Every morning starts about the same.
The click of her doorknob, the soft padding of her toes across the floor and her scratchy voice whispering “It’s morning time!”
We spend the next 20-30 minutes begging her to let us stay in bed “just a little bit longer” while she tells us random stories and insists she’s starving and needs breakfast. Well, in her words “breck-sis”. We giggle over it and buy time until the other one wakes up and starts to make her own demands.
This time was a little different… she was still starving… famished…we obviously never feed the child. She wanted a movie – which depending on the week, can change. She HAS to pee in our bathroom (because she needs help to reach ours… a smart little tactic to get us out of bed). But today… today was a little bit different.
She actually said breakfast. With the F and not an S. And it was another slap-in-the-face reminder that she’s growing up. I smiled at this and hugged her little body closer to mine. I stay home… I am literally with them ALL day. I am NOT the one to say we have it any harder than the working moms out there. If I’m being honest, staying home is not harder to me. I don’t have to wake up at 5 am to rush and get ready for work, struggling to feed and dress my kids, trying to remember if I have lunches packed and all teeth brushed and permission slips signed and know that in the evening I’ll only have a couple hours before they go to sleep and then it starts all over.
I still wake up early… I still have A LOT to do in the day… but I have the luxury of watching my children grow while I do it and my schedule is what I make it. I don’t have that guilt that a lot of women carry about the juggle between career and family.
Would it be MUCH easier to have a few hours to myself so I can write or work on other projects for my website without having babies pulling me in 4 different directions? You bet your ass it would be… but I count myself fortunate that that is my main stress… we all work to find that happy balance where we are fulfilled and are able to fulfill, but I find my balance fairly easy to maintain. There are tougher days… days like last night where I just needed a mental break and my husband unicorned up and handled shit so that I might have a “me” moment. It was 30 mins and it was glorious.
However, this morning, when I heard my baby turned 4-year-old say breakfast without being coached… it reinforced all the reasons why I am glad I made this decision to be here. Why I know, although a lot of people questioned it initially, this is where I am meant to be. I know I don’t see other adults as often as I used to (honestly I don’t even like most adults so that’s cool with me). Even on days where I am scrolling through my friends Instagram stories while they’re off on these amazing, worldly vacations while I scream for the billionth time for my kids not to scream.
As I watch my child become more independent, it does something to me. I’m scared mostly. Scared that one day they won’t need me when I know that’s a good thing. At that point they’ll just WANT me, I hope, and have their own opportunities to boss bitch around their world.
Having children is like building a snowman. You’ll freeze your fingers trying to shape them into that perfectly round mold. You’ll add the fun accessories to make them unique. You’ll smooth the rough edges and marvel at your work when they’re complete. At that point, there’s nothing left to do but let others gaze upon your handiwork and pray nobody comes and destroys them.
What people don’t understand though, is your snowman is special. Your child is special. There’s no other person like your person… only what we fail to grasp while they’re young is they won’t stay young. That snowman will melt… the icy water will trickle back into the earth and become greater than what we thought we created.
And the joke of it is…we are to be happy about that. Proud that this incredible thing we made with our own hands, the one thing we know we got right in this world… we can’t keep.
Hearing her say ‘breakfast’ was one of those tiny red flags we often ignore. Either by choice or subconsciously, we don’t want to hear it. It’s too soon for that, right? Every day we inch dangerously close to kindergarten. To middle school. To their first days of college. And I just have to sit in all this fine-ness and know that everyone does it. I did it to my mom. She did it to hers. It’s what we do.
A good friend of mine once told me how she overheard someone mocking motherhood. They joked about how we say having a child is like a love nobody will ever know. How we all think our children are these perfect beings. My friend sat, smiling because she’s too nice to tell anyone to “fuck off”… but I will say here what I told her then.
We know the beauty of this. WE know the deep, blinding love. We know the sacrifices are worth it. We know the shitty diapers and formula puke and 3945 questions every morning and potty training and night terrors are worth it because you know what???
I can go on a vacation, too, one day. I don’t think my only call in life is to be a mother, although I know I AM meant to be these 2 human’s mother… I do sometimes wish I could be taken more seriously when people hear I stay home and babysit and write…. But in those quiet moments where we are just watching Frozen for the 300th time and my 2-year-old turns, tells me she loves me and gives me a kiss without being requested to… that’s the good stuff.
You can’t buy that. So I’ll keep on building my little snowmen and pray the sun doesn’t melt them too quickly.