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In today's episode, we are joined by Bridget Lovett, a working mother of two kids and we discuss the self-discovery journey of navigating the milestones of parenting. Our conversation spans the relatable challenges of the parenting process and the personal growth achieved. Don't forget to join us on our Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/reallifemomz/ to share your stories about finding yourself within the role of motherhood.
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Welcome to Real Life Momz. I'm your host Lisa Foster of Real Life Momz is a podcast where real moms have. Real conversations about real-life issues are mission is to unite moms by talking about these topics and continuing.
Our conversation through our Real Life Momz Facebook group where we want you to become part of our community. today my incredible friend Bridget Lovett is here to join us to talk about the topic finding yourself within the role.
Hi Bridget, Hi Lisa, thank you so much for coming on Real Life Momz. I’m so happy to have you on the show today. I'm happy to be here thanks for inviting me. I can't wait to visit with you. Today’s topic is going to be finding our own identity within our role of parenting. That’s easy, isn't it sure I think we can nail that you are a mom of two kids, and so am I, and what I think is cool about us talking about this topic is that we knew each other before kids, and we knew each other when we had like other interests and hobbies, and we knew who we were. I felt like I knew who I was, and if you ask me what I'd like to do like I actually had an answer for that. Now I feel like when people ask me what I want to do, I'm kind of like I don't know. Yeah, exactly because it's interesting when I have to sort of face the idea of what do I do for myself that's not you know I've tried the whole as a mom doing self-care of like getting. My nails done. Luxuries are going for a walk or things like that, and it's like yeah, that's not who I am either, so how do I find what feeds me as a person so that I can you know be there for my family because if I don't, I really get a resentful towards this family that I love so much especially when you have such little personal time it's it's a struggle and another pieces is that you kind of feel like you're alone as you're going through it even the most social of us who love to be with other people it's hard to know if you're doing it right. So cool that you have started this podcast because we really need to know that other people are going through this as well. Your story is interesting because when someone asks you what you want to be when you grow up, what was your answer? I want to be a mom. I know so crazy. I didn't know that was an option. My mom, I mean, she just loved being a stay at home mom, and so I think I saw her do that and said yes, that's it so it's like some people see astronauts and they're like oh my gosh, I want to do that I saw my mom and that's what I wanted to do yeah, and I love my mom, but I did not see that.
I met your mom, and she was an awesome woman, and I can see why she so inspired you she made it look a lot easier than my experience has been, and I can tell you it wasn't because I was a great kid. she embraced it she loved it, and she did a great job. she had a really cool career she was a physical therapist and went back to that career when I was in middle school, but in between, she just made mothering look like a vocation and just like her pleasure to do it being a mother and a wife was, you know, her calling, and she nailed it. And you stayed home part of the time. I worked for a little bit out of necessity, but my husband and I are goal was always that I would stay home with our kids. It was a lot harder. My mom made it look easy. It was tough for me to find my identity in that role of full-time mom, an engineer, and house runner, and all the things that.
are under the title a stay at home mom having that be my focus was a huge challenge I never was an entirely stay at home mom as I went back to work part-time initially, but what I realized quickly was that when I was home, there were no breaks there's no lunch break or bathroom break and then really just no time off, and it truly is hard to find yourself when you're just kind of in the midst of the day today especially when your kids are young totally and it's interesting. I went back to work after both my girls were born, and then gradually we reached the point where I could stay home, so it was like this I'm having a hard time keeping track of it all. What I should do list got long and I did get pretty depressed, and even though I've been treated for depression. This was a new kind, I was checking out of my day, and that's how I knew I wasn't living my best self. So here you are, you're living your ultimate dream of being a stay-at-home mom, and then you're figuring out that it's not what you expected, and so how did you pick yourself up and then find yourself if you will. Well I'm still looking so.
But I'll tell you I feel more inspired for the day now that I work three days a week and then I'm a mom and I do other things. And I'll be honest, you know I go to therapy and she helped me kind of see why I was feeling that way I was.
I was just kind of checking out of the stuff that I wanted to do, and I would say one thing she helped me to kind of see was that the amount of should have that I put on my plate were super high that made me really kind of give up myself and try to live this idea of what mothering being a wife should look like. That should list more than just I should stay home; I should cook dinner for my family it was like my kids should be in these extracurriculars I should be like this for my husband. This is all in my mind.
We should eat dinner together every night we should be going for a hike.
My therapist said. Ok, I want you to spend a week when are you actually feeling joy with your family. When are you feeling restful, take note of what is a should and what is your reality. Let things go a little bit that I should be doing because I thought that was an ideal way for me to raise my family, and so you know now we don't do dinners every night. if I told you years ago that we would do every dinner together never have the television on. Home prepped by me, and now I bring in some you know it depends on the night that I can go anywhere from the beautiful organic meal or sitting down saying prayers and eat. But that's the rarity should is now a special treat yeah and that's such a good point because I feel like a lot of parents feel like they need to be perfect and it's like if I can take care of all the housework and if I can support my kids for all their activities and if I can do all these things then it's equal to like I'm a good mom but what I'm finding is by doing so much I didn't really even realize that what I was actually taking away from my husband is that he was starting to feel like he wasn't included and so all of a sudden getting him to do the dishes and helping out with the house you know he started feeling like he was included in actually participating in the family where is before when I was doing everything I didn't realize I was even taking that away from him and you know once again there's perfection like you have to do everything they look really good on the outside and they make a beautiful photo. But it really isn't fulfilling, and it doesn't necessarily bring happiness. I believe that if mom is happy the family is at that’s an interesting point because you don't you try and be happy for your family to are going to make for a happy family, but then a lot of times, what I was doing was stuffing my emotions down so that I would look happy and appear happy to my kids, so they didn't have to shoulder any of my burdens.
Really what I was showing them a great examples of like stuffing your emotions. Well, guess what, but that sucks is really authentic, and kids can handle that and not only can handle it, but having examples of this is really hard. I need a break from it like they needed some examples from me being real about how things were.
I remember when my kids were little. I'm not sure if this is a great parenting move or not, but I would put myself in timeout. Great parenting move. My kids would be like arguing. Or doing whatever, and I said OK, I will set a timer I will make sure they're safe, and I say mom is going into timeout, and they would have a look on their face because if I stay here another minute, something will or should have put me in timeout. How many timeouts do I wish I would've taken. I mean, honestly, that is a strategy I wish I would've taken a lot more often because really taking a minute in and I'll often say the girls, now you know what I'm going to take a minute because I'm too upset and I think that's a great you know that transparency with our kids and I think what you did there with your speaking in their language by saying I'm in time out.
I know I have to say for all the moms who are stay at home moms or what I wish I would've known at the time was that there's no one right way to do it that it's not when they're young you should be doing this when their older do this really connect with your family take a look at what they need and do that especially with kids with Neurodiversity they look typical. And act atypical, and I always thought it looked like a reflection of my parenting, and I would get super embarrassed what all these people think of me right now it's not my business my business is to take care of these kids, yeah and that's a great even beyond that it's even in things like TV time like I'm going to be honest my kids they watch a lot of TV they play video games and. I like watching TV, and I know it's looked on like bad parenting, and in the beginning, I was like trying to hide it. I would be like what are your kids like to do and I'll be like oh my daughter likes to dance or my son maybe played soccer one yeah and but now when people asked me what my kids are doing I just say my son plays video games and my daughter is on her phone and that's what we do you know I think all parents feel judged about something even like the little things and it's been refreshing just to be like yeah you know that's who we are. So after the particularly embarrassing parenting style that I've expressed, I'll clap my hands and say, that's how that's done look at everybody in the room and say did you take notes?
We are all trying our best, yeah, and sometimes you know we don't come out as we planned.
The thing that goes along with should is a lot of shame. And when we have all these ideas of OK when I go out in public my kids are going to act like this and if somebody saw my day to day and saw the amount of screen time. Like I studied in my professional career. And the little bit that my kids got. Totally be like. Information from television the Internet. Well, then Covid hits right, and it's like, who wants an iPad. so yeah, I had to embrace it and let go of the shame. It was funny cause we were going to do this fall festival today and my kids looked at me and like, instead, can you put on your pajamas, carve pumpkins and then watch all the Halloween episodes. Yes, we can do that. Sounds like a perfect day. I can see that it would've been real guilt-ridden thing that I traded in the hayride for the Halloween episodes but truly, that's where my family connects, so that's what I'm going to embrace oh Bridget, we were high screens before Covid hit so if that makes you feel any better about your parenting I am happy to offer that to you know I might be silently judging you I have developed so much as a parent that I don't even mind being judged anymore.
When I feel myself doing the judgment, and I need the support of our other moms. Yeah the whole judging of other parents thing we all need to remember is that everyone is doing the best they can, and what works for one kid and one family may not work for someone else and who are we to really judge anyone. I think we all do judge someway or another, and it's up to us to take a moment to reflect on our judging. What's going on right now what's going on with them and judging other people for the things we don't like about ourselves. We do have to take care of ourselves, but it doesn't always look like getting a pedicure. Yeah right, it's finding those things that feed your soul. Yeah yeah so Bridget, what would you say are the things that feed your soul and did you find them or are you still working on them.
Still working on them but I'm starting to see signs that you know going in and being my professional self but I have I realize that the quiet moments and I get a lot out of connecting with my family and in saying what really feeds your soul. But in finding it's not something that happens overnight, it's not like take a look at it and go oh no oh, of course, it's gardening it's taking it's like doing an audit of your day-to-day overtime in saying that is actually what's fun for me that makes me feel refreshedYeah, I think that's so important, and I think we do lose a lot of that when you are stuck in the day-to-day
I wonder now if I was a stay at home mom who knew that I didn't have to live up to all these shoulds or feel any of that shame for not living up to those shoulds if I liked it and embraced it more and as I release trying to look like this perfect mom and embrace being able to say you know I have no idea that's what I was able to enjoy my family and in this journey of parenting Bridget is there anything you want to leave as a take away for our listeners. Big message of the big take away is you know if you're doing the best you can today that is really enough. Yeah that's really enough, and I think that's a great one, Bridget.
Thank You so much for coming and doing this with me today the way you talk, and you're so positive but realistic and a compliment I could get a gray any I always feel a hundred times better. You are a joy to my soul.
Thank You so much for joining us today on Real Life Momz. This is just such an insightful conversation, and Bridget, you really said it the best way. We are just all doing the best we can, and that's enough, so we like to continue talking about this particular topic or any others. Please join us on our Facebook group at Real Life Momz and don't forget to follow Real Life Momz Podcast, so you don't miss an episode.
Bridget is a lover of life who is excited to sit crooked and talk straight with a friend-about all things related to being a mom. She's a mom of two, wife to an awesome husband, sister, daughter, cool-aunt and friend who sometimes gets to work in one of her favorite roles of being an occupational therapist in elementary schools.