Friday, May 13, 2011

Mom Lessons - Life Balance

For most of my parenting years, I have been a working mom.  I hated every minute of it when I was home, and of course, loved every second when I was there.  I felt powerful. I felt strong.  I felt needed.  And I always ended the day with a sense of accomplishment.

For short periods, I was a stay at home mom.  I hated having my kids in daycare of any sort.  My oldest hated being there even more.  So every minute of my maternity leave was a treasure for all of us.  I could be here, I could be at the school. I could bake and sew and get up 85 times a night when they were sick.  I could kiss the hurts away, I could read the stories, play at the park and be every bit of MOM that I had ever wanted to be.  

After Angel Baby, the company I worked for went bankrupt. I had no job to go back to.  With three kids, the cost of daycare for the baby plus before and after school care was $1850 a month. So for me to make any money working was almost impossible. Why work 40+ hours to bring home a few hundred dollars a month?  So, I became frugal mommy.  I cut coupons, I sewed my own cloth diapers, I even converted the Trucker off of Timmies and onto a thermos full of home-coffee.  I did all my shopping in one trip to save gas. But eventually, there was just no where else to cut from and I had to get some income.  

I was hugely fortunate to find a job that I could do at home. It's a very flexible position that allows me to still live my dreams of being mommy. Sometimes I get really wrapped up in a project. I don't hear my kids asking me questions, or I give half answers that really mean ... nothing.  

Have you been there?  You ask someone a question and the answer has almost NOTHING to do with the question?  "Mom, do we have anymore paper towels?"  "Sure, I think we went shopping last weekend."  Well, I might have answered the question... if we had actually bought paper towels.. but truthfully, I had no idea what you just asked me for... and don't ask how I got that answer. It doesn't make sense to me now either.

There are times when I have an overdue project, or a tight deadline, or have procrastinated so severely that 
And I know that it's not fair of me to neglect the needs of my family because I have work to do.  I work part time. It should never consume me full time. (but it does sometimes)  I get stressed.  I get frustrated.  I don't know how to email this file and finish that project and get the dishes done and laundry folded while cooking dinner with a sick baby clinging to my leg and wiping her nose on my shirt!!!!

It gets overwhelming.  

And then my Macboy... 

Oh, very sorry, 
he has corrected me.
He's not Macboy at all.
He is Macboy 2.0... 

...brings home this simple sweet gift. 

My little man.  Wise beyond his years.  Innocently hands me a strong message.  I'm certain this didn't involve massive amounts of forethought.  I am positive that the message I read here, was no where near the message he was sending.  To him it was mother's day flowers.  Which is great just the way it is.

But to me, it is much more.  It is a flower pot for my home office. Pens for me to write stories. And notes. Flowers to brighten my space, to remind me of my boy when he's not at home.  And most importantly, it is a reminder that work is not everything. No matter how big the project or close a deadline is, we should  
always take time to stop and smell the flowers.
Don't get wrapped up in work. Don't stress for perfection.  Let the house get messy sometimes. Keep your priorities straight. A short peak at my daily to-do list will reflect this.  The first two are the most important.  I want to have memories of fun times. Not kids playing or watching TV while I work.  Not kids hiding in their room so they don't mess up the living room. But fun, giggling, laughing, playing, family FUN.  And be present.  It is important to stop and smell the flowers, to shut off the constantly rotating to-do list in your head and HEAR the kids giggle.  See the baby girls face while she's squishing mud through her fingers. Moments can be missed in a heartbeat or faster if you don't pay attention.  I want to be with them, not just in the same room.



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