There’s this great podcaster in the farming/sustainability/permaculture field that I’ve listened to regularly for years. His name is Diego. D-I-E-G-O.
He has, I glean, a very motivated, type-A, get ‘er done, accomplishment-driven personality. He’s also the father to three young daughters. I’ve listened to Diego explain in emotional terms, with voice breaking, the very real conflict he feels between being a dad, and being a do-er.
I listen to him, and it just takes me back. I remember struggling in exactly the way he describes.
Like all parents, he knows there’s this ideal where you slow down, radiate constant availability, and move at the pace of a young child following a snail through the garden.
And then there’s reality. All the love in the world, but also…
- Your To Do list, nagging in the back of your mind.
- This feeling that you are being squeezed all the time, from all directions, and no matter how hard you work, or how organized you are, you can’t quite get out of the vice.
- A sense that those adorable, busy, tiny hands are thwarting your simple need for some adult accomplishment.
- The unbidden resentment when the 45 minutes you counted on to just get this one thing done evaporates as your kid unexpectedly vomits warm, semi-digested California roll down your back (true story).
So many conflicted feelings.
The delicate balance between being the parent you want to be, doing the stuff you need to do, and also checking off some of the things you just want to do can be hard to strike. It’s not, “childcare vs. career vs. canning” – that mischaracterizes this common frustration that Diego beautifully gives voice to.
It’s really a conflict between various needs that all deserve effort and attention, but which can never all be 100% satisfied at the same time. There’s the need of the child to be cared for, bumping up against the need of the parent for identity and reasonable self-fulfillment in their professional and personal endeavors.
Ka-boom: age old conflict. One of two things happens next.
1. Self actualization can wait, but changing diapers can’t. So our parent who finds joy in gettin’ stuff done, doing art, taking the chaotic and bringing it to order, gardening or whatever – he submits to the reality of having young children, shelves that part of himself for awhile, and quietly stews in frustrated tension.
2. Our Type-A parent attempts to keep everyone happy by being-all and doing-all, all the time. She becomes that horrid Doer ad made flesh: busy life, bustling kids, always there for the boss. She multitasks like a mofo while other stuff – sleep, a social connection, self-care or sanity – slowly slips away.
(There’s a third way, which is to simply slow down, do less, enjoy the moment, get help, recognize your self-imposed expectations are insane, and find a healthy balance point. It took surgery that really messed with me before I got even a tiny bit better at this. I have no advice on how to get there without minor medical trauma. Maybe try a meditation app or something.)
Either option leads to resentment or exhaustion if it goes on too long. Eventually our productive parent with young children will vent into his microphone or bang on her keyboard or scream into a pillow, “Why does everything seem so hard?!”
I know I did.
But it’s easier now. You know why? Because my children aren’t very young any more. I turned around three times and now my youngest is nearly 7 and my oldest is 13. A teenager.
Both of them can make themselves food, get themselves dressed, buckle themselves in the car, play unsupervised without getting themselves killed, and generally make their way through a day with very little micromanagement on my part. Both of them can wrangle chickens and a vacuum cleaner, and are required to prove it quite frequently. They are both capable, in an age-appropriate way, of fluently negotiating their environment.
I’m not trying to brag or claim my kids are perfect or that I know what I’m doing – it’s just that they aren’t babies or toddlers anymore, and that makes a huge difference.
I don’t want to sound like one of those obnoxious women who pats a new parent who hasn’t slept in 9,752 hours and says, “Cherish every moment, dearie – it goes by so fast!” But I would like to suggest that, with time, it does get easier.
• • •
I was cooking a frittata a few mornings ago. Mushroom, sausage and swiss cheese – delicious. The mushrooms needed thyme. Mushrooms always need thyme. So I turned to my son. “The tiny shrub outside in the front by the strawberries. It has little purple flowers and teeny, tiny leaves…go grab it like this, then take the scissors and cut off a bunch like this.”
Off Oliver went, and a minute later he was back, a perfect clump of fresh thyme in one hand, scissors held safely point-down in the other: “Here you go, mom.”
Later that day my daughter got hungry outside of normal family meal times. As a teenager she often rises later and eats on a different schedule than the rest of the family, which is fine with me as long as I’m not treated like the short-order cook. I came in from working on a garden project to find that she had sliced up some leftover roast chicken breast, heated some black beans from a jar in the pantry, and made herself an incredibly delicious burrito (I know because I stole two bites).
Bella’s 13. She can use the stove all by herself. I mean, look, I know this is not a big deal when you have older kids. But when she was two, I spent all day just ensuring she didn’t accidentally hurl herself into the grand abyss.
No one told me that in not that long she’d be all, “Oh hey mom, made myself a kickass burrito that required multiple steps including efficient utilization of leftovers, juggling of razor-sharp knives, and the mastery of fire. Wazzup wit you?”
She even cleaned up after herself.
So those of you with 2-year-olds, infants, little kids: I know you are in the trenches now. It’s survival mode. It’s one-minute-at-a-time mode, because taking things a day at a time is for some other lucky bastard who can plan that far in advance.
But your future is magic burritos you don’t have to make or clean up from. Magic. Freaking. Burritos. It gets so much easier.
• • •
Being there for your kids in the right way is still be a challenge as they get a little older, but when it comes to getting stuff done, my kids actually make my life easier slightly more often than they make it harder these days. And I also get to have these fantastic young people around who say really funny things – so a solid win when you do the full calculus on productive parenthood.
I think most of this is just the passage time, but if I could take a little credit, I’d like to think my own conflicted struggle between wanting to always be there for them but still wanting to check shit off my to do list actually provided a decent environment to encourage development of competent, age-appropriate life skills.
They were frequently hauled with me out to the garden or into the kitchen, and occasional benign neglect allowed them space to learn (relative) patience and how to deal with their own boredom.
Here’s my theory: the stumbling, bumbling, exhausting, frustrating, into-everything nature of young children is not a bug, it’s a feature. Kids instinctively want to be useful and important and valuable within their tribe.
They follow you around, always underfoot, always trying to
be like mama
be like papa
do like mommy
do like daddy do
because they are constantly scanning for important skills to grab onto, observe, learn, repeat, and compulsively master. One day, they want to be big people in the tribe and that means watching how the current big people do their big people things.
When you bring them along with you – moving, gardening, growing, reading, cooking, making, doing, getting it done – and encourage them to bumble alongside, they internalize those skills as valuable.
I know it can be frustrating and I know it really slows you down, but I promise – turn around three times and you’ll be happy you took the bumble-along time when that time was takable.
For the stuff they can’t help with (and kids are more capable than we often give them credit for) well, good. They can internalize the skill of patience, and of respect for mom or dad when she or he needs quiet or space to do adult-work. That’s valuable and justified too.
Finding the balance point isn’t just about adult time vs. kid time – it’s also figuring out how to model an adulthood that is impassioned, committed, and productive with your children by your side. It’s not easy and it’s not simple. But the great news is, you don’t have to do it perfectly. You just keep trying, bumbling along together, day by day.
And then one day you will listen to Diego the podcaster, or read an article, or chat with a friend, and you will remember the feeling of urgency, that deep gut anxiety of not being on top of it, of being yanked in a zillion directions and never caught up.
But for the life of you, you won’t be able to remember exactly what it was you felt so behind on.
• • •
There will be a morning, a couple years from now, when Diego will call for his daughters, and one of them will be outside, gathering eggs all by herself. She’ll have heard the chickens ba-gawking and she’ll just go take care of them.
No one will tell her to, no chore chart will demand her participation. She’ll know how to be responsible and she’ll how to do the work. She’ll know, because she’ll have watched it done for years.
This is my message from your future: it gets easier, and it’s worth it.11
My philosophy has always been, put their little asses to work. 🙂 Everyone, regardless of their age, physical abilities, emotional stability, etc. can help in some way. It starts when they’re babies and you’re changing a diaper and you say, “Here, honey, you hold this while I change your diaper.” Before you know it, they’re making a burrito.
Of course, it doesn’t stop at a burrito. Next they’ll be independent adults who work at jobs and raise their own families and come back periodically and climb up on your roof to hose out your gutters, or dig a hole for a tree you want planted, or sweat their asses off helping you can jams. *sob*
Damn, they get big so quick.
Yeah, I blinked and mine are 13 and 16. I’ve always advocated for getting them to do all the things. Even when you have to reclean the bathroom, do only 2 of the 10 things on your list, or feel the insane frustration of watching a young child manage a potato peeler. In the end, they not only become much more helpful around the house, they learn how to manage their future homes. I think that is incredibly important. I also love that I can fully count on them to help me these days. Now, I’m sad thinking that they will be leaving me soon.
Mary Frances Ellison says
A wise parent told me that having children is like experiencing a blip in the time/space continuum – the DAYS can go by really slowly (like when they’re whiny or need you to do everything) but the YEARS go by really quickly!
And my spouse and I have always said to one another that it takes more time on the front-end (to teach, explain, demonstrate, remind – over and over again, sometimes) because we are not raising children … we’re raising ADULTS! The goal is to help these young humans to become fully-functioning, responsible, employable adults who can leave home and take good care of themselves (and other new humans, eventually).
Now, speaking as someone who is nearing the end of the hands-on part of the parenting journey (mine are 19 and 16), it’s totally worth all of that time and effort – and enduring all of the teenage eye-rolling – when they realize how accomplished they are at the life skills that you have been teaching them. I was shocked to hear my older son thank me for having given him chores to do all through the years – because it has made him feel capable and confident in every job situation that he has been hired for, and has given him the skills that he needs to be able to cook/clean/launder/etc. for himself.
When my daughter was a freshman in college (living on campus) she was VERY popular on her floor because she was the only person who could show everyone how to use the washer to wash their clothes. Seriously.
My (now adult) kids don’t hesitate to jump in and help out when they can. To have someone who helps without hesitation is priceless in today’s world. Sounds like you raised a great son, Mary Frances!
The days are long but the years are short.
Thank you for this. I really needed it today. My now-two year old and I came to have you sign your book at Powell’s in Portland when he was a tiny suckling thing and nursing behind a bookshelf- one of my first attempts to do an adult thing while parenting. Very much looking forward to self-burrito days and needed the motivation to let him “help”.
AMEN! Mine are now 8, 6, and 5 and it is soooo much easier now in so many ways. My husband and I were talking about what a sweet spot this is right now. They buckle and unbuckle with no help (when it was all three needing help it was torture to do more than 2 stops in an errand run…just not worth it.) They can get their own beverages and set and clear the table and even sweep under it! They play out in the fields around our house without me worrying about them wondering onto the state highway! They go pick berries and even bring some of them back to the house to share! And they still like hanging out with us, they still give me big hugs and kisses and snuggles every morning, they still even get into some events for free! 🙂 Basically, I loved the newborn times and the toddler times, but often lived in 2 hour segments (breakfast to nap to lunch to snack to nap to dinner to bed) and now things are easier in so many ways. And I get to sleep all night long….bliss!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – parents deserve a medal ?.
It gets easier, so true. My four kids are in their 20’s now. It’s been quite the adjustment for me. I have never been an adult without children, not that they aren’t still my children, but they are not quite so dependent.
I was a chef, so food has always been important, and my kids friends were always astounded with the way we ate. And now, that all of them can cook. I’m constantly shocked at how many people, parents included can’t cook.
Daaaaaaaamn, what a wonderful piece of writing! You put into words something I’ve been pondering lately, with my 13 and 9 year old. Thank you!
Katie N says
Thank you for this. I’m right in the thick of it with a 3.5 yo and one year old twins. I get nothing done and feel like I’m treading water – barely. Even just the feeling of knowing I’m not alone is insanely comforting. Thank you.
Yes! I have a 4.5 year old and almost 2 year old twins, and I’m sitting at my desk right now at work still completely drained from taking a road trip with them this weekend to visit my dad. My father’s wife collects priceless antiques, which are placed on coffee tables all over their house, so I was chasing the kids around all weekend saving antiques. And one of my girls gets sick in the car, so we had multiple episodes wherein she’d start vomiting and the older boy would start screaming his head off that vomit touched him, and we’d be pulled over on the side of the road trying to clean up puke while restraining the other twin whose new favorite activity is bolting from us in public (preferably into deep water or traffic). I have TIME right now to do work, but I have no energy. I just want to curl up in a ball and eat chocolate and read a mystery novel or something. I’m mentally exhausted. But also I feel burdened by that ambivalence of parenting a bunch of tiny children, where I want to enjoy them and just relish all their chubby thighs and mispronounced words and sweet snuggles, but also want to be away from them. There is another post on this site about parenting, and an apple tree, that I have bookmarked and return to periodically. It’s sage advice. Thank you, Erica.
Aren’t we so isolated from each other. It’s so bad for humanity! You and I should be drowning in community- not that strange-smelling community house where sad-sacks go for a free meal, but the original community of mothers, aunts, sisters, first, second, third best friends, their mums, their sisters, just a massive social network of other women who are in our faces most every day as a matter of course, whose own experiences were the same, so when you become a grandmother, you help your communities children etc. The men out hauling beasts and developing value/wealth, while we’re all growing clever young women and men and tending the fire and fermenting the garden produce.
What a world. It’s just not right. Women saying they’re ‘career women’ as an excuse not to raise their own child when the going gets seemingly impossible around 3 months in (for those of us with no-one), except to dress them in the mornings for childcare, or to put them to bed.
It’s just not right.
Catherine, you voiced what I’ve thought for so long! I am always surprised when I make a comment to my daughter who voices these kinds of young parent woes and tell her things like, “Nobody is going to expect you to be at A,B,C social function because you have a newborn and a 2 year old and are breastfeeding!’ And then she replies, ‘Oh no…I am expected to be there because women are expected to do all this, maintain social commitments (paraphrasing here), have a spotless Pinterest-worthy house and still work.’ It should be that the elders- us grandmothers and aunties- are there to step in and help. Yet I’m the only one from both sides of the families who is able to do that and understands that it is the natural way? How wrong is this?
So very wrong.
My mother championed this ‘way of life’ as normal, she was so proud of herself as ‘having it all’ and ‘being a modern woman’ as taught by the rotten media- but in doing so, eventually she alienated both of her daughters- me completely, both of her non-breeding sons and my father divorced her eventually too.
(My sister hangs on by a thread- she gets an hour per week from my mother to get something done w/out her 4yr old in tow).
We all live in different countries, our family became a war-zone with all the mixed messages. Insanity. My sister and I did most of the housework, cooked, babysat, was basically the ‘community’ my mother needed to have a social life which she found more important than anything.
Otherwise Mum thinks she’s ‘done her job’ and is now scot-free to travel the world with her new husband, dinner parties, opera tours etc. That generation has created an impossible standard that I wholly reject as manipulated to further cause thyroid issues from stress in every woman striving to be the media-ideal. It’s a lie, like everything in the propaganda machine.
It’s evil nonsense- children first, family first. I learned this the hardest way possible!
Amy (Savory Moments) says
As a “doer” of 10.5 month old twins, thank you. I needed to read something like this today.
Nicole Schmidt says
I have a different (or perhaps additional) perspective. I have kids ages 13, 14, and 16. Toddlerhood seemed sooo much easier. Constant nagging work for others yes, but decisions were so simple. Five minute time out or ten. My garden is bigger than ever, but any time I am working on it I know that I could and should be researching colleges and scholarships, monitoring facebook to see if any of their friends (or selves) are being abusive, making time to discuss the subject of teen suicide, relearning physics so I can help with homework, watching their favorite youtube channels for discussion-worthy content, fitting in those 100 hours with a teenager behind the wheel. Yes, they can wipe their own asses, but they can also roam the neighborhood, smoke pot from their friends’ parents’ stashes (Oregon), vandalize without an understanding of the consequences–it was upper middle class twelve-year-olds who burned down historic Civic Stadium in Eugene–shoplift, jump off buildings or any other asinine activity done in the name of cool. The only remedy is to spend more time with them, constantly reinforcing values and warning against the typical lapse of judgement that comes with remodeling the teenage brain. Finger in the electrical socket seems pretty tame at this point. What I wouldn’t give for a connect the dot puzzle.
Additionally, now that my people are socially conscious, I have to come clean about what we’ve done to the planet, what we do to each other, the fact that we have gotten virtually nowhere with racism, sexism, human rights, pollution, you name it. Sleeplessness may be over, but the real work is just beginning. Those adorable future adults are nearly there and there is limited time to get them all the tools they need for their own self-actualization and fulfillment in a world that’s looking pretty bleak from some angles.
[Now my effort to turn this around, because I have loved this blog, been super inspired by Erica’s work, always finding here ways to help me fit in the most beloved things I do for my family: gardening, canning, and greening the home. And I absolutely agree that the picture she paints of parenting is everything young kids need and thrive with.]
Easier, no. More sleep, yes. Help with chores and house maintenance, yes. Time to check out from family and devote to career (chiropractic practice), yes. Time with my husband, without a sleeping kid between us!, yes. Worth it, absolutely. Now that I know what it takes to raise those people that inspire and encourage me to be my best, I am grateful for the great dedicated parenting I see going on all around me, even if their kids occasionally ding dong ditch my house. To current and future parents, I agree it does get better. Those little humans become sources of original humor and creativity with the power to teach and inspire. They challenge the adults around them to be accountable and to continually grow as humans responsible for the welfare of all. They are a way to pass on the values that we want for all as they interact with younger people as camp counselors, lifeguards, teachers, employers, and maybe parents themselves. Keep it up. Parenting is good stuff.
Why are you researching colleges and scholarships? That is their job.
Nicole, just as the sleep-deprived parents of babies and toddlers get the trite admonition that Erica mentioned ‘Enjoy this now honey, these days pass too quickly’ comes this probably-trite admonition from a middle-aged mama who went through the worry-days of teen and young adult years….they’ll get through this. You will too. They will eventually make their own choices, make their own ways and hopefully be glad for your guidance. You are doing your best, you can’t do it all and in the end at least you know you did what felt right. Of my two kids one was an angsty, difficult teen and turned into a stellar young human wife and mother. The other one is still floundering a bit but doing his own thing and yeah, I didn’t raise two Rhodes Scholars but I’m proud of them and glad that the grand cycle is beginning again with their generation. I’m tired now and both hubby and I are dealing with aging parents who are beginning their long, slow goodbye so I guess nature has just shifted our focus from the young to the elderly. I hope to be proud of my efforts toward this in the end. This was rambly, I’m sorry but I wanted to give you great props for all you do and to say that you will someday be very glad for all you’ve done and the hard work you are putting in right now.
Thanks for this — I have a nine month old, and everything just seems So. Hard. right now. I have been going through a thing of feeling like, okay, she’s older now, time to start getting back to the things I used to do… Ha! I know in my head that I need to let some things go, but I hated that I bought tomato starts this year, and now those starts are still not in the ground, the hoop houses aren’t up, the soaker hose isn’t down… I feel like I am doing a terrible job at every aspect of my life except parenting, and it kinda pisses me off. You’re completely right about that third way being the answer, but damn. If you’re someone who likes doing things, it’s so, so hard. But thanks for sending hope from the future, it does help to hear that others felt this way and got through it.
Ien van Houten says
For most of humanity’s existence this conflict would have been greeted with howls of incredulous laughter. OF COURSE concrete stuff has to be done while at the same time children are being underfoot! That buffalo needs to be butchered or that salmon has to be smoked or whatever. The whole notion that a two year old needs to be catered to at every waking moment, where did that come from?
Ah, yes, but for most of humanity’s existence it was not expected that one parent would keep all those balls in the air, all by him or herself, all the time.
That notion came from the propaganda that ensued after WW2. We all are taught to believe a certain bunch of good guys won the war but on closer research, the opposite is true. It’s a messy, awkward, fascinating story that has most of us following the media in all its forms for guidance and inspiration on how we should be living, ancestors and tradition be damned! Sadly.
The timing of this post could not have been better for me. Not ONE MINUTE prior to reading this was I sitting down (while pumping at work, actually) to figure out how to fit in time to dig a ditch and a pond in the next six weeks in order to be ready to have a fence put up on our property while working full time and wrangling a (currently sick) seven month old. Motherhood is the best project I could ever have imagined, but sometimes I get tired of washing another load of diapers (didn’t I just DO THIS THIS MORNING???) and want to work on all those other projects that I want to accomplish. Love this post and your blog, and thank you for the much needed reassurance!!
Bill Everett says
“… because they are constantly scanning for important skills to grab onto, observe, learn, repeat, and compulsively master.”
This point was impressed upon me by two episodes in a short, silent “home movie” narrated in person by a producer. I saw the film twice about five years before my first child was born. One viewing was in an auditorium at the Univ. of Michigan, where is was a student, and the other was in a session at the AAAS convention in Chicago in 1969 (now I don’t remember which of them was my first viewing).
In the first episode, the adult is watering the flower bed beside the house trailer with a hose, and she pushes the child away. The child grabs the adult’s leg and wants to play. “I’m busy and will play later.” The adult finishes watering, turns off the water, and goes inside the trailer. The young child immediately picks up the hose and goes through the motions of watering the flowers (although no water is coming through the hose).
In the second episode, the adult was sewing up a tear in the child’s sleeping bag. Again, the child wanted to play, but was pushed away. When the adult went into the kitchen to prepare food, the child immediately sat down, picked up the needle and thread, and started imitating the sewing activity.
Most of the movie was focused on efforts to get the child to imitate certain adult behaviors. I understood a few things from the movie. It is very difficult to teach somebody something if they are not interested in learning what you are trying to teach. Young people are very good at learning what they want to learn. The imitation instinct (“monkey see, monkey do”) is powerfully conditioned by a perception of what is important. Clearly, adult behavior that cannot be interrupted by a child’s desire to play must be very important.
Believing that reading would be an important skill for my children to learn, I would also refuse to play with my children (first a son and then a daughter) when they would crawl across the carpet to me while I was reading a newspaper, magazine, or book, “Later when I finish reading.” I would reasonably quickly find a place to stop reading and then keep my promise to play later. Soon my children were pretending to read and refusing to be distracted from it.
I looked for that movie on YouTube but did not find it. I did find a segment with that child demonstrating the sewing behavior (at 7:35 in the video at https://youtu.be/fxCOphC7kXw?t=7m35s).
John McLellan says
Thank you for this incredible post, Erica. You have summed up my wife’s and my combined parental struggle in this post, as well as your initial post from 2012. WOW. (I also am an avid listener to TSP as well as PV, so I relate quite well to your tastes in “infotainment.”) Your words of encouragement mean more than my limited vocabulary can convey to you in my caffeine fueled life of parenthood, self employment, marriage and general mayhem. Thank you for all you do. -John in Montana
Thank you a billion times 🙂 I needed that!
Love this article! I have 3 grown children, 22,20,and 18. I am now helping raise my 3 grandsons, 4,2,and 1. Ots like I have started all over again. I take them with me to feed and clean up after our chickens and ducks,it does get frustrating at times,but they are learning and I must always remember this. I love the comment “the days are long but the years are short.” Oh so true . They grow uP in the wink of an eye!
This is exactly what I needed to read today. I may have even shed a tear or two of relief at the reminder that life will get easier again. Thank you. Until then, it’s back to the trenches for me!
Woman, I needed this so badly today.
Victoria Patience says
Am crying too much to write the comment I wanted to! Thank you for this.
I have an eight yr old doing (homeschooler) maths downstairs atm, so I shot over the side of the stair railings and took three photos, just to remember the mornings battle for him to get started. My 3yr old is stubbornly refusing to wear wool in 8C, has snot, and refuses to use the toilet unless a bribe is involved yet loves her cotton undies. There has been a fecal emergency every morning for the last three mornings and I have given up freaking out about it for the time being.
I’m still in my PJ’s but have started my very minimalist make-up routine, just not completed it. We’ve had first and second breakfasts and morning tea too. All I want to do is take the screenshots of painted, abstracted trees found two days ago, downstairs to my easel, and sketch out a couple on my canvas. Another two days and I possibly may succeed.
This couldn’t be a more timely post if you were AI’s ‘Legion’ in the flesh.
Thank you for this excellent piece! I’m thrilled that you are writing again!
Thank you, so much, for this.
Thank you! I stumbled into your blog today and this is the first post I read. I’m a mom to four kids all under 6, I work full time, my husband is recovering from a stroke last fall and I just feel each day like I’m never getting enough done. When my kids ask if they can help I cringe at thinking how much it will slow me down and how much easier it would be if I could just cook supper on my own. When someone asks me to color, or play Legos, my response is almost always maybe later mama is trying to get this done right now. I’m knee deep in these trenches trying to find a balance but it is so hard to see past this season. I see others moms who seem to accomplish so much and I wonder why I can’t be like that, why I’m not mothering, working, keeping my home spotless, tending to my garden and chickens, finding time for hobbies…I’m barely doing the doggie paddle right now. This spoke to me though about the importance of slowing down, taking the time to teach my kids those valuable life skills and how to be a responsible productive adult while parenting at the same time. So again, thank you for reminding me that right now its ok to be a mom and that it will get easier in time.
oh, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! i needed that more than you know. well, actually, you probably know. 🙂
You’re not alone. 🙂 Hugs!
My sister and I, both parents of toddlers, were talking the other day and she said I should read this. I told her I already had. She said, “I cried a little bit.” I told her, “Me too.”
These days are so incredibly precious and so incredibly draining right now. Thanks for the little glimpse ahead and the reminder that it’s all worth it.
AM Pratt says
I got weepy reading this. You have no idea how much I feel this exact dilemma in my life. I have twin two year olds and a slew of hobbies (gardening, leatherworking, dancing, yoga, genealogy, to name a few) that I try to do as often as possible because they keep me happy… oh, and I also work part time. My house is always a disaster.”that deep gut anxiety of not being on top of it” is constant and eats at me.
Just tonight I was potting some lavender cuttings and my son insisted on helping. I loved it but after two I was like, “okay, great job! Lets go feed the chickens!” and went back and finished myself. I want so badly to not lose myself in parenting these twins but the “mother guilt” really gets to me when I leave them to their own devices while I finish a project.
I never comment on anything but I really just wanted to say Thank you… For giving me hope. And putting it so perfectly.
Thank you, it does get easier. <3
I’m so glad I stumbled across this post today. It was exactly what I needed to hear.
Last September, my husband and I became foster parents to a newborn. We were in the middle of putting up an 8,000 sq ft garden while I was writing a book and trying to figure out how to build an online community (when I’d rather not be online). Life was full, as usual.
Now, I feel lucky if I can take a shower or pee. I’ve been okay with this for the most part, but today, I felt kinda sorry for myself when I realized that I wasn’t going to get anything done. Again.
While I’m fully committed to loving this little munchkin with all my heart–no matter how long that ends up being–I don’t want to lose myself in the process. I still want to leave room for other endeavors, even if it means bumbling along imperfectly with kiddo in tow.
What I appreciate most is that you not only make this feel acceptable but also VALUABLE.
Thanks, Erica. Cheers to future kickass burritos! 🙂