Let’s start with off with this nugget. Parenting is hard. Working and parenting is hard. Staying home and parenting is hard. It’s all hard. Over the last 8 weeks I have stayed home in every sense of the word. I have always worked or side hustled throughout my entire motherhood. I worked until the day before I had my daughter. Went back after 8 weeks. Had twins and went back after 12 weeks and then became a foster mama to an 8 week old while working a home business….and then went back to work when he was bigger. Throughout all of these years I have also benefited from having jobs that either allowed me to bring the kids along and pay for a sitter, had a daycare in my place of work, worked from home in the middle of my chaos or had amazing grandparents that helped so I could work.
For the last 8 weeks I have not side hustled, worked, pursued a job or in all honestly, left my house so much. Some observations on myself.
- I’m not the best at this. I have friends who absolutely slay the SAHM gig. They craft, sing, playdate, creative lunch and do all the things like a boss. I am not good at much of this. I hate the mess of crafting. I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. I would be happy to drink coffee for all the meals of the day so creative lunches are out of the question. With that said, I have playdoughed, colored, sticker booked and flashcarded over the last 8 weeks so A for effort, F for enthusiasm.
- I am finding myself swallowed whole with anxiety over my tiny humans. Full disclosure, prone to anxiety to begin with but the singular focus over the last couple of months is ramping it up in ways I never imagined. I have become the spelling word nazi and the reading time enforcer. There have also been lots of water works (theirs and mine) over trivial school stuff that wouldn’t matter that much or at least shouldn’t. In short, we are going to need to divide my anxiety/energy or I may be voted off of my own island.
- The SAHM gig can be very isolating without a magnitude of effort especially right after a relocation. We have signed up for the all the things. We are in mom’s group at church. We go to story time at the library. We are working the park circuit. And each of the places I go, I feel like a guy in my late 20’s walking my dog around the park trying to pick up women…..except I’m not. I’m something marginally sadder than that. I’m a late 30’s mom chasing her toddler around the park, trying not to spill her over priced coffee while attempting to make small talk with other exhausted, overly caffeinated SAHM’s like myself. Who knew I could be middle school girl awkward in my 30’s. Fun.
- In this transition, it has been a huge blessing. I can take and make calls for therapy services for our little guy in the middle of the day without having to worry about anything. I can also tell therapy places, “We are wide open. When is your first available?” All the boxes are unpacked and the curtains are officially up. I went to my first PTO meeting, so there is that. One of the big boys failed his vision screening at school and I will be able to take him to the eye doctor and get glasses without having to call off work at my new job.
- It has been amazing getting to know and enjoy Benton. We do all the things together. We read the stories, we take the naps, we do the shopping. He is joy packaged into a tiny busy body and I am lucky to have had a first row seat to that show.
It has been an 8 weeks of giving myself lots of grace and of talking through this with some amazing mama’s who are walking the same or similar walk. It has also been 8 weeks of preparing myself for what comes next. I am hoping to start volunteering at a local organization soon. Our littlest may be starting preschool in January and I know I will need to fill the time that will suddenly be less loud and busy.
So please raise your coffee mugs with me in memory of the years of tiny humans and awkward mom moments and in honor of the years of slightly less tiny humans and perhaps finding myself again that is coming. May we all figure it out as it comes and put a little less pressure on ourselves to already know the things that can’t be known yet.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.