I like working. I love working actually. I have had moments in my life when I'm not working and they are freeing and fun...for awhile. What always happens is instead of the crazy productive person I think I am going to be when I have all the free time I could ask for I turn into a sloth. A lazy, daytime tv watching, vegetable. I think I have always been this way. Give me an inch and I will take it put it on the shelf and sit down for awhile. I need schedules, I need routine, I need a time to get up and a time to come home, I need a deadline. I know this about myself, I know how to nurture this. And I learned, when I was pregnant, how to create schedules even when I wasn't working as much. But something, something lately, has changed...
For almost ten months of our beans life I only worked one day a week. This was perfect. One day a week I got to put on nice clothes and talk to grownups for 8 hours and then I got to come home and snuggle and for the rest of the week I got to do my other job and do it fully and with total focus. But I still had that thought in the back of my head...that need to work more. To create more strict schedules, to come home at the end of a day. So in October I picked up a few more shifts. It immediately was overwhelming. My work is not hard. So it wasn't that. And I still on average only pull a 25 hour work week. It's retail, can be demanding at times, but more often than not it's tedious and boring. My three days a week feel like full time. For the first time in my life it isn't causing me to be more productive in my other aspects of life. For the first time in my life my work seems to be taking away from my productivity. I get home from work and I want to snuggle and go to bed. On my days off I don't know what to do. I don't want to start a project I am just going to have to put down. All I want to do is stare into my beans eyes and get on the floor and play with her. I want to watch her little growing body learn new things, move in new ways, discover new toys and new games. I want to read to her, I want her to pretend to read to me. I don't want to do anything more than sit and just watch her because when I am at work all I can think about is all the growing she is doing without me. This isn't what I was expecting. At all. I have dreams of being a working mom, going off for my busy day and rushing home to make my family dinner, do some laundry, have amazing adventures on the weekends, and be a strong working woman role model for our little girl. Breaking news! This isn't reality.
When I do have a successfully full week, filled with adventures, and crafts, and a clean house and a full work week...blah blah blah. At the end of that week you know how I feel? Tired. And worse, I feel like I missed out on hanging with my kid. I don't know how to balance everything. That is the reality. I feel a little lost, like I am in a very new territory and I'm not doing a very good job navigating it. How in the world does anyone do it all?
I am not going to compare myself to other moms, out of house workers or stay home moms. It's a dangerous road to get on and it does none of us any good to do this. That isn't my problem here. I know they are out there, the CEO's with the clean homes and happy children. And the perfectly managed homes of the stay at home moms. I know this, but we are all different so I don't worry about that. When I do start to worry about how I stack up it's fleeting. I know too many other mom's to know that this isn't reality, that the internet and the blogs aren't the reality for most mom's out there. That we shouldn't hold ourselves to a Pinterest standard. But I do have my own standards and when I feel I am falling short of those...that is when this anxiety hits me...
Some of this is the Holidays. I have a bad habit of saying YES to everything and everyone. This isn't anyone else's fault but my own. I hate the idea of disappointing someone, this is true, but the disappointment is usually invented in my head. Most people are understanding, most people don't say yes to all of it. I do. Because a part of me loves all the crazy that comes along with the Holidays. It's the same reason why I always loved to work. That feeling of fullness is so rewarding. A full calendar, a full house, a full tank of gas and a long drive to see friends and family. No matter how exhausting, I find it exhilarating. Until it's over and I realized that the amount of time I sat down on Christmas day was exactly four hours. The four hours it took me to drive to and fro from one Christmas party to the next. And no, I wouldn't take it back, and the gatherings last weekend and the one's coming up. I wouldn't trade those for the world. Friends and family are very very important to us. And I know that this will be temporary, it will pass. The other side of it, the new thing, is that bean doesn't stop what she's doing, she doesn't stop changing and growing, just because Mommy is busy. And this breaks my heart. I don't want to be so busy trying to live up to my own standards that I miss out on the rest of this amazing world.
So where do I go from here? How do I learn to balance this all? Not to mention actually hang out with my best friend, my husband, my Jesse. He must miss me as much as I miss him. Is this just the way it goes? Is this why there are so many book and songs and poems about the fleeting moments of childhood. It's not that as adults we miss our own childhoods, it's that as our time moves faster and faster the older we get we are missing out on the the kids around us. While their days are still forever long and filled with adventures we, as adults, can just blink and we've missed it. It's a whole new ballgame and I am struggling to learn the rules. I can only hope that I'll pick up enough of it to fake it better in the future. Because right now I have no chance of being called up to the majors...
I think this is weighing on me right now because we are on the verge of a very big project that is going to take so much more of my time. I am nervous that I won't know how to balance everything. So I am really thinking about it a lot. I think this is good, instead of pretending we are fearless let's just all talk about our fears. Is following my dreams going to be too much of a sacrifice for my family or is it all going to be worth it? I think it will be, I think that we will figure this out. I think that having a mom that follows her dreams, that kind of role model I hope will be just as important as one who packs her lunch every single day. Oh man, I hope.
A haiku for my bean:
I have ideas
For how our future will look
For now let's just play.