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I loved writing my little advice column for me and myself when I was in my 20’s and single and I absolutely LOVED all your responses!! Go read the comments!!

Then tonight I got to thinking about what it’s like up here in the mid-thirties, married, with kids. My oldest featuring a tee from his favorite CD: Cake for Dinner.

Despite being fraught presently with the blur that double pink eye can bestow to moms dropping eye drops in the moving target of kids’ pupils, I am cogent enough to look around and see my insecurities in this state of life that looks all well-assembled from the outside.

I have a loving and hardworking husband. Bonus points that he’s handsome.

I have three cute kids. Cute when they’re not ripping each other’s lego creations apart.

I have this fancy old house, oh, and I used to practice law so somehow that means I’m smart (except my house is very dusty as is my brain).  

The insecurities in our married, kidded 30’s are very real, even if not apparent to the naked eye. On a daily basis, my brain twirls through these first-world problems:

1) Did I explain that properly to my kid or am I completely bluffing my way through parenting?

First born kids get all the practice hits, right? (baseball analogy, really? wow, mothering a baseball fanatic has changed me.) If I don’t show compassion and exhibit love constantly, will my children feel unloved and under cared for? Are my answers ones that will satisfy them and make sense? Am I overthinking this?

2) Am I where I thought I would be at this age?

I told you guys a while back I had this existential moment watching an acquaintance’s super amazing cover video. My face felt hot as I watched and thought jealously, I could sing like that. I used to really have a voice. I should be singing cover songs. Maybe there’s an app on my phone or my computer that’s like a voice recording one so I could resurrect my briefly-dreamed of singing career. Before I pulled my head out of the tunnel of other-life fantasy, I also glanced at her wrinkle-free beautifully made up skin and contemplated my black heads on my nose and chin.

I’m embarrassed to admit this one!

(I thought I’d probably be married with kids in my 30’s but of course I had no real clue what that would look like.)

3) Can I ever stop nagging my husband?

Can I really bite my tongue and hold back all the corrections I want to issue? On the phone with a close friend who’s single in his mid thirties the other night, I realized a big difference between being married and being single for me, as I said it aloud. Instead of worrying about who I will spend the rest of my life with, I find myself worrying about how to treat the man I’m spending that life with charity, kindness, and respect.

4) Am I being mindful enough?

Do I practice gratitude? Am I gripping these moments with my kids with just the right finger tension–not too helicoptery and not too nonchalantly? Will I remember doing the best I could with what I had to offer them or trying to escape the annoying parts of mothering, and in doing so, missing out on the equally rewarding parts?

5) Am I regulating my time appropriately?

Do I say yes to the world to help, be, give, and do without taking care of myself and my dirty sinks? Are my motives for saying yes pure or do I want to be seen as the loving, giving friend and get those pats on the back that my sink refuses to give me, mysteriously?

—-

We’re all floundering on this journey together. Maybe some of these struggles & thoughts resonate with where you are. Maybe you’re just jamming along with this and feeling like everything is peachy. It simply helped me to take stock in where I am and how I can improve after looking back at my 20’s with all my nostalgic wisdom. Slow double wink.

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4 Responses to Examining the insecurities of the 30ish year old mom

  1. Kate M says:

    So almost 36 with two littles 3 and under it is so interesting to hear your thoughts. I think a lot about how many more children we will have, about loosing a baby as I get older. I worry about the spiritual growth of my family and how do I keep that going especially married to a convert. I think because I got married later I don’t have the what could I have done thoughts as much. I struggle with missing the freedom of before kids a lot. And I struggle with keeping our marriage engaged around things other than our kids.

    • Natural Mama Nell says:

      All such beautiful and raw and real things to share. Thank you, thank you, sister, for being here! I got to practice law before kids so I don’t have a ton of the regret-lost-life things–maybe that one’s more for me like a dissatisfaction at times, which I think we all get, even those of us who are very happy in our lives. The freedom before kids–yes! And to have a relationship with my husband that’s more than a litany of what the kids did that day and how I survived: I hear you on marriage being engaged. Spiritual growth is always on my mind–I’m the weaker link in our relationship with my husband a super spiritual dude and me the cradle Catholic whose faith grew and blossomed more as an adult than I realized it needed!

  2. Colleen says:

    Pink-eye tip! My pediatrician told me to lay my then-not-quite-two-year-old down on her back and have her close her eyes, then drop the eyedrops into the corner of her eye. Then I just let her open her eye and slightly tipped her head to one side so the drop just rolled right in! Then I repeated for the other eye. Total no-fuss MAGIC!

    • Celia says:

      Woah. Crazy! I’m going to have to remember that. It seems far less traumatic than the way I’ve done it with my older kids.

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