So I’ve been trying and trying to get things done today and it’s just not working. I feel really failury (new word) right now. I tried to get work done. Fail. I tried to write. Fail. I tried to clean. Fail. I tried to study lines for a performance on Sunday. Fail. I repeatedly became overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done.
My son has been sick for the last two days and I’ve been home with him. That doesn’t always happen theses days but as luck would have it this was a kind of slow week. I have loved being home with him, snuggling, watching shows, listening to his stories – even getting puked on didn’t phase me.
I also looked at this as an opportunity to get some things done that I don’t normally have a chance to do in the middle of a weekday when I’m usually at work. I couldn’t. Hence the failuriness (another new word – I’m on a roll).
It’s harder than it used to be being at home. My life used to revolve around everything happening at home. Since going back to work full time a few years ago I have become very results oriented and even though I spent the last two days exactly where I was supposed to be I struggled with just sitting and being present.
Now another child is crying while the puking one lays sleeping next to me.
(Please excuse me)
(Ok, I’m back)
This job is never done and sometimes I guess I just have to let go of productivity, sit still and be with my people. It’s a challenge switching those hats. But I’m always up for a challenge.
Being a working mom is hard. I wish there was a more eloquent way to say it – maybe there is but it’s now 3:45 in the morning and I can’t figure one out. So that’s it – hard.
Once upon a time we decided, my husband and I, that one of us would work full time and the other would not so that we could be available for the kids. I always thought the part-time worker would be me. I was for a really long time. I spent 8 years volunteering in classrooms, hosting play dates, meeting all the needs, and loving it. What a gift it was to me and, I hope, to them that we got that time together. But ultimately things changed and here I am juggling all the balls (the 12 year old boy in me can’t help but giggle at that one). I love my family and I love my work. I’m in a daily tug-of-war with the demands of each thing. In this I know there is a shared understanding between every mom in America – whether you work outside of the home or not.
In my daily wrestling match with anxiety and perfectionism I can’t help but feel as if I’m never measuring up. No matter the imaginary benchmarks I set for myself, and achieve, it never feels like enough. There is always an area in which I feel as if I’m letting something or someone down.
It’s funny because even the process of writing this had to be an exercise in letting go. I started at 9 pm on Friday after attempting to get my two youngest to bed and my sick 7 year old instead vomited amoxicillin and grapes all over me. I cleaned him up and laid with him on me until he fell asleep. I felt inspired and started typing this on my phone. Then my nine y/o, who had already been put to bed, became very upset at everything in the entire world and insisted upon sleeping somewhere other than his room and needed some mommy snuggles after two days of giving me up entirely to his sick brother. I think my daughter, 12, still lives here and has not run away with the circus but it’s been a messy couple of days. Last thing I remember was turning off her lights at 10 pm.
At some point I fell asleep. Cut to 4 am and I’m now awake, due to my husband’s snoring, and I’m laying in the bottom bunk of my sons’ bed because the puking boy is sleeping in my bed and the crying boy is asleep on the sofa in the family room. So here I am – now 4:24 am – from a child’s bunk bed, a fleece sea turtle blanket atop me – remembering to breathe, reminding myself that not every outcome can be measurable, humbled by the constant lessons revealing themselves to me, and grateful for a sense of humor that returns me from the brink every time I fear I may go over the edge.
I’ll never finish the race while I’m alive. I’ll never be done learning, growing, setting new goals for myself – that will never change. But somewhere in the midst of the constant race I have to forgive myself for not being a machine and allow time for just being. I like goals, I enjoy projects, I’m a terrible “homemaker” but I love my family more than anything on this earth and they deserve a sick day or two of watching every episode of Phineas and Ferb snuggled in bed with me. So that’s what we did.
Here’s to motherhood, getting puked on, forgiving ourselves for not being perfect AND for how much we like Phineas and Ferb.