Work is not “play” work. Work is not just “keep busy” work. Work is work. It is not for my own sense of importance and self-indulging Instagram hype-ness. It is work that is routed in a survival and in the reality of a passing — or hopefully — consistent season. Work is necessary. Work has its hiccups. Work that requires adjusting and re-aligning, work that keeps me up. Work that keeps us up.
In the midst of holiday madness and the end-of-year obligatory look-back, I have been maneuvering around my own new reality. It is a reality with a slight adjustment. Work was work, but work will be a different kind of work in the new year. And I’ve been dealing with what that calls from me when it comes to motherhood. To have my position from a two-parent household switch to a one-parent household within the same few short years that I grew a business and wrote a book has been an astounding set of pulses. I dare not call them pains because in reality having these things catch me in what can seem like falling seasons are God-given, universe-given, luck-given, favor-given, generationally earned, worked-for, planned-for, or however one would like to call it, things. In short, it is hard to see something as painful when its timing couldn’t be more on point.
As the year comes to a close, I’ve been adjusting to a new form of motherhood. Not just a motherhood that says my kids are big, but a motherhood that requires I seek more help to manage life. More help to work. More help to love on the kids. More help to make things happen. And while I feel grateful that these things are within my grasp, there is a huge part of me that shudders at the truth: Kids are growing up and out, and so am I. The housework cannot just belong to me. Dinners and homework must be checked by someone who has my back and their affection. This was always a privilege. This was always something I never took for granted, and something I also sometimes pushed back on when I knew work fulfilled a very real side of me too. A side that could not be ignored in the days of motherhood, no matter how grand or fruitful they seemed to be.
I’ve been looking for a nanny for the new year. I felt a chunk in the deep part of my throat as I wrote that. To adjust to a new form of motherhood again and again, while my kids adjust, takes a fine hand and a lot of thought. I’ve been running in myself, writing and planning, and taking care, because that’s also the work. A modern family, modern woman, modern children, and a modern lifestyle require immense care in the midst of adjusting. A care that I know many women like myself have within. But often, a care that seems out of reach in the overwhelming step back of it all. But it is done. It needs to be.
A nanny for the new year ahead to help with the kids and my work makes me uncomfortable to admit because it is uncharted class territory. It is not because I believe I am the only source of love, routine and affection. (Though those things do sting a little.) It is because needing a nanny, being able to access one, and then going for it, is foreign to my being.
My work has often been about making it work. And as that continues to shift, the work within me stirs up. I guess there’s no fine point to this. There is no real answer, except a reality of adjustment. Again. And not just surface, but an emotional mothering generational class kind of adjustment that seems so far beyond my own realm of reality.
What to do when a new year and a new way seems foreign, but requires an innate care as if you’ve done this your whole life?
Photos by Amanda Petersen