So I think I might finally be understanding why moms sometimes complain about their kids.
I can’t tell you how often I see Facebook statuses, tweets or blog posts from moms, complaining about their children.
It always irks me.
If it’s a SAHM I think to myself, “Do you have any idea how fortunate you are to stay home with your kids?”
If it’s a working mom I think to myself, “You spent all day away from your child and now that you have a couple hours with them, you’re whining about it?”
Oh how the Lord uses such creative ways to show us where we lack….
I should be extending grace to all these mothers who are doing their best and probably just need an outlet for their frustration once in a while.
But instead I usually saddle up my high horse and ride off into my rose-colored sunset.
In some ways I have the ideal set up. I work full time which is stressful when you have a little one to take care of, but I split my time between home and the office, so I get a nice change of pace several times each week.
On Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons I leave the house, dressed in business casual attire with my hair done and my makeup on, and I go to our firm’s main office.
It’s nothing glamorous, but it’s a toddler-free zone where I can make phone calls without the fear of Sesame Street or a screeching child blazing from the background. I have fun co-workers who make me laugh. I have a great boss that I get to collaborate with and who buys us all lunch when he’s around.
And, when it’s all over and I’ve finished up my workday, I get to head home to play with my sweet little girl who I’ve missed all afternoon.
I’m usually more patient on these nights because I haven’t been fighting battles with her all afternoon. I’m more attentive because I want to soak up every moment before bedtime. Sure, there are some days that I’m a bundle of nerves because of a hectic workday, but usually I’m in a good place.
In other ways, I have the worst set up. Working from home is hard, yo.
Seriously. People somehow think that it’s a situation that allows you to collect a paycheck for being a mom.
It’s SO not.
It’s a real, grown-up job with real deadlines and real disasters and lots of irons in the fire all the time. Plus it’s a full time babysitting job where you must keep a child happy and quiet in the midst of everything else.
Oh, and you have to be really good at both.
Because you want to be a great employee and you want to be a great mom. Something always has to give and for me it’s usually the good mom part.
I have a very hard time with work/life balance. My need to please as a means of reconciling the disappointing relationship I had with my father fuels me to work very hard. I do a great job in my position, but it’s deeper than that.
I’m compelled, in an almost maniacal way, toward achievement. Doing more, doing better, being more, being better….it makes for one hell of an employee.
But it’s also exhausting.
When you add a very strong-willed almost two year old into the mix, it’s downright difficult.
I love my girl more than life itself. She’s wonderful in so many ways and I could write a book about all of her strengths.
We’ve had a few stretches of time that have been almost easy because she’s such a good girl and she’s on a good schedule.
Six to twelve months was amazing. Old enough to sleep through the night and engage in self-play but young enough to stay where you put her and take two naps a day.
Fifteen months was tough. Lots of ideas and desires and no effective way to communicate them. Also, lots of teething.
Eighteen months was decent. Learning new words every day helped her communicate what she wanted, still sleeping well and taking decent naps, understood boundaries. Pretty smooth sailing.
One week shy of twenty-one months? Oh boy. Lots of thoughts and opinions about things. Decent language but not sufficient to reason with her. Doesn’t understand any restraints put on her. Throws tantrums for almost everything. Wants me all of the time but not just me…me doing whatever the very specific thing she has in mind is.
You add all of that on top of work everyday, particularly the work at home days (hello today!) and you have one tired mama.
I don’t want to complain about her because I love her to the moon and back. I’ve been a parent long enough to know that this too shall pass.
I’m so ready for her to move through this phase and onto one a little more peaceful and harmonious.
At the end of the day, I have so much to be thankful for. A wonderful husband who helps tremendously with Grace and so many things around the house. A fantastic job that gives me the flexibility I need and a great wage to boot. A beautiful daughter who is healthy and thriving. A new chapter to our great adventure just a few pages away.
Pinch me. Sometimes I think I must be dreaming this great life.