I blankly stared at the events sign-up sheet as I stood in the drop off line at preschool. I knew I should be writing my name in several of those blank spaces, but I was too overwhelmed to even pick up the pen. My son was repetitively bumping into my leg with his lunch box as I struggled to hold my squirming daughter, extra water bottle, nap sack, an “all about me” poster and my purse.
She recognized my blank stare as she passed by on the way to her son's classroom, somehow aware that I hadn't drifted off to a warm sunny beach and was instead silently imploding with mommy guilt.
Her voice rang out from two cars over as I attempted to buckle my younger child into her car seat. “Play date, my house…I'll get the coffee!” I stepped up onto the floorboard of my vehicle so I could see over the sea of minivans to her smiling face as those words wrapped me in a hug. “You have no idea how amazing that sounds. Thank you!”
My daughter barreled through their side door as she’s done many times before, heading straight for the kitty in their back yard with squeals of delight. My friend handed me a latte as we sat down at the kitchen table admiring the blissfully happy babies prancing around outside.
“What's going on, Mama?”
Despite my best efforts to appear like I had it together, I was clearly falling apart.
I am failing…at EVERYTHING. I keep trying to diet because I have zero time to exercise, but then I face plant into a tub of ice cream at the end of the night. My house is a wreck, the laundry multiplies at an impossible rate and I have volunteered for nothing. I'm a stay-at-home-mom…I'm supposed to be dominating all of these things. But instead I'm just spinning in circles unable to accomplish the basics. The worst part is the kids seem to be unhappy. I'm desperately trying to squeeze a career into the spare moments of my life as a mom to fill my cup back up, but that's not working either. The kids melt into a complete disaster anytime I take a second to work. Then we are all miserable and frustrated.
I can't balance it all…not at the expense of unhappy kids.
She sat her cup down and leaned forward. “You can have it all, Mama…you just can't have it all at the same time. The amazing career, clean house, killer figure and happy kids…there is a time for all of it. Just not all at the same time.”
The heat from the coffee cup swirled into the air as I paused to fully process these powerful words. She was right. On so many levels…she was right. I felt the weight of the world that I had placed on my shoulders slowly dissipate.
I had cluttered my life with all the things that could wait and had shelved the only thing that was time sensitive…their childhood.
This is the “happy kids” stage of life and I have been blessed with the opportunity to spend all of it with these little people that think I hung the moon. They deserve my undivided attention. I want to wear comfy mom clothes, craft messy art projects, pile up the dishes and spending endless hours reading books snuggled up in the chair with my little’s. I want to embrace these magical years without the distractions of things that can wait.
Never have I been more grateful for a friend that could see through my blank stare into my overwhelmed heart. Sometimes a simple conversation over a cup of Joe and can put perspective back into a mama’s life.