For a while there, it seemed almost too easy, too good to be true. I had a newborn who slept amazingly, which meant I was getting enough sleep to keep up with both her and my toddler during the day and still wake up before the sun to get some work done.
I was nailing the whole business-owning, working mom of 2 thing…until I wasn’t. Mia stopped sleeping through the night about a month ago, and right around the same time, life seemed to amp up to a speed that I just haven’t been able to keep up with so far.
There are never enough hours in the day to get everything done, my house is never clean enough, my to-do list is way too long, I’m always tired, and I feel like everything I do is only half done.
People constantly ask me how I “do it all” and from now on, I’m going to share this blog post with them. Because I know as moms we’ve all been at this point, and I’m clearly no exception.
This is just a short season in my life, and I’m sure in a year I’ll look back at these photos and wish for squishy little baby cuddles again. But I would be lying if I said it wasn’t hard, and that it’s rainbows and butterflies every day.
I love my kids and I love my work, I just don’t love constantly feeling pulled between the two. And though I’m thankful to have a successful business, it’s hard not to resent an inbox full of emails when I just want to enjoy the weekend with my family.
I’ve interviewed 40+ fellow music therapists — many of whom are also business owners and ALL of whom are moms — for my podcast, so by now I know there is no magic formula for balancing life and work. And that piece of knowledge does make me feel a tiny bit better, but it still doesn’t make life any easier.
I’m not writing this to complain; I suppose the reason I’m writing this is to make you feel better, especially if you were one of the people that thought I had it all together. And you know what? Admitting that I don’t is amazingly cathartic.
Parker is ob-sessed with all things Halloween. He carries around his pumpkin bucket and practices his trick-or-treat technique on a daily basis. His favorite show right now is the Halloween episode of Little Einsteins on Netflix. He talks nonstop about pumpkins, witches and ghosts.
It’s super cute how excited he is, even though I’m not a fan of Halloween. I can’t wait to take him out in his Olaf costume when it’s finally time to trick-or-treat for real. And then we’ll pack up all the Halloween stuff and move on to Frosty around the clock (he’s already made his appearance quite a few times so far this fall).
But for now, pumpkins. And more importantly, coffee. Mia is in the middle of a seemingly never-ending growth spurt, which means she has been waking up at least two times every night to eat. I get up at 5 am every day to do all the work I don’t have time for during normal-people hours, which doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for quality sleep.
So coffee it is. One cup in the morning while I pump and work on the computer, and another right before I go to work in the afternoon. At this point in Parker’s infancy I was drinking 3 per day, so I feel pretty good about limiting myself to 2.
Fall is also for working on lots of projects, continuing to grow my business, getting ready to attend the national music therapy conference, and trying not to get too overwhelmed by all of the above. All of it is good, it’s just a lot — which is pretty much the status quo of my life.
Truth: I dreaded potty training long before I even had kids. I am a total germaphobe, so the thought of taking my tiny child into a public restroom completely grossed me out.
Fast forward a few years to this week, where I found myself sitting Parker on a toilet in the women’s restroom at Busch Stadium. Was it gross? Yes. Did I cry a little inside when he insisted on flushing himself? Undoubtedly. But did I survive? Here I am writing this blog post.
The real truth is, potty training has been surprisingly easy. Parker was excited to wear his Olaf underwear, and pretty much understood the concept of staying dry and using the “potty train” (he is going through a total choo-choo phase right now, so his misunderstanding of the phrase has worked to our advantage) from day one.
We didn’t use any special method or books; what worked for Parker was spending a full 3 days at home with the potty in the living room as a constant reminder to use it.
There have been some accidents on occasion, but after a few weeks of training, I’m thrilled to say that I only have one child in diapers now. Funny, my spending at Target hasn’t decreased as significantly as I thought it would…
Having a potty-trained child is still a lot of work, between the nonstop reminders, incessant trips to the bathroom, and tush-wiping duty. And the thought of all the public restroom adventures in my future kind of makes my skin crawl, but I’ll get over it. Maybe.
Every week, I ask my podcast guests about their self-care practices. That is, what they do to nurture their spirits and recharge their batteries.
Some do yoga, others grow gardens…the list goes on. And then there are some who admit that this is an area where they fall short. I get it; I’m not good at self-care either.
All my current hobbies (songwriting, recording, website geekiness) are related to my work because I gave up the ones that weren’t (biking, working out regularly, scrapbooking) when I had kids and no time to pursue them.
So yesterday during our intern’s weekly supervision meeting, I felt a little like a hypocrite talking how important self-care is and assigning her to partake in self-care activities each week.
And then I woke up this morning and felt like a kid on Christmas when I remembered that I don’t work on Fridays anymore. Not that I don’t absolutely LOVE my work, but there is nothing better than ending the week with a day devoted to my babies — nowhere to go, nothing around which to plan our day, the whole weekend spread out in front of us. THIS is my self-care.
My first non-work Friday has been awesome. My friend Angie came over so that Parker and Janie could have a play date while we got to hang out with the baby girls.
And while Parker is napping, I’m typing this blog post with Mia asleep on my lap, not running around trying to accomplish a million things like I do on work days.
I may never work on Fridays again, and instead of feeling guilty about that, I’m just going to call it self-care.
You know that feeling you get when you look in your closet and are overwhelmed with so many choices that you just can’t make a decision, and end up in yoga pants and a t-shirt?
(I used to know this feeling, back when I wasn’t dealing with a postpartum body and the clothes in my closet actually fit. So now I’m wearing you pants and t-shirt for LACK of options.)
But back to the original scenario. That’s how I’ve felt about this blog lately — SO much has happened in the last month and I have SO many things to write about, I don’t know where to start…so I haven’t.
I mentioned over at Listen & Learn recently that this season of having young children really is the “longest shortest time” (shout-out to one of my favorite podcasts). The days go by so slowly and seem to be a million hours long, but when I look back at the past 3 months, they seem to have flown in the blink of an eye. Seriously, wasn’t Parker just an infant learning to roll over? Now he’s talking in complete sentences while my second baby (what?!) begins working on her rolling skills.
These long days/short weeks have been filled to the brim — with playdates, potty-training, swimming in Mimi’s pool, walks in the double stroller, and all the other things you do with a toddler and an infant. Someday, hopefully soon, I’ll write more about Parker’s interactions with his little friends, his favorite games to play in the pool, and all the times he’s fallen asleep on our walks while Mia stares at me wide-eyed the entire way. I want to remember all these things and read about them many short years from now.
But that day is not today, because right now the days are long and full in the best possible way.