Kids, work, time & priorities
Our Isaac will be three weeks old tomorrow- my how that time has flown. It has been such a blur, such a change from our previous routine. I have found myself wondering if life will ever feel normal again- if I will ever manage to find a routine now that there are two little people to care for. For now, our days are centered around the most basic needs for food and sleep and lots of cuddling, and as any mom who has breastfed knows, nursing a newborn is basically a full-time job. Of course, it feels much different when there is also a three-year-old who wants grapes and a sandwich and to go to the park and a drink of water and help going potty... etc, etc. So the days really feel full and exhausting, but also full of so much love and joy. We have spent much more time at home and indoors than usual, and I am itching to get out more but between the baby being so little still and me needing to not overdo it, we are proceeding slowly with that. I'm trying to simply enjoy the downtime and let myself just be in it rather than getting too antsy. These days have done so much to remind me how very precious my little family is. I feel so very blessed that it's rather overwhelming. I think that at times I have forgotten just how important the job of mothering really is. Our society doesn't acknowledge that very often, and in fact tends to look down on those moms who choose family over career. It has taken a few weeks of maternity leave for me to realize how influenced I've been by those views. As a mom who works from home, I have been far too distracted by work at times when my family should have come first. It's pretty much always a time management issue- rather than saving work for designated times (when my husband is home, or after Seth goes to bed), I have often allowed it to distract me from being present during the day for my son. I think I have been subconsciously aiming to feel that I'd accomplished something tangible during the day- to feel like "more" than just a stay-at-home-mom. I hate that I've fallen into that mindset. I hate that my three-year-old knows and uses the phrase "I'm too busy."
Seriously- screw society's messed-up priorities. Americans are notoriously overworked, overstressed, and place far too little importance on family. There is no virtue in being too busy to enjoy life or to give your best to those you love. I really believe that there is no job more important than that of motherhood. The way we interact with our children in the first several years of their lives- the things we say and teach and the experiences we give them, will shape the rest of their lives and influence who they grow up to be. Stepping away from work for a while and taking time to really see my kids (wow- I now have "kids"- plural...), and to evaluate my own heart and attitudes, has shown me that my days have not often been a true reflection of my heart's priorities. I'm not saying that my business isn't important or that I need to pay less attention to it. Running my business from home is what allows me to be at home with my kids. I just need to be careful about when I pay attention to it, learn to be as efficient as possible during that time, and acknowledge that being a mom is a job too, and the more important one. I love this quote from author Anna Quindlen, which comes up over and over in my Pinterest feed:
A disclaimer: it is absolutely not my intention to alienate anyone here. There is far too much judgement among mothers, and as far as I'm concerned, a good mom is one who makes the best choices for her family. Moms who work outside the home, or who are 100% full-time moms, or who work at home as I do... are all doing what is best for their families. None are less than the others; none are wrong. Just as is it awful that society looks down on those who choose full-time motherhood, it is just as awful for anyone to judge a mom who chooses to- or has no choice but to- go to work. What I'm talking about here is that the time we spend on actively mothering needs to be focused on our kiddos, fully present with them. For me, that time is the majority of most of my days, but for others it may be each evening and weekend. What is important is that our kids get all of us in that time.
I'm making it a goal to place more separation between my roles as business owner and mom, to be more present for my kids, less distracted when I'm with them. Because they are only little for a while. It goes by way too fast, and later they will not need me so intensely (and at times may not even want me around at all). This time is just too precious to miss.