Please forgive me for my bluntness. This one is a smack in the face to that nagging guilt and that never-ending list of to-dos too.
It was 9pm and River was still fussing about a bit, going in and out of her room and refusing sleep. Oak had just went down. I had told Peter that I was “clocked out,” and it was his turn to take over. We had both worked that day. He edited in our home office and I tried to complete what I could during nap. The work I had to complete would have to come before feeding myself an actual meal, and after I had cleaned up the morning mess. Per usual, I was left with very little time to get a lot done. This is something that no longer annoyed me, as much as it just became routine. Always, there seemed to be not enough time and so much to do. So 9pm- it was my time to tackle that long list, and if I was really ambitious, shower and show Peter attention too, of course.
It feels as if it’s so terribly wrong to go about this motherhood thing with even a whisper of the word me. But dammit, here I go… I need me time to be a great mama. We all do.
“Today parents pour more capital, emotional and financial, into their children than ever before.” -Jennifer Senior
There were days, weeks even, when I felt utterly rundown by the fact that I wasn’t doing all of it great or equally. If I was down on the floor playing with River, than I was mostly likely neglecting work. Work that more than likely had a deadline. If I was working, well, then I wasn’t being a good parent. I wasn’t being present and I neglected to soak up that moment in River’s and Oak’s life just as they are. Just as I was. It felt as if I was failing at giving myself to anything 100%.
The thing is, I love being a mom. The most profound moments of my 25 years have been moments of mothering. Special and raw moments. Moments of birthing and cultivating these tiny individuals. I have found this distinct purpose and joy in life while raising them as best I can with Peter. They are not a burden, but they’re work. Work that I’ve chosen to take on, but nevertheless, work.
Everything with them seems to go so incredibly fast. I blinked and River was four. I found myself aching for another one. I blinked and he arrived and is now almost 8 months. He’s crawling and talking a bit. She’s talking a lot and developing more of who she will probably be for a while. I blinked and I grew too.
I grew because I had too. I grew because I invested time in myself. That me time became essential. I knew that to grow, I had to grow as an individual as well. A separate being from my two beautiful children. To remind myself of the importance of this, I would always ask myself “What would be left of me when they’re older and gone living their lives? I want these years raising them to not only be of importance because they were the years I spent raising them. Yes, despite the day to day struggles, what we do as mothers is down right amazing, brave, and wonderful. But when it’s all said and done, when they’re old and I’m older, and we are no longer living under the same roof, when the fruits of my labor many years ago are no longer evident in the day to day, what will be left for me? I think of that. I need… we need to continue to pour into ourselves as individuals.
And somewhere in-between feeling like we’re failing at being parents because we’re working, and feeling like we’re failing at being creatives and professionals because we are being parents, I won’t look at myself and say that I completely failed on that me portion. I believe it’s really the only portion that we can actually fail at if we let ourselves. The rest of it tends to be mind games and negative thoughts. But the me portion, I don’t know, that seems real and true. And when speaking to my elders and peers, it’s continually reinforced. I need to be the best me to be the best kind of mama.
photos from our vacation (which we are still on) in Florida.