Of the many things I am passionate about in life, being a mother sits comfortably and unchallenged at the top of the list. I love it. I love all of it. Seriously – Claire once threw up IN MY HAIR and I laughed and brought her into the shower to rinse her off and calm her down. Only when she was calm and feeling better did I realize that hey, vomit in my hair? Not cute. Sort of gross. Should probably fix that…
…but I also love my work, and sometimes the two sort of compete for my attention in a very real way. Take this past Thursday for example: I’m happily working, being productive… and then the Nanny announces something happened and she has to leave early.
And it’s not even noon yet.
And I work from home.
And have no family or help out where I live right now. Sigh.
Result? Even though I have tons of work to do and meetings to attend, I also now have a 7 month old and a 2 year old to love on, entertain, and play with. Busy? Pfft. Busy has nothing on this.
So what do I do first? I try to work WHILE (half)focused on the kids. This is what that looks like:
Staring down Claire when Max suddenly notices a PERSON on the COMPUTER! Hi Person!!! / Mom: Hi Person! Max: Lemme TOUCH! / … and lunge for the keyboard!
Where is Claire during all of this? She’s making a mess. Pulling things out of cabinets. Screaming. Being a toddler. Chasing the dog. Wanting popcorn. And bubbles. omg where are the bubbles! mama!
Right then? I stop.
This? Not working. All of it. I can’t get work done like this. And what’s worse? I am being a crap mother in this moment. I’m not proud of this, and yet here I am: plastering it on the internet. With photo evidence.
Because it’s real.
This story and those photos? These choices and struggles and all of this? It’s my life! I could paint a super lovely picture for you (and honestly – my life is lovely) that doesn’t show any of these things, where all of the photos show a clean house and happy kids and me being mother-of-the-year while simultaneously working 16 hour days and getting 8 hours of sleep a night… but why? I want the picture to be real. I like real. I connect with real.
Being a working mother is hard work. My house? It’s not as clean as I’d like it to be, well, ever. I probably have banana in my hair. I slept 5 hours last night. I have tons to do and I’ve stopped making “to do” lists because making that list? It’s just another thing to do. Sometimes I forget things. But I am so happy. My kids are happy. We’re healthy. We’re good. And my life? It’s really good and very real.
So on this particular Thursday, rather than fight and try to balance the impossible tasks of doing real work and watching two kiddos at the same time, I let go of what I had planned for my day and allowed it to just happen. I went with it.
I put my laptop away, I played with my kids outside, I made snacks and snuggled with them on the couch. And took instagram photos. And probably checked my email a few times.
…and on a day where I had planned on indulging myself completely in my work, I allowed myself to set my expectations aside and be present with the things I love the most: my kids.
That is real motherhood – like a BOSS.