Somehow I’ve found myself all grown up. Career. Wrinkles. Younger ladies asking me for advice, because I’ve “been” there…
But truth be known, I’m like a kid in a candy store. I’m loving this new season in my life. And at times hating it. I’m energized and exhausted, excited and perplexed all at the same time. But there’s something else about this adventure I knew was coming, but just wasn’t prepared for.
It’s hard to juggle career and family and feel like you’re doing well at both.
According to some undiscerning critics, I hadn’t worked a day in my life until last fall. I quit my day job two weeks before my first child was born, and for 20 years, I became a full time mom. Had four children. Home-schooled them all for a grand total of 10 years. Married to a cop – which means that at times I felt like I was doing this single-handed. Not complaining, mind you. I loved it. And at times hated it. Was energized and exhausted, excited and perplexed, all at the same time.
Four children means pulling all-nighters a few days in a row. It’s being on call 24/7. It means you grow up and deal with whatever pops up that day – attitudes, various bodily functions that go awry, figuring out what to do when your 2-year-old throws a tantrum in the grocery line, and if your 11-year-old should have a cell phone or not. As a mother I gave up my right to my body, my right to be selfish, my right to sleep… And I suddenly developed an Inner Grizzly that came out whenever I sensed my children were threatened. Good thing I never carried a gun…
A perfectly planned day can in an instant be chaos, or hospital bound, or perhaps perched on the floor with a huge pile of Legos. Birthday parties were my highlights – themes, colors, cakes. Would you believe that I promised myself that I would bake every birthday cake from scratch? Yeah, well, that got scratched all right – on my firstborn’s second birthday! And for a time, I actually LIKED hot dogs…
Good years. Great kids. Amazing memories. And I’m not done yet. It’s just different.
Since I became an author, finding that balance between home and dream has been tough. We’re adjusting expectations. We’re having to fend for ourselves a bit more. I’m not doing every load of laundry anymore. Or cooking every meal. Or going to every baseball game. Or tucking in every night… sigh. And as of two weeks ago, four in the nest became three.
So, Moms. Whatever season you’re in, know that when you are the best mom you can be, your work is valuable. It may not seem like washing 21,348 dishes in the course of time means much. But it allows our families to live in a clean home. And every kiss goodnight may not be burned in our children’s memories, but they know stability and love. Our repetitious duties and chaos and unplanned days are an investment into the future of the greatest resource America has.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I see your work. And it’s beautiful.
Victoria Newman - "A CHiP on My Shoulder" May 11th, 2012
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