I’ve been wrestling for a little while now with the feeling of spreading myself thin and not being whatever I consider “enough.”
Balancing a full-time job with a baby, a husband, a house to take care of, life’s obligations to meet, and what feels like a million things to remember every day. Sprinkle in some anxiety, and it feels often like I never really shut my brain off, and get to the end of the day wondering whether or not I was a good employee, a good mom, and a good wife, and what the heck did I forget to do, because it was definitely something.
But I think more than that, I’ve become acutely aware lately that some of that worry and struggle to find balance is getting in the way of things that really matter. I see articles on Facebook about learning to let the dishes sit in the sink and have fun playing with your kid. I can honestly say I never let the dishes sit in the sink, even if it means losing time for something more important. Now that Clayton is eating solids, I’ve found myself panicking about the mess he’s making instead of watching him explore his new foods and appreciate how cute he is as he learns to eat. I’ve gotten fed up with his fussy moods because I had planned to do laundry during that arbitrary 15-minute window and now I have to keep him busy when he should be able to entertain himself with toys in his crib for that time. Why doesn’t he care about my plans? Why won’t he cooperate?
And typing all of this out, I see even more clearly how crazy it all sounds. I LOVE that little person so much, and I love being his mom, and I really do love this phase of life, even though it’s hectic and I’m still trying to find my new identity. I still love going to work like I did before, I love coming home and hearing all the fun stuff Clayton did with my mom while I was gone, and I love the time we get with him before he goes to bed. It’s awesome. So why can’t I relax and enjoy it fully?
Obviously an 8-month-old child isn’t going to respect the schedule I set out for myself, and obviously when he has a need, that supersedes whatever else I might “need” to be doing. In theory, I understand completely that he won’t be little forever, and I should be soaking up every moment, every phase, every mess. Believe me when I say I am trying. But I think as a byproduct of this crazy new season of life, trying to be everything all the time, we are careful with our time and so easily get thrown off when things don’t go as we planned. In the meantime, it is those moments, like getting to hold our cranky babies when they’re teething, that really matter. Like the dumb targeted Facebook posts say, the dishes and the laundry don’t matter, and they can always wait, because if they don’t, we’re going to miss time we’ll never get back.