Standing at the stove, stirring our soon-to-be dinner and the distant voices of my daughter and husband exploding some kittens a room over floats around my kitchen. Lost in thought, I feel as though but a minute has passed and yet a quick glance at the computer screen confirms what I know in my heart to be true. Same smile--a bit more worn… same eyes--aged slightly with weary… same passion--softened by experience. Ah, reflections. They just don’t lie. Dang it.
Carving out spaces to process quieted thoughts arrives with inconsistent dosing throughout the early years of motherhood. Creative outlets fall empty to the chaos of locating lost socks; refilling sippy cups; the goldfish army waging war on the floor of my van. The mundane of daily survival takes priority. It is babies vs. parents and I’m not so sure we’re winning.
This whole Mom gig. We know it well. How many days was I determined to create predictability, a schedule, some tiny resemblance of a routine only to have it repeatedly kicked out of orbit by this adorably-faced, loudly-opinionated, dictator requiring ALL THE SNACKS and NONE OF THE NAPS?
My hardest, best work without any gold stars and alllll the bathroom company. There’s a sweetness to it for sure, but it lives under many, many layers of sleepy. It is a sweetness that saturates with time. Thank goodness for that.
Back to now. The laughter floating over our almost-dinner comes from my 3rd grade daughter. The same squishy-faced babe a blog post or two back is now sporting pom-pom dangle earrings and cartwheeling her way through life.
Gone are my days of diaper bags, little gym hangs and googling the maximum daily dosing for baby Tylenol. In all fairness, Tylenol did go and change the dosing on all their meds post major recall- right there in the heart of my sleepless season- so some confusion was definitely warranted. Still, it is a season now gone away. That sweetness of baby time? I may have overlooked it then but on some of the truly, mind-numbing days with middle-schoolers do I go reaching for it now! But that’s life, right? We don’t know until we know and then we delve deeper into some other sorts of unknown. Ever. Evolving. It’s just the best.
My secret to surviving the Mom hustle?
Seek out some balance. Actively choose the parts to clutch closely and the memories to let fade. It is about the company that meets you in the crazy vs the “friends” that fall to the shadows. Those peeps late night texting about bloody nose remedies, high school IB programs, and affirming that it isn't your fault that your kids can’t speak nicely to each other? Those people are your TRIBE and feed the balance that enables you to recognize capacity, to draw firmer boundaries and creatively channel some renewal. This life with bigger kids comes with the space that the newborn mamas dream of. Don’t you worry, though. Not everything is foreign. Older kid models continue to arrive with no manual, consistency or naps … and as a fun little bonus they throw in the added gift of hormones. All those smells and really big feelings.
It's okay, Moms. We can do hard things. We already have.
Bigger kid world doles out long days marked by heaps and heaps of grace. You’ve learned to forgive yourself more, hide a personal stash of chocolate in the pantry and have friends that porch drop wine. Your babysitters now live in your house and the permission for self-care lives here too. It is about balancing. The space to choose creativity again, to carve out a space for ME. Re-entering blog world once more.
It is so lovely to be back.
You have saved me and looked out for my heart so many times. Glad you are a part of my tribe. You're a beautiful human Julie! I love you more with every season.
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