This morning started out like any other morning. Violet woke up a little bit early. I heard her little voice, a bit raspy from sleep, saying, "Mommeeeeeee... Mommeeeeeeeeee" from her nursery. I was in the middle of dressing (tie dye day at work - trying to find something appropriate to wear) so I quickly pulled on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and walked over to her room. She was holding onto the side of the crib, her mouth against the rail, peering over the top with her big blue eyes and mess of curls. I asked her if she slept well as I lifted her out. She was upset that I was still holding a hairbrush and that I had to rummage around in her dresser for her clothing. She wanted to go, "Down down down!" As we went down the stairs I hid the offensive objects from her behind my back and carried her over to her changing pad to change her diaper. She squirmed and yelled and made it pretty clear that a diaper changing was not what she wanted at the current moment, so we talked about breakfast (distraction, distraction, distraction). She wanted pancakes and Mary Poppins (AKA "boy, dirl, Mommy, Daddy, beeaaar!" Not sure where the bear comes in, but I eventually figured out that she was talking about Mary Poppins).
So I got her settled at the table and began the process of trying to bring the computer (that I had failed to charge the night before) back to life. She was so patient as we watched the little wheel spin on the screen until finally we were able to put in the DVD and press play. As she drifted away into the land of spoons full of sugar and chim-chimery, I walked to the kitchen to start her pancakes. I've been making her mini pancakes in the morning - a little easier for her to eat and just as tasty. I packed her bag as the pancakes sizzled in the pan and wrote a note to her babysitter in the daily journal that we share. Then I piled up the pancakes, poured a pool of sticky syrup on the plate and took them in.
I sat with her for a bit. She watched her movie and I watched her. She's so animated when she watches movies. I love to watch her face light up at the fun parts and her brow crease when she is concerned. I love how her little curls bob when she dances to the songs and how she's always worried about where everyone is, "Mommy? Dirl?" Her favorite parts always involve people running - she loves a little chaos :)
When the last pancake had been gobbled up I stopped the movie and told her we'd finish it some other time. Then we launched into a bit of our own chaos - tooth brushing, de-stickifying, dressing, socks, shoes, jacket. At the end of all of this the goal is to get her out the door happy and smiling to ride to the babysitter's with Kevin. Well, today that didn't happen. At the end of the craziness she clung to me with all of her might. No amount of cajoling could convince her to loosen her grip, so I had to pry her from my body and forcibly hand her to her father. All while she screamed, "Mommy, mommy!" in a voice of sheer desperation. It's on these days and in these moments that I don't think I can do it any longer. Be a mother, have a career, be a wife, write a blog, pay the bills, clean my house, care for my cats, keep appointments, make time for friends, have a little time to just sit and BE. It's on days like this that I get this awful feeling in the pit of my stomach. A nervous, churning, guilty feeling that sits on my shoulders like a huge weight for the rest of the day.
I know that five minutes after she leaves the house she'll be fine. I know that she'll have a fun day with her friends. She'll get to play outside on the swings in the fresh air, pick strawberries from the garden, read books and help to bake something. On Wednesdays she goes to the library and checks out a new book and makes a craft and has sing and sign and plays with the train. We have a wonderful babysitter and I am thankful for her every day. But it's on days like these that my life feels off. I feel like it's coming apart at the seams. Like I can't keep it all together for one. more. minute. Like something's got to give. I can only imagine how it will be if we have another child.
I know this is the same feeling every working mother experiences at one time or another in her life. I know that I'm no different. In fact, I'm sure that my life is easier than many mothers out there. Single mothers I am in awe of you. Serious and pure and utter awe.
I've been reading a lot lately about work/life balance and about money and budgets and finances. I love my job and don't think I could take the leap (especially in this economy) to stay at home full-time. I don't know if I'd ever be able to break back into my field someday if I did. It's extremely competitive and being down-sized all of the time. But this quote from Nigel Marsh stays with me:
There are thousands and thousands of people out there living lives of quiet, screaming desperation who work long, hard hours at jobs they hate, to enable them to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like.
I'm going to try to keep this quote in mind the next time I'm thinking of buying something. At this point there isn't really much we need. Just a lot of wants. And I'm the worst offender. Blogging about pretty products kind of does that to you and I've got to start practicing a little bit more restraint. I've also been reading a lot of Adam Baker's blog - Man vs. Debt, and his Ted Talk - What does freedom mean to you?
I think to me it means that I want to work because I love it, not because I need to pay for another bag or skirt or decoration for our home. I don't want to be a slave to my job. And if I someday decide that working full-time isn't right for me that I would have another option. We're lucky that we have zero credit card debt and only one car payment that is at zero-percent interest. We have one fairly reasonable mortgage with a low interest rate and very little left to pay on our student loans. And I want to keep it that way. And I want to save more. Our current savings account is created for the sole purpose of being depleted so that I can stay home with another child for at least eight or nine months, so it's not something I can count on. I need something I can count on at this point.
I'm realizing that this post has become long and rambling, so I'll wrap it up with another little saying that has stuck with me (discovered, of course, on none other than The Pinterest):
So very, very good. If you made it this far I commend you (and if you have any words of wisdom I'm all ears). xo, Lauren