9/5 | Life Lessons from Baby Quin
We welcomed our daughter, Quin Estelle into the world a little over a month ago and It’s taken a while for me to write this post because I’ve been throwing around thoughts in my head about it for a long time. This is the most personal I’ve ever got in a blog post and I’ve gone back and forth on whether to publicly be this transparent. But ultimately I decided that it’s important and that while some people may read it and majorly judge me, some may really need to hear it. So I’ll take the judgement and turn off the comments on this post.
I have a shirt that says “living the dream” on it and the week before Quin was born, my brother-in-law saw me wearing the shirt and asked what “living the dream” meant to me. I was a little caught off guard and fumbled through an answer, but I’ve thought about that question a lot over the last month.
At the time I got pregnant with Quin I was in a dark place. If that question had been asked to me then I would have said something like “there isn’t room in our life for me to dream”. If you’ve read my first blog post Jumping In then you know that my husband and I own a coffee shop, which was his dream for a long time. And while helping him pursue his dream, I rediscovered my love of design. What I didn’t tell you though is that I had been pretty envious of him being able to pursue his dream and how little it felt I was able to pursue mine with being a stay-at-home mom and being limited on money to work on design projects in our home. I was struggling with my purpose and frustrated as a mom. I often felt that Ben was to blame for my unhappiness as a mom and as a designer because we were spending so much energy and money on the coffee shop. I struggled with wanting to be with my kids, but also wanting some space to do something else in addition to momming and doing behind the scenes work for our business.
The month before we got pregnant with Quin we had a conversation in which we decided we were way in over our heads with owning a business and having two little ones, so we wanted to wait about another year before getting pregnant again...and then, surprise-baby number three was on the way! At first I did a lot of crying. It felt like if there had been any chance of me having the freedom to pursue my own dreams, it was now long gone as I was about to start back at square one with a newborn.
Shortly after I found out I was pregnant I decided to join a recovery group for codependency. The funny thing is I had no idea what codependency even was until a friend who invited me to the group roughly defined it for me. All I knew was that the combination of seasonal depression and frustration with my life had come to a T and I was tired of being mad and sad all the time. My life felt out of control and as I sat on my couch crying and explaining it to a friend one day she brought up an idea that I had never thought of before….what if all the chaos and unhappiness that felt like it was just happening to me would require change from me rather than my husband and kids? I decided to join the codependency group because I learned that codependents often struggle with basing their happiness on other people’s actions. They try to control situations and people and when they can’t, they kinda lose their mind. They play the victim of their own life because it feels easier to blame someone else than actually do the hard work of changing themselves.
The last 8 months that I worked through my codependency has been absolutely life changing. I won’t go into all the ways it has changed my life through a blog post, but if you want to know more, let's grab a cup of coffee. For now, I will say this. I have never felt so free as a mom or as a person. I’ve learned to worry about the ways I need to grow in my own life rather than letting myself believe that if my husband or kids or friends or family would change that I would be happier. I let go of the guilt that was making me feel I needed to be a certain type of mom or do things a certain way. The reality was that things weren’t working the way they were. So we started changing things. In our marriage, by having a babysitter come part time so I could start pursuing design as an actual job. In the way I viewed God and His involvement in my life. I started to value my own self care because I realized when I’m taking care of myself, I have more energy to take care of those around me. I think just about every area of my life has changed.
I thought that getting pregnant was going to take away more of my freedom, but I was wrong. Instead it caused me to do some deep soul searching into why life wasn’t working and it has brought more freedom than I ever thought possible. I knew there had to be a better way and being faced with the unexpected pregnancy of my sweet Quin helped me to figure it out. For that, I am forever grateful.
So as I’ve been reflecting this last month on what living the dream means to me, I’ve realized this is it. I’m so in love with my family. It's weird for me to remember my original reaction to getting pregnant because as I look at my family and see my sweet Quin I realize she is such a gift. They all are. In letting go of what I wish was different I’ve learned to see how amazing my husband and kids truly are. They’re incredible and I have so much fun with them. And having the outlet of designing other peoples spaces is kinda unreal. Sometimes I can’t believe I actually get paid to do it. Our life is far from perfect. Our kids throw fits in the grocery store and we miscommunicate in our marriage and sometimes let the night be ruined because neither of us wants to apologize. But we are learning and growing and that’s really all I could ever ask for. I truly feel like I’m living my dream and I’m so incredibly thankful.