Year in Review: #MomLife

Illustration by Emma Crevier

#MomLife is a window that looks into all things motherhood and family. I have published 22 columns this year. As I reflect back on what has happened in the past year, I am proud of what #MomLife has become and excited to tell more stories. 

#MomLife has given me an outlet to vent, laugh, share and connect. Now, I know there were some boring columns. But with the boring come some really good ones. My kids have changed a lot this year. My daughter has gone from a moody 14-year-old who would rather not talk to anyone who is older than 14, to a slightly moody 14-year-old, with a boyfriend, who would rather not talk to anyone who is older than 14. My son has tried new foods, experienced camping and even beat a couple of video games along the way.

Below you will find what I believe to be my Top 5 best columns of 2021. I hope that you will join me in my quest to survive motherhood in 2022 because I know I will have a lot more to talk about as my kids grow and evolve.

5. Pick your battles — February 5, 2021

“When you have children no one tells you that you will be fighting with a tiny version of yourself everyday over trivial things that are much more important to them than they are to you. No one warns you that pants can and will be too shiny one day, and perfectly acceptable the next. No one shows you the right way to hand a toddler a snack or that there is in fact a wrong way. So here I am warning you, and telling you that it is OK to pick your battles.”

4. Help! My teenage daughter is dating — November 12, 2021

“I remember when I told my mom I had my first boyfriend. She became our biggest fan. You could say that she was the President of our fan club, so to speak. But she was also cautious about it. She worried whether I would get my heart broken, and how I would react to it if it happened. But she also cheered us on. So when Cadence first came to me, I was suddenly given the opportunity to choose how I would react. Would I err on the side of caution and be the mom who worries about everything or would I take on the role of fan club president? Ultimately, I chose to start the fan club.”

3. Mom, don’t forget about you — March 5, 2021

“It may take years to realize that you have forgotten about yourself. I know it did for me. But when you finally break out of that mom cocoon it can feel refreshing to finally do something for yourself. It can be as simple as sitting down for 30 minutes to read a book or as elaborate as taking a kid free vacation to recharge your batteries. The reason I am writing this is to remind you that in the middle of the chaos, spit up, and dirty hair, you are in fact a person. You are still you.”

2. Moming is hard, life is hard, depression is hard — July 7, 2021

“Living with depression is hard because it is mostly silent. Sure, I cry because I’m sad or for no reason at all, but most of the time I am just silent. I have lived with this for so long that I have learned to cover it up, not well I’m sure, but cover it up enough to attempt to function throughout the day. Many people don’t realize the internal struggle I am going through unless I tell them. So that means the support isn’t always there because people aren’t mind readers, they don’t know what’s going on in our heads unless we tell them. 

“I often wonder if my children notice that something is off when a depression spell hits me. I haven’t done a good job explaining to them that what is happening to me is uncontrollable. I wonder if they just think I am tired all the time, and too lazy to get up to clean the house. Or are they old enough now to realize that everything with their mom is not OK?”

1. Did I just buy a camper? — March 16, 2021

“I know to some people it seems weird that I would invest time and money into a camper that will only be used a handful of times a year but I’m really committed to teaching my children to unplug and practice some self-care. With technology running our lives it’s really hard to get away from it on a daily basis. But the beauty of camping is that you’re in the woods far enough away that the WiFi signal is spotty if you get a signal at all, and it forces you to be a family and spend time together, and just get away from the everyday chaos of life for a few days at a time.”

Steph Hightree is a hot mess mom who is fueled by stress and too much caffeine. She is a Three Rivers native who talks about the good, the bad, and well, everything else about parenthood.

Any views or opinions expressed in “#MomLife” are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Watershed Voice staff or its board of directors.