My posts lately have been sort of half-assed. Small little thoughts and actions by the smallest member of my family that I have recorded as a way to somehow put "time in a bottle" and be able to remember this time before my next child is born. As I have mentioned more times than I care to recall, January is my busiest month of the year. It is all I can do to just get through to the end of it. Yet here I sit, the 5th day in February, and I still have the same kind of stress that I had all month long in January. I spent an entire hour yesterday with my therapist trying to figure out how to balance everything in my life and somehow feel like I am doing well at just one of those things.
One of my best friends recently posted about how she had "hit the wall" (for lack of a better term) while being a stay at home mom to her two little girls. I read that post and sympathized with her and knew exactly how she felt. But alas I am not a stay at home mom. But I know the feeling. I called her later that night and left her a message expressing my version of "hitting the wall" with my own life. We went back and forth over whose situations were crappier and how, in reality, everyone's lives sometimes get to that point. It was a nice discussion. No one was trying to say that their version was worse than the other. I think we both felt a little better knowing that the "other" version of the life we are living isn't necessarily the one with all the answers. See, I struggle with being a working, single mom. I fight the guilt and the stress of perhaps believing that I am not the best mom I can be simply because I have to be out of the house all day long to work. She fights with the longing of being able to actually have conversations with adults that don't include the words "Dora" or "For the love of God, please be quiet!!" I talked of the difficult transition of going from driving home from a client with my brain full of "how am I going to solve this problem/get this situation resolved in time," to all of a sudden squatting down on the floor and looking at the dirt that my son has deemed is "dinosaur bones." How do I switch gears that fast? Things get lost in the transition. She longs for being able to have that transition at all. This post is not to try and make a point that either situation is more difficult than the other (although if pressed, I will bow down and say that stay at home mothers are the hardest working people out there--every time). The point of this post is to say that we ALL, no matter what our situations, have to try and find that middle ground.
I can mostly talk about being a working, single mom because, well, that's what I am. That is my truth. That is what I live everyday. And it is hard; no doubt. But not harder than any alternative. For me the trick is to find the balance between working enough hours to be able to bill enough money to be able to pay for and provide for my child, and also being around enough and spending enough quality time to be able to be there for my child(ren). I constantly feel like I am failing in one of those areas. If I prioritize my child and spend most of my quality time with him, then I start to freak out about how I am going to afford my mortgage in this economy and how I am going to pay for childcare for a second child, and health benefits for myself and the new baby...and...I could go on. So I completely freak out about that and start having nightmares about having to move, make my mom watch the second baby exclusively etc. and I end up booking more hours with my clients and working during every single nap and after The Boy has gone to bed and pretty much every waking moment when I am not engaged with The Boy.
(I should note that since I am self employed and lucky enough to have PLENTY of clients, I can basically work as much or as little as I want. I am not working at a job where I have a set salary so my income is directly related to how much energy I put into making that income).
Then all it takes is one comment from my child who says, "Mommy, you working at you 'puter AGAIN?!?!" to make me lose my shit and think to myself, "It isn't worth it. None of this is worth it. I don't give a shit if we lose our house and end up in an apartment with no food, because my child deserves a Mommy who is THERE, damnit and that is more important than all the toys money can buy..." And I wonder at what price am I "providing" for my child? And I remind myself that when I get into "freak out work" mode I don't take care of myself at all. And it only takes a millisecond to recall when the doctor put me on bed rest during my last pregnancy because of the stress (oh, and the high blood pressure that came along with it), and how being on bed rest this time around, and thus EARNING NO MONEY would not help my situation at all. And all of a sudden I am making plans to be all zen and focusing on booking a pregnancy massage and sitting down on the floor to sing songs for hours on end with my son and rubbing my belly reminding myself of the fact that there is another little creature about to be brought into this chaos that deserves just as much of me as my son does..and...well...
It is apparently all about finding the balance. As my pendulum swung back and forth last night with my therapist from the extreme of, "My life is SO HARD and I just don't know how to manage it all and I am so tired and I feel like I can never do anything right," back to the complete other side of, "I am so lucky to be pregnant again and having this amazing second baby. And it's a girl! A boy and a girl! Who gets that lucky? And I have this amazing family and support system and I know for a fact that I will NEVER end up on the street and, dear God, I am the LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE..." my therapist very kindly reminded me that perhaps some pregnancy hormones may be coming into play here. And she also reminded me that this is just life. It is amazingly magnificent and rewarding and equally challenging and tough and saddening. It just is. The trick is trying to figure out where that middle ground is and how to live within it. I don't have any answers, nor have I figured out my own middle ground. But for MY truth, my blog, I needed to document this struggle. I needed to reconnect with the realities that are going on inside of myself. And I needed to see something that I think deep down, we ALL are struggling with.