I’ve been working from home for about two years. It’s been the best of times, it’s been the worst of times. I’ve worked way too much for way too little. I’ve “worked” for months with just a client or two, causing me to question my talent, self-worth and sanity. And there have been a few golden moments when I feel like I have the right amount of work for the right rates, like right now.
These are great times. I have challenging and interesting work and still enough time to do the stuff I chose to stay home to do in the first place, like keep my house clean, cook interesting, healthy dinners and, of course, spend time with my boy (and husband after the little one goes to sleep).
It’s funny that I’ve finally reached a great stride when my world is about to be invaded? Rocked? By a 7 pound-ish human. I don’t know how the addition of Ira will affect my current work-from-home zone. But it’s been on my mind. A lot.
I can’t wait to meet our new son. I can’t wait to see those feet that have been jabbing me every day (they feel seriously cute). And I can’t wait to hold a baby who can’t run away again...at least for a little while.
I’m ready to grow into a family of four.
But I also just can’t picture what being outnumbered during the day will feel like. Will I be overwhelmed? Will I constantly be dealing with a screaming toddler or newborn around the clock?
Whatever my new reality is, I do know that I will want to take time to recover, catch my breath, rebalance my crazy hormones and get to know Ira, but I’m scared that if I take that time I’ll lose my work-life balance that took me all this time to reach.
It’s a catch-22. I want to be able to focus 100% on my boys (all 3 of them!) without nagging deadlines, but I know that with no work it won’t be long until I’ll get that pesky “stop wasting your life” itch. When suddenly just simply being a mom and keeping a house doesn’t seem like enough anymore. When it feels like a day has passed and I have nothing to show for it.
Are these feelings true? No. But they are real. And some days, they can’t be ignored.
What are the answers? You guys are all right here with me in this cathartic vent fest, but here are a few things I think that parents of young kids should keep in mind. Again, looking in the mirror. (Pay attention, Alexis).
First, as I’ve seen in my own short parenting stint, the journey between helpless newborn and tiring (but never terrible) 2-year old is lightning fast. Do I sound like an old person? Yes. But maybe the older and wiser among us have realized that the time when your kids are at home flies by, making it precious.
When I can, I try to soak up every sweet caveman sentence E throws at me, every 15 verse version of gibberish Jingle Bells he sings and every time he runs to give me a hug. He is so sweet, and although I won’t miss speed grocery shopping, park blowouts and rarely leaving the house after 7:30 PM, I will miss this time someday. Especially when he’s a young professional, conquering the world, and just calling his mom once a week (a girl can hope, right? Seriously, guys, call your mom, RIGHT NOW!).
Don’t Be Afraid to Stay Still
I am a to-do list junkie. I cannot relax with a pending deadline or dirty dishes in the sink. I hate taking naps. I don’t do relaxation well.
But I think that there are seasons in life when a messy house or empty agenda are OK. And welcoming a new member into the family is definitely one of them. Will I be able to be present in the moment while letting the laundry pile up? I hope so. I think that’s what Ira deserves and I want to give that to him.
And finally, when I really stop to think about it, no matter what I’m working on there’s no way it’s more important than raising my sons. Do they need a mama who is fulfilled creativity and professionally? Yes, I do think that a well-balanced personal life is helpful for well-balanced parenting.
But whether I had 10 clients or 1 won’t matter at all if I fail to teach my boys kindness, love, joy and hope. That it’s better to serve than be served. That it’s our job to bring heaven to earth right now, every day, starting with how we value and treat each other.
Far before I ever got into my freelancing groove, Ike told me how impressed he was with the purpose that raising Elliott gave me. Being his mom is the most fulfilling position I’ve ever been in.
Parents, your job matters. Your day is never worthless. You are ensuring that our kids will continue to bring light and love to this world. Do not give up.