This is a tough season, but I’m a tough mother.
Being a mom of two little ones, while trying to work efficiently from home, is harder than I thought it would be. I mean, I knew it would have challenges, but I think I’m right in the heart of the stress – complete with a 3 year old with lots of energy and demands, and a 1 year old that is a mama’s boy, though and through. I cannot be in the same room without holding him, he just thinks that is a total disgrace. Add these demands together with a job that needs my full, analytical attention? Yeah.
The other day, I reached max capacity.
Where’s my white flag? I was waving one in my mind. Frantically.
Simon and I were sick with head colds, and he randomly started throwing up – no fever or anything, but it seemed like it was from his congestion. I was trying to keep up with Porter’s demands, catching puke in a towel, replying to IMs from work, and was barely able to comprehend my life through the fogginess of bad sinus pressure. I just needed to sleep. I wanted it to be silent.
I was able to escape. My mother in law came home, saw me in a literal puddle on the floor, and told me to leave – go see Paul, who has been pretty much living at the church due to Scrooge The Musical being in full swing, or do something I wanted to do. It was up to me. I could have chosen the good wife route, and went to the church to be near Paul, even if that meant playing Cooking Dash on my phone in the dark while he obsessed over the soundboard during rehearsal. I could have done that. I could have brought him dinner or a coffee. Not saying he doesn’t deserve those things, but I think in that moment, I realized that I really needed to have some me time.
I don’t remember the last time I was alone. I can’t count the fleeting moments when both boys are napping at the same time, because let’s be honest, the universe never allows that to happen for more than 5-10 minutes at a time, every few weeks.
I decided I wanted to go sit at a coffee shop and work. Like I was a student with no other responsibilities except for good grades and a maintained caffeine buzz. Maybe people would think I was some naive nineteen year old with a whole lot of psychology homework to work through on a Monday night. (Ha. Yeah, right – the bags and swollen eyes alone don’t let anyone believe for a second that I am a day younger than 30).
I wanted to drink a hot coffee that I didn’t make (and then subsequently, forget) on my Nespresso – preferably something with pretentious art. I wanted to eavesdrop on people having casual convos or engaging in frivolous gossip – seriously, does anyone remember what those convos are like? I wanted to eat a pastry without feeling guilty because my kid has seen me way too much sugary crap and WHO IS GOING TO GET HIM TO EAT BROCCOLI IF I DON’T DO IT.
I did all those things, and it was marvelous. I had a raging headache from my cryfest earlier in the day, but I felt… calm. At peace. I had listened to Christmas music all the way there, and I didn’t think about anything. Not anyone’s health. Not how little I’d seen of my husband. Not when our new house will be done. Not the piles of laundry waiting for me when I returned. I thought of nothing, and it was so wonderfully refreshing.
I drank a homemade marshmallow (like, handmade marshmallows, people) latte and I focused on things like graphs and unique pageviews and average session durations like they were my biggest concern. I finished two large reports that I’d been piecing together for the last 8 hours between puke sessions and naps, and I was able to also “live update” a horribly awkward first date at the table next to me. It was magic.
When I left, it was still raining, but I can’t believe how much lighter I felt. I was ready for the night – as sleepless as it could be. I was ready to make it home to brainstorm a way to fix the broken train track Porter was playing with, to hold Simon until he passed out in my arms, to sit and chat with and watch a show with my exhausted hubby (who barely beat me home to our babies, by the way).
This is a tough season, but I’m a tough mother. I know I was made for this, but I have been running on fumes too often to remain healthy – for myself, or my family.
I’m a huge proponent of “start your day with Jesus”, and that is something I need to take care to do as well, each day – but what I was battling was even more than just that. I needed to start or end my day with me. I needed to be alone, to remember who I was and what made me tick.
I know God challenges me, in my spirit, to be the change I want to see – but if I want my family happy, healthy and fulfilled – I cannot expect to take them where I am not, myself.