Responsibilities of Motherhood; Responsibilities of Life

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“To fill my days with satisfying activity, “

            …Is going to the bathroom alone considered a satisfying activity?

“To find dominate beauty in art, literature, nature, and friendships,”

            …Having the same book on my nightstand for almost two years is okay right?

“To know the peace and serenity of a divine faith,”

            …Peace? Serenity? LOL

“To love life and joyously live each day to its ultimate good.”

            …As long as each day ends by 9pm.

When my husband and I decided to start a family, we never even questioned that it would be hard. We were both educated, responsible, sensible people – how hard could it be? It will be so fun to have a little baby around! (*cue eye roll at my 25-year-old self*). Days after my daughter was born, I remember us saying – “WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL US?!”

No one can prepare you for the balancing act that is now your life…no matter how many kids you have, if you work outside the home, in the home or stay at home. Life changes. Responsibilities change. And how we handle those responsibilities changes.    Things that were important before, no longer seem important (seriously, I will skip my skin care routine for an extra 5 minutes of sleep). Or things that were important before are even more important now like my time. What did I do with all my time before kids?

All my responsibilities now get put into two categories: “have-to’s” and “want-to’s”. Every once in a while, if it’s the weekend, and the stars and planets have magically aligned and both kids are napping at the same time, I get a coveted free hour or two to myself. After their bedroom door closes, I quickly speed through my “have-to” list (this usually consists of dishes, laundry and the luxury of a shower) to get some of the things I “want-to” to do before they wake up. I think about all the things I can do with that hour and then can’t commit what to spend my precious free time doing because I do not want to waste it. Next thing I know, my times up and I have done nothing but scroll through my phone or the Netflix menu finding something to watch that isn’t Boss Baby. I hear my daughter knock on her door and call my name. My son kicks his feet on his crib rails. I let out my long sigh as I pull myself off the couch and head to their rooms annoyed that I missed an opportunity for myself. And then feel guilty that I am annoyed.

When I get upstairs, they look up at me and smile and wrap their little arms around my neck. My daughter every day tells me with a proud voice, “I took a GREAT nap!” My son squeals and scrunches his whole body around me like he can’t physically get close enough to me. Every time my heart bursts and overflows with love and I never want to put them down. And in that moment, I remember, while I groan and vent about not having time for myself or time for my husband, my friends or time to take care of things around the house, it’s all about balance and being human. And it is just the season that I am in right now with two little ones.

We are raising tiny humans to be kind and generous people while also still living the demands of our adult life. It’s overwhelmingly rewarding, but somedays it just plain overwhelming balancing it all and it’s okay to say that without feeling like a bad mom. I read a quote the other day that put it best;

“You can love your kids so fiercely that you’d unquestioningly take a bullet for them, and you can simultaneously feel overwhelmed by the challenging parts of parenting. You are only human. You are allowed to feel both. The two are not mutually exclusive.”

Being a mother and being everything else- a wife, a sister, a friend, a daughter, a woman, a person, all at the same time can be taxing but just remember if you make a mistake today, forgive yourself. Acknowledge it but give yourself some grace. And on those really hard days, just remember…

“[Life] is giving ourselves – freely – to other people, giving ourselves in comradeship, in understanding, in joy, in love.”

And what better people to give ourselves freely to than our children?

Jaime Vilsack McCaslin
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