When do we have it all?

It is just after 9pm. I am barely able to keep my eyes open. There are toys strewn across the floor in front of me but I know that I can spend the evening cleaning them up and within 5 minutes of these kids getting out of bed they will be right back on the floor. This thought makes me feel even more tired. It makes me choose to sit on the couch with my laptop and write about how much I have to do instead of actually doing all of the things I have to do.

I have spent the past hour trying to convince one crying child and one mischievous child to go to sleep. I attempted to take a nice hot bath to relax my anxious body before bed. Settling into the warm water, book in hand, I began to soften. Yet before I am able to completely compose myself the door opens and a child who should be sleeping pops his head in loudly stating he has to pee. On the journey from the bathroom door to toilet he manages to ask me, what feels like 100 questions. Soon after the silence is shattered by the desperate cries of the other child who is by all appearances just crying to cry. I peel myself out of the comfort of the bath to try and soothe again.

This is all after a long day at work. 

I am supposed to have it all. Aren’t I? Isn’t this having it all? I have a decent career. No, I”m not changing the world or saving lives, but I enjoy my job. I like the people I work with and I actually work at a company that does seem to promote work life balance so I don’t feel as though I have to spend my life at work.

I have a beautiful family. A millionaire family, as it’s called. While they do have their moments, my kids are good kids. I have a wonderful husband who is a hands on Dad. One who doesn’t think everything that involves the kids is up to me.

I have it all.

On days like today I wonder how is this having it all? Can we really have it all? What does it mean to have it all?

I’m exhausted. By the end of the day I’m fried. Both mentally and physically. I feel as though I’ve run a marathon every single day. My house is by no means immaculate and while I do cook homemade meals pretty much every day they are by no means fancy. Yes we are having pasta again ok! Yet I’m beat. Is this having it all?

I feel as though my energies are being spent working, cleaning, doing chores, running errands and I don’t always have the time that I really want to have with my kids. Sometimes I feel a terrible sense of guilt because I know that I don’t have the patience I should have with them. I often wonder if I wasn’t over extending myself would I be a better mother?

I ask myself, if the women who fought for us to be able to join the workforce could forshadow that there would come a day when women would be working 12 hours a day while trying to mother their children in the few remaining hours. If they realized that there would come a time where some women were back to not having a choice. Rather than being stuck keeping house and children, they would be forced to work all day in a paid job and then come home to their unpaid full time job.

Please don’t mistake my venting in a moment of frustration as being unappreciative of those women. I am not. I am so grateful that I can make a choice. That I have the opportunities I have in the workforce as well as in the home. I am so incredibly thankful that women before me fought that fight so that I don’t have to.

It’s just as I sit here my eyelids are becoming heavier every minute. My house is a mess. My kids are wishing I had more time for them today. I’m wishing I could have given them more of me. I wonder how it’s possible to have it all? What does that even mean? I ask myself if having a career outside of the home is worth this? I wonder if I would be better off staying at home and if it makes me less of a “feminist” to actually want to stay home with my kids.

I think to myself, this is probably the dilema that runs through the minds of most mothers. For some reason, fathers don’t ever have this internal struggle. The battle always seems to be a fight for the women.

I don’t think I’ll ever figure out what it means to have it all. Tomorrow morning I will wake up and make the best of my day. Enjoy my family for every second that I can. Try and turn a blind eye to the chores I don’t get to.

I will remind myself that every precious second I have with my family is having it all, because it is, in all reality, the thing that matters to me the most.

 

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A cause for celebration

I should be celebrating.

I think the day has arrived. I think we are finally diaper free!

I should be happy right? And I am. Don’t get me wrong. I’m so very proud of my little Ms. J. Amongst all the claps, cheers and happy congratulations are a few tears. For such a happy and momentous occasion why am I so sad?

This very well be my last baby. I may not ever get the chance to change another diaper. Now that I am out of it, those middle of the night quiet diaper changes where I snuggled my little bundle seem so much more appealing. Was I too tired to truly enjoy it? In the hazy fatigue and stress did I miss a moment?

I never really had an issue with diapers. They don’t bother me. The dirty messes they contained, while sometimes unpleasant, never caused me any true discomfort. I always used that opportunity to sing, chat and play with my babies.

This is going too damn fast. I’m desperately trying to grasp on to every single moment because they are disappearing in the blink of an eye. Yet the beauty is being tossed around chaotically right in the middle of real life. Somewhere in between loads of laundry, messy meals and dirty diapers my little babies are growing up.

This was all Ms. J. I haven’t pushed potty training on her. I didn’t stress about it the way I did with Mr. T. I asked her if she’d like to try, and when she obliged I helped her up on to the potty. But I didn’t push her. I let her decide and this week it seems she was ready. One morning she seemed to decide she wanted to use the potty and was done with diapers and that was that. It’s been days without an accident. Little Ms. J running around proudly sporting princess (of course)big girl undies. Her little bum no longer having that roundness that only a diaper can give. She’s even walking different without the squishy diaper giving her that little waddle. It’s official. Someone stole my baby and left a big girl in its place.

The same day Ms. J made her mind up on potty training, I walked through a parking lot holding Mr. T’s hand and as I looked down I noticed that his little hand is outgrowing mine. There is nothing I can do about this. My babies are outgrowing me.

Ms. J may no longer need me to change her diapers, but I do know that there will always be a place for me in her life. There will come a time when Mr. T’s hand will be bigger than mine, but I will always be there to hold it when he needs me.  I’m learning to accept my ever-changing role. This is just the beginning.

Little Ms. J, I am so very proud of you. I have a feeling this is just the beginning of how proud you are going to make me throughout your life. I hope you continue to face your life with the fearlesness and confidence that you tackled this whole potty training business.

Now, let’s celebrate with a potty party! (Thanks for the idea Carly!)