This is 33

I turned 33. A week ago, wow. I started writing this ONE post a week ago.

Ahem. Thirty three is busy.

Do you remember being a child and being absolutely sure that you were going to do life better than your parents? You believed this same thing in adolescence and in your twenties.

You’d say things like “when I grow up I’ll…..” or “when I’m a mom I’ll _____ with my kids / for my kids.”

I’d have a lot of dogs. (this was a young Leanne dream…)

No, Thank God. 

I’d drive shiny new cars

Nope! We own that old mini van and I love that.

I would travel extensively before I had kids and have books full of pictures detailing my travels.

I’ve yet to leave the continent. 

My husband and I would have a romantic date night every week.

Babysitters + Food = weekly budget breaker, monthly, maybe. But mostly takeout on the couch with board games… and to be honest… movies… and by movies I mean Netflix.

When I became a mom I would have a career but also spend tons of time with my children.

I own NO dress pants and 5 pairs of yoga pants right now so… there’s that. 

Those children would wear cute, gap clothes and never have to endure all the hand me downs of my childhood. 

I adore consignment stores and the kids wear 97.5% Used clothing.

The list goes on. Thirty three is nothing like I thought it would be.

I think I safely qualify as a grownup now. I have three kids and a mortgage so those certainly seem like grown up things and being a grown up? It’s way harder than I thought it would be.

photo

This is what 33 looks like, as seen in a dirty bathroom mirror full of toothpaste splatter.

The bags under my eyes have everything to do with my newborn daughter and my hair is too fun and doesn’t match my dirty mini van and lavender goodwill zip up.

When I look at that woman in the mirror I have a lot more questions than answers.

How I define success in thirty three years of living?
What story am I telling with my time and what sort of role model am I for my children, to whom I’ve dedicated my days and for whom I’ve decimated my boobs?

Am I just a Mom? Is that even a thing? “Just” a mom? It seems like a crock because “mom” keeps me busier than any job I’ve ever been paid for.
Am I just a wife? My career is voluntarily on the back burner these days and I have an associates degree in laundry.

I love being there for my people, but some days I go through life and wonder…. who is Leanne when she’s not being mom and wife?

Impressive Netflix consumer?
Latte addict?
Tidy-counter obsesser?
Worrier?
Whiner?
Pinner of newer, better ways of doing ALL THE things?

Who is Leanne and what was she put here to do, in motherhood and then… not in motherhood?

I’m learning that this is an important question to ask in my life, for all of us, but I think especially for Mothers.

Where are you in the midst of all the Mom?

You were before they were born and you will be again.

I don’t want to send Clara off to college and have no idea what to do with myself.
I want to show my girls that even if you don’t go to a 9-5 that you need to have things that you sprawl across the pages of your life and walls of the world that extend outside guiding them though childhood.

Is Mom enough for me? Should it be? Is this a controversial question? Should it be?

When in doubt I go and read “what my mother taught me” by Shauna Niequist … then I ponder.

Thirty three involves a lot of mom-ing.
A lot of rinsing cloth diapers and folding little socks.
A lot of grocery lists
Endless people feeding. Endless.
It’s a lot of running around cursing and picking up legos smaller than any toy ever should be.

It’s a bit of wondering where I went in the midst of the backpacks and bills.

But I’m learning that the best thing for my family is to be me for them, and I suspect that involves more than dishes and doling out snacks.

I’m trying to remember that when it comes to the number of people in my family that have needs that need to be met, that number includes me. I can’t keep ignoring myself and be the woman my family needs me to be.

I don’t really have a great handle on what thirty three looks like. I think it will involve more flossing than the previous years… and a lot of pondering questions like this.

This post doesn’t resolve. Nor should it. My life hasn’t resolved, it never will, it will end and leave a legacy that has and will continue to impact other lives. At least I hope it will.

Either way I’m starting off 33 with a commitment to think about such things.

If you like this, there’s more words in store, to keep up easily use the box below to have new posts from this blog delivered to your inbox.

Enter your email address:Delivered by FeedBurnerAnd when share with your friends, well that makes me pretty happy. 

You can also find me on twitter and Facebook as well. Join the conversation on all fronts, that’s my recommendation…

  • Gayl Wright

    Yep, I’d say you qualify as a bonafide adult! :) And you look adorable! What you say here is so true: “This post doesn’t resolve. Nor should it. My life hasn’t resolved, it never will, it will end and leave a legacy that has and will continue to impact other lives.” I think we impact more than we will ever know. And, you’re right, we still need to know who we are, we need to be ourselves for our family, and that includes our creative outlets. I wish I had taken more time for self-care when my children were growing up. I might have not been so tired all the time. Glad you see you writing!

    • http://www.leannepenny.com Leanne Penny

      Thank you Gayl! It’s true, we are intertwined more tightly than we will ever know. This post itself is sort of proof that I am trying to move in a better direction with self-care and, self-awareness and creative outlets.

  • Natalie Hart

    Yes, all the needs to negotiate, including your own. How to be there for your family yet not lose yourself in them. Good questions, good thoughts for 33.

    • http://www.leannepenny.com Leanne Penny

      Thank you friend. I know it’s not something that will stay in perfect balance but still… I want to try

  • Mark Allman

    Leanne,
    I would say you would be able to write this at 44 as well. With some of the same questions. Questions we all need to ask. Even in our service we are unique. I believe as we serve we should let that uniqueness shine through. We are at our best for others when we take care of ourselves as well. We need to let those near us know us and that includes our children. We need to show them the things we love and enjoy; letting them watch or be involved but not pushing those loves on the back burner where no one even knows they are there.
    It is not a balancing act because we are always out of balance in some manner. We must choose which way we are leaning at that point in time. It is the journey that is so important; and the people with you on it.

  • Magdalena Macinska

    Just wanted to say that what you write here on the blog in such a gentle and beautiful way is for me something that is a part of you, and a gift to the world :)