After the birth of each of my daughters, I took time off from teaching. They were so small and dependent on me, and I really wanted to focus on being the best mom to these beautiful little beings. I nursed them both, witnessed all of their major milestones in the first 10 months of their lives, and was able to drink up every single moment of mommyhood. I can honestly say that I loved it, but part of loving it was knowing that come August, I was going to go back to work. There was an end in sight.
I won’t lie to you and tell you it was all happiness, it wasn’t. It was hard, but I knew that eventually the time with just me and them would end, and so I focused on making memories, going on adventures, playing silly games, singing, reading, and just being the best mommy that I could. The first time I dropped off my oldest at daycare, I sobbed in the car. How could I leave her there? How could she have an entire day full of experiences that I would know nothing about? It was heartbreaking, but as we got into our new routine, and found our new normal, it became easier.
After having my second, I was able to admit to myself that I am a better mom when I am not home every single day with them. I have an entirely new respect for stay at home moms. They have a level of patience I can only aspire to have on most days. I have learned that the time apart actually brings me closer to them. I miss them, and in turn, they miss me. My oldest can tell me all about her day, and I don’t already know what she will say. It’s good for us.
That being said, I am also struggling with this new role. Finding a balance is tough, and I always feel like I’m not giving enough attention to something in my life. Teaching is draining, my girls need love and attention when I get home, dinner needs to be made, my husband and I need to connect, I have friends I haven’t talked with in days or seen in weeks, and the poor dog (my first “child”) doesn’t get nearly enough attention. I feel like I am just treading water, barely staying afloat, in all areas of my life. I so desperately want someone to just throw me a life ring.
This is my new normal, and I am slowly finding balances between different aspects of my life. I am also able to ask for help more now than I did in the past. It is still difficult for me, and at times I wish it wasn’t all on me to do the reaching out, but it’s getting better. I’m more focused on myself now, which strangely enough, makes me better for everyone else in my life as well. I am learning I can have it all, I just can’t have 100% of everything all at once, because there just isn’t enough of me to give. And that’s ok, I’m learning to just let that be ok.