Balancing life while fumbling with guilt.
Well hello, lovelies.
I’ve come to learn that times of great transition can often be times for great emotional unrest. No different than when I gave birth, my transition back to work has been quite consuming. It’s been an unrehearsed ballet of trying to be the best employee, the best mom, the best wife, the best homemaker, the best friend and the best version of me (in no particular order, and the list goes on). It’s quite evident now why I was never a dancer because even this ballet isn’t pretty.
I’m not certain why we as women put these sorts of pressures on ourselves. Who’s to say we need to be perfect at all of these things at all times? It seems more that it is a juggling act, and in some seasons we will hold certain balls in the air and in other seasons those balls will fall for a short time so others can be held.
I try endlessly to be present, to hold the moments, to see the wonder and feel the blessings, but there has been more than one occasion where I have put my hands in the air in defeat asking “what is this all for? To what end am I trying to be all of these things?”
The first day I took Reese to daycare was the catalyst to my emotional overload. As she stood there holding her hands out screaming “mama, mama, mama” I thought that there were few moments in life I could feel like a worse human being. We had spent 365 straight days together and now, without warning, I am leaving her with a complete stranger. I thought my heart would burst from heartache. So for those 4 long hours I went home and cooked everything I could think of from scratch, using all local and organic ingredients. Because this would certainly be reason for Reese to forgive me, right? And then what happened next: an entire bottle of chardonnay lost its life as a result of my mom guilt.
Subsequent to drinking away my sorrows I planned a jam packed weekend of trips to the zoo and to the park – almost anywhere I thought Reese would experience joy. Ironically, she hated the zoo and was terrified of almost every animal except for the flamingos and the fish. Turns out I could have driven down the street to Pet Smart and stood in front of the aquariums and she would have been equally as content. It seemed at every turn I was trying to overcompensate for my lack of presence and each overcompensation led to an even greater disappointment.
Each day that followed became progressively easier and less horrifying; however, it meant having to re-frame the ways in which we would experience joy. Last night we went for a walk, danced to the Wayfair song and learned how to stack blocks and knock them over. After I put her to bed I again felt overwhelmed with the meal preparation and the disaster in the house, but this time I was able to stop and reflect for a brief moment. I looked around and simply thought: Wild. Wonderful. Perfectly unprocessed. This mess is a reflection of you and all that you have accomplished, and all that is left to learn. And there really is so much more to learn.
I am still struggling with the balance. I feel guilty when I don’t set time aside for myself to work out, and feel equally as guilty when I have that time and leave her at home as it sometimes feels all I am doing is saying good bye to her. But we forge ahead each day bringing joy to our home, even if the joy is only in small snippets, because when it’s all over and the day is done the moments I embrace are the ones I slowed down to connect with my daughter and to see the world through her eyes. Everything else is just noise.