There are so many discussions about working moms, stay-at-home moms, work-from-home moms…what is better, what is harder… Please know, this is not one of those posts. Nor will there ever be that kind of post on M+M. The discussion that is most important is a personal one – what is right for you and for your family? The answer will not and should not be the same for everyone. Here is a little bit about my answer and the hold-the-phone, TIME OUT moment I was unknowingly in need of.
I’ve been feeling a little unappreciated lately. I have an 11-week-old daughter and a 2.5-year-old son. Juggling multiple kids is no joke, and the learning curve for this juggling act is a doozy! My daughter is a smiling, cooing gem: she’s incredibly mellow…but really only for me. Up until last week she wouldn’t tolerate being held by anyone else or laid down for even 10 minutes. My son is one of the sweetest boys on the planet. He’s also incredibly creative…lately its been dedicated to ways of exploring defiance or to pretend he suddenly doesn’t understand English. Needless to say – and as to be expected with the arrival of a new baby – things are crazy right now.
The fact that the chaos is expected hasn’t stopped me from feeling a little bit rowdy! I’ve noticed surges of jealousy for my husband’s time in the shower, opportunities to exercise, and general hands-free time. I’ve enjoyed some therapeutic vent sessions to girlfriends, but I’ve also started to get sick of the sound of my own ranting words: “this is a thankless job” and other punchy statements. One evening last week, during that typically precarious last stretch from after nap time to before daddy gets home, I received a soft, sweet kick to the butt.
My son had just finished telling me he couldn’t help pick up his toys because he needed both hands to dance with his teddy bear. But then he asked me to turn on music and dance with him. After we started twirling around the kitchen he asked me to sing too, so I switched to a song I knew (I picked Crazy Dreams from the show, Smash, sung with big Broadway gusto by Megan Hilty). Singing and dancing with my son in my arms and my infant daughter watching us from her baby bouncer, I had a tire-screeching moment when the mayhem of life halted. This moment, the exact thing I was doing IS my crazy dream come true. I looked at both of my children’s faces and thought how I’ve wanted them all my life and they are more amazing than I could have imagined. I begged my husband for us to find a way for me to stay home with them, and somehow we did. I have an incredibly satisfying job working from home and my life is more complete than my own crafty plans could ever have created. So why is it so much easier to count hardships than blessings? Why do I have to remind myself to be thankful? Because I’m human, I suppose. I’m flawed and I’m tired. Sometimes I remember to keep the right perspective on my own, but more often than not I need a little jolt to help me focus on the joyous parts of life and to do my best to shrug off the not-so-sunny.
So here I am, with a bunny-ear headband on from Easter, singing and dancing with my two babies in the kitchen. Maybe it sounds like a truly crazy dream to some people that being home with my kids is my personal dream come true, but it is. I am a bona-fide rock star to my children: my voice and my moves are unbeatable. I’m here for all the silly things they say, the amazing things they do, and the tragic meltdowns they go through. I feel like a hot mess and someone who is stretched pretty thin right now. And I AM! But this is what I asked for, what I wished for and – thank you, God, and sweet husband of mine – what I got. I have to work extra hard to get my work done, to find any scrap of “me time”, and to cook dinner. But I’ll get better at this juggling act as time goes on. And I still get to complain to girlfriends or communicate to my husband when I need a little extra help. My moment in our kitchen was precious to me, humbling, and also validating. It IS hard no matter how motherhood is sliced and diced, approached or worked out. But it’s so worth it.
I have made a resolution. In the chaos of everyday life, chaos that is different for each one of us, I am vowing to myself to take in these little moments – these treasures bestowed at the most random times – and I’m holding them in my heart. God knows there will be days when there is literally nothing left in the tank and I’m going to have to dig deep. When I go digging, I’ll be grateful I’ve stored up these precious moments in my memory bank. Lord knows I’ll need them.