It is 9:06 pm on a Wednesday night. My 10 month old daughter has been asleep for the past hour and the house is quiet; all that can be heard is the sound of the kitchen clock ticking in our small apartment. Toys are strewn across the living room floor along with my messy purse and lunch bag I forgot to put back in the fridge when I got home. My worn boots lie next to my purse I haphazardly dropped on the floor when I returned home for the day.
When I left this morning, our apartment was tidy. I had stayed up way too late making sure it was clean so my mom would have an inviting place to watch my daughter while my husband and I were away at work.
It’s amazing how quickly a space can go from spotless to lived in. This morning, there were dirty dishes stacked on our kitchen table. My gracious mother washed all our dishes during the day. Now in their place still sit two child-sized bowls, encrusted with what little remaining baby food was left after I fed my daughter her dinner.
I fed her Gerber squash and some homemade applesauce I made in the crockpot overnight. The few apples I had placed in the crockpot reduced to a pitiful 2 cups of applesauce, but I was proud of my efforts nonetheless, as I rarely have or make time to blend up batches of wholesome, unprocessed goodness. I started the batch of applesauce around 10 pm last night.
Being a working mother forces you to make adjustments in how you use your time on a daily basis. Recall that I wasn’t able to start the batch of applesauce until 10 pm last night. I would have much rather preferred to start it around 9 am that day, but that is difficult to do when you are busy answering phone calls, typing up lunch menus, and throwing in a load of infant laundry at a childcare center.
I do not work 40 hours per week. I work 30, but I still consider myself to be a full time employee. My mornings always feel rushed. This is partly because I tend to want to linger in bed, not wanting to start my day instead of waking up at 5:45 am to achieve the maximum amount of time to get ready and not be late for work or look like I rolled out of bed and came to the office in clothes I found on my bedroom floor and dry-shampooed my hair for the second day in a row (this is generally what happens on weekdays when I work).
The other part is the fact that I am now a mom. It is not just me I have to focus on getting ready for the day when I wake up. I have now added a diaper change, jammies removal, new outfit application, hair combing, bottle making, warming, and handing the bottle off to a sweet little girl, whom I love, but whom has changed my life. My life is more full now, but like I said…it’s changed.
Sometimes I feel as if I’ve lost a part of my identity. The part of me that pursues her own interests-interests that do not involve paying bills, making supper, picking up the living room floor, or folding laundry. The part of me that still wanted to straighten her hair and wear more than just foundation, concealer, blush and mascara when I leave the house. The part of me that had time for herself to relax, to do nothing, to watch a movie without falling asleep at 9 pm on a Friday night.
There are many nights after work when my daughter is hungry before I’ve even begun to make supper. My husband informs me he has homework and will not be able to feed her, so I sit down to spoon my daughter’s food into her awaiting mouth and think to myself, “I wish I could have a nice meal laid out on our kitchen table right now and that we could all sit down simultaneously and enjoy that meal together.” Instead, reality these days most often looks like my husband completing homework in the other room, me trying to make supper and having to stop multiple times to feed my daughter Puffs to tide her over or to stop her from dropping a large Pyrex dish on her toes that she has discovered in the open cupboard by my feet.
I enjoy being a mom. I do. I just feel like sometimes there’s no time for me. Just me. Alone. By myself. Sitting in silence, painting my toenails or watching something on Netflix. When did these simple, relaxing activities suddenly become out of reach?
Lately, I’ve felt restless, overwhelmed by the amount of things I have to do and the realization that half of them will not be done before I lay my head on the pillow for the night. Time runs out. Day turns into night, and before I know it, another new Monday morning is upon us and the whole cycle starts over again.
In my last 8 years of being an adult, I’ve realized that growing up is not all it’s cracked up to be. I created a phrase concerning adulthood during a particular moment I wasn’t feeling too excited about being responsible. It’s this: “Being an adult is forcing yourself to do things you don’t want to do over and over and over.” I realize this is a glass half-full perspective, but really, when you think about it, adulthood is kind of like this a majority of the time.
It is hard for me to be ok with the fact that I am not a person who’s house will ever be as clean as it possibly can be everyday. I am a woman whose bedroom floor is usually covered in random piles of clothes from the work days before as a result of being so tired when I go to bed that taking the time and effort to put my layers back in their respective places seems daunting.
Lately, when I finally do go to bed for the night, it has been after staying up way later than I should because I am either doing something I really wanted to do earlier but did not get to (i.e. making homemade baby food) or because my womanly nesting instinct strikes around midnight and suddenly, decorating my living room for fall cannot wait another second.
There are many days I force myself to enter the grocery store after work yet again just to grab milk and formula. Maybe some bread and last minute ingredients I’ve looked up on Pinterest whilst steering the cart and trying to keep Taya from grabbing at everything I’ve just put into said cart. It’s deja vu all over again when I swipe my card at the check out, close my trunk, strap Taya back into her car seat, and drive home, wishing my 15 minute commute back home was a little shorter.
I hope you do not get the impression that I do not enjoy being a mother or that I somehow wish I was not one. I am merely reflecting upon how my life has changed since last December and how sometimes, some of those changes are not as inviting as others. I enjoy my job and am very grateful for it. Working outside of the home, however has left little time to get my house in order during the week and I only have one child. I don’t like to imagine what it will be like when I hopefully have more children and they start becoming involved in after school activities. I’m envisioning a majorly marked up family calendar and what I imagine to be even more feelings of overwhelmed-ness.
I would love to open our door to find a personal chef awaiting my request for dinner, to play with my daughter for an ample amount of time after returning home, to enjoy a meal as a family of 3, and to spend quality time with my husband after Taya goes to sleep. More often than not, these things have become a part of a fantasy I’m sure all mothers daydream about at some point or another.
God says, “Be fruitful and multiply. Increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” Well, I increased in number. I love that this small increase in number means a little blonde, growing girl curiously roaming our floors on all fours. I love to capture life with her. What I would love to capture is a sense of peace. A sense that even though life has changed for me in a lot of ways and the days are a blur, that mundane adult tasks are not all that life holds for me.
I need a fresh perspective, a sense of renewal. A good day to myself. At a coffee shop. With an iced coffee. Maybe my Bible, a pen, and a journal. Even a novel! I haven’t read one of those since high school.
The scripture says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11. I trust that the Lord means what He says, that He has plans for me. That He will prosper me and give me hope and a future. I trust that these things are true, even when my hope looks like hoping I can get the house in order before the weekend so that I can actually relax on a Saturday. (Or finally get around to taking my daughter to the park or eating a big bowl of ice cream just because I can.)
What are your hopes? What scriptures do you cling to to be renewed and refreshed in truth when life seems like a long to-do list of endless responsibilities, diaper changes, and errands? I would love to hear from you, friend!