Sunday, August 28, 2016

I Have to Be Enough

I'm into week 3 in this back to our reality thing but this week is the true test. My oldest started school on Monday which meant the return of the dreaded nightly homework, but it was also the start of soccer season which is followed by gymnastics and basketball season in the winter and then softball in the spring and girls scouts all year.

I'd like to say I've rocked these past three weeks and I'm some supermom superstar but honestly it's had its high and low moments.  One minute I'm all energetic and positive I'm going to rock this working mom balancing act this year and in another moment I want to just throw in the towel and say who am I kidding.

There are  the moments like my oldest's first day of school that no one is there for and she comes home almost in tears wanting to know why neither of us put her on the bus for the first day like so and so's parents. Or why when I randomly put notes in her lunch all the time last year didn't I on the first day of school (mom fail right there due to a massive headache I had the night before that required her to pack her own lunch). Or why again as if there weren't enough failed moments in that first day that I had to drop her and leave her at soccer because her sister had practice at the same time in a different place and her dad was going to be another 20 minutes before he could get back into town from work.

The simple matter is it's hard. It's going to be hard. I know that. I think I've accepted that. I'm a teacher in her summative year of evaluation with crazy changes to implement in the school year that have left my head spinning a bit. Hard. I'm a mom of two little girls in activities all year that need a lot of my time and attention. Hard. I'm a mom to an infant. Seriously hard. I spend two hours a day sitting in traffic commuting to work. Sucky hard. I have a house that has shit that breaks like the water heater, laundry hose, and dishwasher ALL in the PAST week that requires our time to clean up and fix or have someone leave work early for the repair man. That's  on top of  not having any family around for back up when the kids are sick  or freak accidents like the sitter's water going out this week too that require someone to leave early or take off. Frustrating hard sometimes.

These are my situations but everyone's motherhood story I've learned is hard. They're all different kinds of hard; we have different situations and different goals that make each of our hards unique in their own way.  Maybe the first time, four years ago, when the balancing of  it all got really hard I wasn't ready or expecting it. I know at this point in my motherhood journey it's going to be hard regardless, but I also know this time I can choose my hard.  That s what I have to remind myself when I'm frustrated and doubting my capabilities of what I can really accomplish this year. I can either drag my feet and throw in the towel that this year seriously has the potential to kick my butt or work hard to stay focused on my goals, focus on the positive rather than the negative each day, shake off the bad failed moments and know that the next day is a new day. Perspective I've learned in the years since I struggled through this whole post baby motherhood balance thing is everything. I've worked hard in the four years since I lost my way  to change my thinking, to change my mindset. My mindset has the potential to be the everything in either finding success or failure this year. There will be tough moments. There will be disasters. There will be shit that goes wrong. But I can't let it be everything. I can't let the frustration get to me, to interfere in my goals.

I headed into this year determined I would have the so called All. After the birth of my second when it felt like the bottom just fell out of everything- motherhood, career, marriage, money I wrote a whole chapter in my book on the myth of "Having It All", the idea of the modern day woman having and exceling in it all at the same time with family, career, marriage, health/fitness, financial stability and progress, pursuit of personal hobbies and goals. Four years and a third baby later though I was convinced I could prove that girl of four years ago wrong. I could balance my three kids with a career I enjoy again. I could make more time for my marriage again with adding back in date nights and even trip getaways. I would make working out every week a priority in my life again. We could continue to pay down debts and increase our savings and even financially plan to have the summers off together again.  I'd make the time for myself to write and even pursue some publications again. This was the year I kept saying I'd prove to myself I could have it all at the same time. But here I am at only week 3 and I'm doubting that question of can we really have it all at the same time? What does the true reality of that look like? So will I master the whole having it all this year?  All I can do is give it my best shot. I'm sure it's going to have some highs and low lows probably but I'll give it what I got.

The hard truth is it's impossible to make everybody happy, and even though I wish my give a damn button was broken as much as I claim it to be, honestly the being pulled thin and not meeting everyone's needs gets to me and makes me feel like no matter what I do it's never enough. The simple fact is it has to be enough. I have to be enough. I am enough and I have to know that this time.

                       But these three faces make all the hard totally worth it. LOVE them so much.



Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Baby's Love

My oldest is 7.5 years old and my youngest four months. The other day as he was looking at me with that look of complete awe and trust that a baby gazes at you with I thought how different it was than the looks I receive from his sister these days. The seven year old that now calls me out for being on my computer or phone too much, who tells me I’m bossy for telling her do things around the house. She sees my imperfections and daily mistakes now. I’m no longer perfect in her eyes like I once was and still is in my son’s young eyes. She knows the truth that I am a flawed human.

He doesn’t know yet that sometimes I’m tired and out of patience and in those moments the not so best sides of myself come out. She does though and she tells me she doesn’t want to be a mom because I make it look too hard and stressful. He doesn’t know that sometimes I get distracted and miss things, but she does and reminds me that it’s not very good of me to not pay attention to what she’s trying to show me. He doesn’t know that I’m not perfect, that in truth I’m full of many flaws, but she knows because she tells me how I’m a horrible cook and makes sure I know all the things I don’t do very well.

It wasn’t until I saw that wondered look of love in a baby’s eyes that I forgot how much I missed it. It wasn't until I saw it again that I realized how truly fleeting it is. All too soon he’ll know I’m not perfect either. He’ll know I make mistakes daily.  He will see the truth too that I am only human but for now he looks at me like I am his whole world.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Reasons to NOT Travel with a Baby

I write all the time about how much I love to travel and how I love to include our kids with us. I don’t really plan to change my ways even as crazy as traveling this summer has made me. I’ve decided a person that decides to travel the country frequently with their children, particularly as babies must be a really special person. Like the special kind that is not in their right mind. However, I am very dedicated to my values of traveling and making the time and effort to see family so I braved this crazy trip across country with our three month old, and I can now tell you why maybe you should NOT travel with a baby. I’ve put my sanity to the test to test this theory so I’m an expert by all means so please heed my warning.

First of all a baby cries A LOT. And when you’re all stuck in a car or a small living space like a hotel room there is no escape from the ear piercing siren horn that is your beloved baby that you definitely love but suddenly completely understand the phrase, “I love you but I really don’t like you right now.”

Second, because your baby cries A LOT rather than strangling your child because at one in the morning it almost seems like a good solution you and your spouse instead attack and insult each other. Which let me tell you solves everything. NOT. But again, not in your right mind in the first place when you decide to travel across country with a baby.

Third because your baby cries A LOT,  when it occurs in those trapped in the car going 70+ miles down the highway moments your options are either drive everyone off a cliff and end everyone’s misery or trust the two younger children in the back to “take care” of the baby by feeding him. When they basically dump a whole bottle of precious breastmilk all over the baby try really hard not to lose your shit. They’re only four and seven. What did you expect? It’s just breastmilk. Breastmilk! You know that stuff they call liquid gold!

Fourth, when the baby is actually not crying and testing your last nerve there’s the crazy amount of extra stuff you have to pack to haul a baby around the country. It has to have its own special bed, the playpen. However, it will make sure you know it does not appreciate you hauling a special bed across the country as it lays there night after night and screams at you to get it out of that damn foreign contraption.

Fifth, it pees and poos a lot. But I will say is better than traveling with a potty training traveler which I have done as well and don’t recommend either but that’s a post on peeing on the side of the road for later. At some point you’re going to get peed and pooped on maybe to the point where you’re not even sure if the wet circles on your clothes are pee, liquid poo, or a combination of both, and your only hope because everything is packed away is that the car AC will dry it quickly.

I still have about 7-8 hours left in this drive across the country at this point so I’m sure I could come up with about five more reasons why to NOT travel across country with a baby but I think you get the idea at this point that I would NOT recommend this particular experience.