I didn’t realize I was holding back tears until I climbed in the car and exhaled. And the tears just rolled and rolled down my cheeks.
You had been up since 7 (about an hour earlier than usual) and breakfast had been an ordeal of multiple offerings all to be rejected. I even whipped up some chocolate chip pancakes, but you only ate the chocolate chips. Then after spending an hour on multiple breakfasts that weren’t eaten I had to postpone your medicine because you have to take it with food.
We abandoned breakfast and the mound of dirty dishes in the sink and trekked upstairs to change for the day.
We rushed to the gym, again much later than I had hoped, and we walked the track for a mile or so while pushing you in the stroller.
You watched a show on my phone while we circled the track, which gave my mind time to wander and run over my to do list always swirling in my head. And I felt the anxiety build as I pictured the mess in the kitchen, the medicine yet to be taken, the breakfast you refused, and the day that felt like it was unraveling before me.
Last night when I was climbing into bed I had made up my mind today would be special, void of errands and cleaning. Today would be a mother daughter outing day at a fun children’s museum.
And as I rounded lap 11, marking 1 mile (super small track), I exited the track and saw that our time to go to my fun planned activity would not happen because of our morning delays and your afternoon nap.
So we got in the car, came home, walked past the kitchen and up the stairs. You asked for a breakfast bar (finally!) and so I waddled back down the stairs and grabbed your bar, hoping it would keep you occupied for my 3 minute shower.
I showered, dressed, and started my make up routine but you wanted to sit by me. So I hoisted you up on the counter and watched you destroy my makeup and get lipstick all over your hands. But it wasn’t quite 10 am and I was dressed and had make up on, and that’s a win in my book.
As we came back downstairs I checked my phone which had several new to do list items bombarding my texts. And I looked at the dishes again,and the new time sensitive errands bombarding my texts, and the toys strewn all over the floor. My breathing took on a new rapid pace.
And I looked at you happily packing your panda bear purse with the playing cards you had decorated the living room with the night before.
So I scooped you up, panda purse and all, and loaded you into the car.
I slid into the drivers seat and that’s when the tears came. Maybe from the hard morning. Or from being sick for over a week. Or from the disappointment I felt in myself for taking away from the day I had planned.
Or maybe because some days being a mother shouldering the child rearing, house cleaning, errand running, side job hunting, and worrying is so very lonely. It’s easy to lose yourself as a woman when you’re burried under the titles of mother, wife, house cleaner, etc.
So I cried all my freshly put on makeup off. And you sweetly said from the back seat, “Momma crying, momma sad.”
“Yes momma is sad” I replied through my tears. And I actually felt refreshed and relieved to just let it out and stop pretending I had it altogether today, because I just simply didn’t. And some days that’s ok.
Balance is not something you obtain by forgetting to take care of yourself, or making endless to do lists.
As I cruised to Home Depot for some house needs, and ran a couple of Christmas errands I resolved that a Chick-til-a date would suffice as a mommy daughter outing for today.
You were overjoyed by the French Fries and apple juice and promptly fell asleep on the way home.
As I carried you upstairs to your room I stopped and took a picture of you snuggled a top my 30 week pregnant belly.
Because despite how exhausting my job of mothering can be, and despite the never ending to do list—holding you in my arms and knowing you feel safe and loved is the greatest balance I can create each day.
I laid you down and marveled at your simplicity and lack of needing perfection.
I tiptoed our of your room and tackled those dishes and wiped down the kitchen. And then I allowed myself to sit and take some time for me while I waited for you to wake up and remind me how perfectly balanced we are.