Lucky Me

 

Being a mom is exhausting. And I’m a lucky mom. My kids are wonderful. My kids are healthy. My husband is supportive, hands-on, engaged. And he works hard. His job is demanding and stressful and it makes our choice possible; the choice we made when we had children that I would stay home. This was a surprise to both of us. I was a career woman. And I don’t miss it for a second. Because while I believe that you can have it all, I’m not so sure you can have it all at the same time. At least, that wouldn’t work for us. Having one stay-at-home parent works for us and for me. And by taking a break from “it all,” whatever that means, new doors have opened, new opportunities came. And it’s about luck but it’s also about good choices.

But sometimes, even now with hours in my day that are technically “free,” I feel overwhelmed. I say “technically” because there is always something to be done to manage the house, to clean, shop for, cook, launder, volunteer for, sew bat wings on. There is always something to do for others. And this is why I have come to look at my work day differently. For two to three hours in the morning I am on. And I mean on full-blast, no holds barred on. Making breakfast, beds, feeding cats, drying tears, driving to school, walking to school, waiting for the school bus, doing whatever needs to be done for others as is humanly possible by one human. And then from after school until 8:30 or 9 p.m., I am on again in the same way, cooking, making lunches, having family dinner, chauffeuring to swimming or art class, dealing with grouchiness, homework, bathing, playing, reading stories, holding, talking to, cuddling, doing whatever needs to be done. That’s about nine very solid and exhausting hours. And no, I don’t sit on the couch and eat bon-bons in between. I still do errands, laundry, cooking, bills, taxes and other such household duties during my day, but I am doing less of that and more for me during those off hours and everyone benefits. It’s hard for me. I get anxious and want to cross things off my list. Just one more thing, just one more errand. And then I pay and then everyone pays.

When I look at my day and my needs on a given day and I listen to my inner voice, I have so much more to give. I have come to guard my time with great care. And so what if the house is a little messy. I want my kids to see a mommy who is fulfilled and happy and not always maxed out by a life that she is, quite frankly, incredibly lucky to be living. So I go to the gym. I take walks. I meet friends for coffee or lunch. I write. I take naps. I read. Sometimes I watch crappy TV and drink hot cocoa in bed and then I take a nap. That’s a banner day. And typically, it’s the only time I get for me. Sometimes it’s an hour. Sometimes it’s two. Then at 7 p.m. when I’m doing dinner dishes and simultaneously helping with math homework and running a bath and realizing that I have to pee and have had to for an hour, I can tap in to the time I gave myself in the middle of the day and try to find balance amid the craziness. And realize just how lucky I truly am.

Comments

  1. heartwriter says:

    Amen sister, Amen!!!

    Like

  2. Jana Claxton says:

    Hey Jen, Just read your blog post, SO perfect per our chat the other day at the Y. Nice writing and I can totally relate! It is SO different from having a career and feeling that sense of accomplishment when you complete a project, our ‘projects’ never end as Mom’s. See you again soon! – Jana

    Like

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