Sunday, September 30, 2012

Never Second Best!


Mr. M has been working a lot of hours. I know I always say that, and well, it's because it's true. I don't talk about it as much as I used to because I have become very used to it. It is the truth of our lives that he works very hard - and I am very proud of him for that! That leaves me alone with the kids most of the time, and well, it's a big responsibility. I know it must seem like all I do is flit off to park trip or playdate, or swimming...but the truth (as any person who has raised small children can attest) is that there is so much more that goes into it than that!

My days are so full from the moment I wake up in the morning, well into the night, and begin early the next day.  I never have a moment off-duty.

 I really do love this stage of my life and it is something I prayed I would get to do for so long (there was a time when all I prayed for was to have a baby). And here we are.  Times three!

 I do love my life. But, oh my, it is so very stretching! ;-)

I don't have time to talk on the phone with anyone, no time to answer emails, no time to do much of anything (except occasionally update this blog). My days go by in a long blur most of the time, and by the time night falls, the morning seems like it was a decade ago.


I kind of laugh because on the days when Mr. M is home, something will happen and he will be so flabbergasted by it, and act like it is just a huge deal (like if still-un-potty-trained Ginger has a massive blow-out in her pull-up and it gets ALL over the carpet, for example). I just look at him like, "Are you kidding me? These things happen to me all day, every day, 7 days/week!"

I am careful not to complain about my life or the messy diapers, constant feeding, needing, caring, cleaning...all those things...because I know that this is my choice. I have always wanted a big family. I chose to leave my exciting career to stay home. I do not delegate childcare to anyone else (I have trust issues, people!) - and well, it's the life I've made.

Every six months or so, I revisit the choices I've made (never the choice to have children - only the choice to be home full-time) and wonder if I'm doing the right thing. It's usually after viewing Facebook or and hearing about how friends and acquantances have gotten a big book deal or a movie deal, or are jetting off to Switzerland for a year. Things that don't really matter in the long run (and don't really make you happy anyway), but for a moment, they make me pause (especially when I am knee-deep in the sh*t) and wonder about the choices I've made. Then, invariably, someone starts screaming in the background and I am whisked back to reality and to the wonderful but overwhelming symphony that is my life at the moment!


I know that many times I look like I have it all pulled together in a neat little package, and the reality is that I am constantly figuring it out...just like everyone else. With every year that goes by, every child, every experience, every meltdown...I always try to learn something from it.  I am always trying to improve as a mother, and I know I don't have all the answers.  But at least I am learning!

I have learned how to streamline choices to maximize efficiency....that has been key in maintaining my sanity.  Do you ever notice how I am almost always wearing a blue shirt and gray yoga pants? Well, that's not by accident. A few months ago, I decided to figure out what outfit looks best on me, is the most comfortable, and practical.  I have to be able to bend down, lift heavy children, nurse, it has to be wearable for 20+ hours/day, not be scratchy to children I'm holding, wash easily, and fit a changing postpartum body, and not fade after a bazillion times in the wash.  And thus, I came up with "the uniform" - which means that I wear the same thing every day.  Old Navy yoga pants and a blue  T-shirt.  Sometimes I mix it up and wear a green T-shirt.  Gettin' crazy!

Now, it's not the SAME pair of pants and shirt.  Ewww.  I went to Old Navy and I bought 7 pairs of the same pants.  Yup, the same ones.  They're my favorite.  And for the past 6 months, that's what I've worn.  And then I have a bunch of v-neck T's in rotation.  I think of my job (stay at home mom) as very athletic - and so, like an athlete, I have to be as capable as I can be to do that job.  So, what I wear has to fit the bill for my job.  It's not about me and my personal expression.

5 years ago, this would have seemed preposterous to me.  And least a little sad. 

But, it's actually been oddly freeing.  I know that my life won't (probably) always be this way.  Or maybe it will.  Who knows.  What I do know is that when I wake up in the morning, I have about 15 seconds to get dressed.  And when I go to my dresser and use 8 of those 15 seconds to find clothes, I no longer pick the "second" or "third" best outfit.  I always pick the outfit I like best. The outfit that will work best.   ;-)

It is often said that this stage of life is a Season, and that if you blink, you will miss it.  I guess if I am going to err, it will be on the side of being more available and present for my children.  Even if some days, I do look over the fence at the other side and wonder if I'm making the right choices.  Yoga pants and all.  ;-)
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waikikimum said...

I am also in the process of doing the uniform thing..... My kids are older now but I stay home and home school my 12 year old and have a home based business. I am a sewer and was always making going out clothes and not wearing them as I am home 90% of the time. I have just made 3 pairs of yoga pants and am going to add a number of t-shirts that will become my uniform.It's just so much easier than deciding every morning.

siri said...

I love this post and can relate to A LOT of it. As a mother, especially one at home with the kids 24/7, you are often wondering if you made the right choice. I often worry that while I made the right choice for the children, did I make the right choice for me. I reflect on this a lot, and while the answer is a resounding "yes" it's still hard to stomach that THIS is your life...especially when you're knee deep in poop :)

Allison said...

I work full-time so I realize just how exhausting it is to be with the kids 24/7... so much harder than being at my paying job. At least when I'm at work, I'm guaranteed a 30 minute lunch break! Being a parent means that the work just never ends...there is no time clock at the end of the day! It's an amazing, rewarding job and like you, I would NEVER change it for anything in the world, but there are always those down days when things seem overwhelming.

You look adorable in your "uniform"!

Renee said...

You are doing a terrific job :-) I love your blog, and as a fellow stay-at-home Mom, I am inspired by you! Forget the movie my opinion, your life is far more entertaining than most movies I've watched :-) At least it's more real, heartfelt and genuine :-) Keep up the great work.