquestionably and all the time. With two little ones and two self employed businesses to run, we have many more things fighting for our time. It is sometimes rough to feel disconnected from each other, so we keep communication channels open and honest all the time. We both revel in the days when there are no external pressures on our time with each other. We try our best to make time for each other (not find time, because if we wait to find it, we never will).
How has your relationship with your friends, family or support system changed? How has it stayed the same?
Almost all of my non-mom friends are now also moms, so it's been nice to support each other through motherhood. As a mom, I have tons of local support. As a business owner working from home, I have little support and few people who understand that working from home is not the same as working outside the home, nor is it the same as staying at home and working exclusively as a home maker. There is no job that is more or less fulfilling than others, nor more or less difficult, it is simply different and therefore hard to find others who can relate to the challenges presented by trying to run a business while running after toddlers.
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)?
The absolute heart exploding joy of little boys who run up to me with thundering feet just to bowl me over with a hug and slobbery open mouthed kisses and say "I love you, mama!"
How many children do you have? (Include the special make-up of your family steps, adopted, guardianships, halves- or no details at all- up to you!)
Share your relationship status.
Married to the love of my life