For the past 10 days, my husband has been out of town, so I’ve been solo parenting (on top of running a business, keeping the house clean, pets cared for, etc.).
Now, when I dropped him off at the airport, I had super high lofty goals about what I was going to accomplish while he was gone. I’ve always had a bit of an independent and prideful streak in me so maybe I felt like I had something to prove to myself, but regardless, dangit I was going to do it all! I told myself that he’d come home to find the house spotless, the cupboards and fridge full of healthy meals which I’d carefully prepared all week, the bank account would be full since I was able to easily balance motherhood and crushing it in my business, and everything would just be downright amazing.
Fast forward 72 hours…
Toddler starts getting his 2-year molars so he is a feverish, drooling, diarrhea mess. There are so many toys on the floor I can’t see the carpet, but I probably don’t want to because who knows how much dog hair and goldfish are hiding underneath the mess. I haven’t gotten out of pajamas in two days. Dishes are piling up (or at least they would be if I hadn’t ordered takeout for 2 nights in a row). Oh… and I haven’t done a single task for my business.
WAKE UP CALL.
Not only did I realize that I absolutely needed to address some of my insane expectations of myself as a Supermom, and just how vital of a role my husband plays in the daily running of things, but I also realized how many little nuances about my children I miss, despite the fact that I’m with them all day long.
You see, the main reason that my husband and I started our business and left our 9 to 5 jobs was because we wanted to be home for our children during these crucial years of their development. We wanted to build a life that allowed us the freedom and flexibility to travel, to explore, and to adventure with our children at any given moment.
And yet, this week I realized that even though I work from home and am around my children for the majority of every day, I’m definitely not tuned in as much as I could be.
I realized that I don’t even understand a good portion of the things that my toddler says to me. My older child had to translate multiple times for me this past week. A trip to the weekly Library Storytime (usually Daddy’s thing) was a disaster of epic proportions, of which my 5year old so kindly told me never happens with Daddy.
This week I felt burnout, exhaustion, and levels of frustration that made me put single parents on the highest freaking pedestal on this planet.
But despite all of the moments of sheer chaos and overwhelm, I’m SO grateful for the experience. It helped me see that I can’t do it all, which is something I probably needed to learn for the past 30 years. And it forced me to tune in and pay more attention to the moments during the day that are seemingly unimportant- the conversations at the breakfast table, the 350 times a day “Mommy look at this,” sibling spats, shower songs, and the late night ice cream and Harry Potter parties.
This week forced me to slow down, and even though I’m not usually the type of person to want to do that (and I definitely felt frustrated by it), I am so, so grateful for the lessons it taught me.
So my challenge to you is to TUNE IN.
Don’t let GUILT about all of the other things in your life takeover, because I promise you all of those things will still be there. The laundry pile, the bills, the healthy dinners, the emails, the work… at the end of the day that will all still be there for you to do, but all of the little moments, the precious breathe JOY back into your life moments, with your child each and every day…. well… those won’t still be there.
So slow down and tune in. You won’t regret it.