I confessed to my husband yesterday that I have no idea what in the world I’m supposed to do all day with a 13 week old and a 3 1/3 year old. His suggestion: “Read ‘What To Expect The First Year.'”
I realized just recently that I’ve never really parented a newborn. I went back to work part time when K was 3 weeks old and full time when she was 6 weeks. My mom interacted with her more each day until she was five months than I did. My job was fulfilling in many areas and something I deeply miss. It is only in the past few days that I’ve come to realize that what I do each day is so much more than it seems.
There are a trillion and seven (give or take) blog posts and articles about the substantial impact mothers make on their children simply by being present, free from distraction, or just being home doing housework. I think it’s all endearing, really, to encourage each other using phrases like “the days are long but the years are fast” to help us feel like disciplining the same behavior over and over again or making another snack is really more than a monotonous action.
Don’t get me wrong. I get it. My kids need me. Chris and my decision to have me stay home and be the primary caregiver of our littles is one that I feel is best most of the time. Just this past weekend the husband and I discussed just how working Mama’s do it. There’s not enough time in the day to cook, run errands, pour into kiddos, have some down time alone, and be a helpful teammate to your spouse on top of working all day long. I simply couldn’t do it. Mad props to y’all that call that life. I’m exhausted just typing it. I have four hours out of my day where the youngest is napping and 90 minutes where K is in her room decompressing (or making a disaster…) There’s so much down time yet I feel like I’m always “on.” I don’t know how to turn it off and slump in to the depressing mindset that my job counts for more than unloading dishes and haphazardly folding laundry that at some point in the week gets put away.
I catch myself thinking the grass would be much greener and weed-free if I had my cake and could eat it too. The ability to work for a paycheck as a Social Worker and wear the Mommy Hat would be so ideal. If I could be Super Awesome Wife who could fit into her Diane Von Furstenberg LBD that still hangs in the closet as a reminder of what my figure used to look like all would be well. My inability to see myself as my husband and kids see me is a major source of discontentment. It’s an area of my life I’ve been open with in the context of official community and the safety net of my close playgroup mama’s. One that’s usually under control but occasionally flares up to remind me that in the midst of doing seemingly well in many aspects of what’s expected of me, there’s still so many material things I desire. So many things that bring fleeting happiness and do not bring me to a path of joy in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
So today I choose to be thankful. Thankful for my partner, teammate, and husband. Thankful for both of my kiddos-such happy little ones, they are. Thankful God has me in this place. For right now I will consider the chaos a blessing and remember in the midst of madness this home Chris and I have created is a treasure.