This last year has brought our family, and me more specifically, an enormous amount of change. Last August I started "working" away from the house part time and in January I started working at a treatment facility for substance abuse as the final step to obtain my master's degree. Two weeks ago I had a site visit from my faculty supervisor and when we were walking up to my site supervisors office, she asked me "are things getting easier, are you finding a balance?" I couldn't help but feel the tears start to form in my eye as I answered "I am getting there." The truth is, I am not even close to being there, but after almost nine months, I feel like I should be getting there.
Going from being a stay at home mom to a working mom is a transition that I always knew would come, but after five years I still was not prepared for it. The first few weeks I had meals planned every night of the week, even the nights I would be late, and felt like I needed to do everything in the evening hours in order to maintain some stability for my family - even though I know they are more than capable of finding that stability on their own. After those few weeks, I cried in the shower a lot. There was no way to jump into working, finishing class work, taking care of the house, and cleaning up every the kids every day.
I had a good heart to heart and cry session with my best friend (Hey, Heath!) and she told me I needed to "let it go..." To be honest, being as Type A as I am, that is not easy. I now have dirty floors (dark, dirty floors - do not chose dark wood, ever), laundry in the basket and a husband that does laundry and includes dyed jeans with everyone else clothes so many loads have been ruined (bless his heart), dusty baseboards, un-fluffed pillows, and shit all over my counters. I am trying. A few things I have made sure to stay on top of is washing the sheets once a week and vacuuming upstairs once a week. Everything else is..... there, waiting for me to deal with it.
I also am having teary-eyed thoughts about how heavy Aiden is getting, not "fat" heavy, but the idea that I can barely lift him into the back of the SUV so he doesn't get mud on his pants before school, the idea that Leila is going to turn one soon, the idea that I am in the weaning stages of nursing my last baby, and the idea that this is my last few months of having Luke at home every day. I will be honest, being a mom has made me grouchy more days than I would like to admit, I have a hard time handling the constant fighting, constant crying and whining, constant begging for kids to eat the food I make, and constant stress of am I doing this right? Even as I have extensive education in psychology and human development, I wonder if I am making the right decisions for my kids and if I am treating them in a way that will help them grow into kind, mindful, and empathetic humans. No one tells you how hard these things are. Everyone tells you, sleep when the baby sleeps (yeah right), breastfeeding is better than bottle feeding (not true, Aiden is a genius), don't use bumpers because your child may die, etc. No one tells you how to be flexible when you are getting out of the door, how to understand lies and what the underlying message behind the lying means, how to deal with an overly sensitive child to make sure his needs, physical and emotional, are being met... you know, the hard things in life.
After many week of a self-induced pity party, I decided I do really need to let it go. This week, on Thursday - my only day off, we ventured out to the pool. I left dishes in the sink, sticky syrup on the counters, laundry
It was wonderful to hear the words "Mom, watch this!" hundreds of times and to see the boys encourage Leila, a.k.a. Miss Scared-y Cat, to play in the water. After about 2 hours she finally started having fun!
It is bittersweet to see your children get older. I can start to see how things are going to get easier... how the boys are starting to do things on their own, and Leila will be there soon enough. But it is hard to know the baby days are in the past. I still have not emotionally come to terms to get rid of the baby gear, but my best friend (again, a saint) has told me to hang on to it and I will know when I am ready to get rid of things. Alright, so enough of my existential rambling... I hope everyone has a good weekend, and my fellow friends in Colorado stay warm!