That moment when you’re flustered as Hell, crying a little on the inside and completely exhausted…And then your husband walks in the door and without hesitating asks what I would like for him to cook for dinner.
Yeah, he’s a keeper.
Eighteen months is an exhausting age. I’m just now figuring this out. Claire is so busy, so full of words, so interested in the world that she tries to do everything all at once. And asks for things nonstop, because she can. And throws mini tantrums when she can’t have what she is communicating. I swear I sit on the couch for maybe five minutes and then I’m up chasing her around, cleaning something, fixing something, sweeping up something, changing a diaper. It never ends.
So my plan of attack has been to get us up and out of the house as much as possible. I take her to story time at the library, we run errands, and she has Kindermusik class once per week. We go to the park, we have appointments, we go to the store and window shop just because. And in truth I think I’ve been over doing it. I’ve also had a bunch of doctor and dentist appointments on my end because I’m getting established with a new doctor, had to do some routine testing, had a couple cavities filled (story of my life), and then came down with an ear infection of all things. I’ve been exhausted, grumpy and not very patient lately, and I couldn’t figure out why.
So today Claire and I stayed home. I didn’t go to the store or run errands, we didn’t go to the park, I didn’t have any appointments or obligations. I was able to actually get some things cleaned and organized, play in the backyard with Claire, and take care of some lingering phone calls and emails. I really needed today, and I know I will be more ready to take Claire around town tomorrow for music class and to make a nice dinner for a friend coming from out of town, and do a workout, etc. But I had to stop stretching myself so thin. It’s all about the eternal quest for balance, am I right?
I read a blog a while ago (forgive me for not being able to find it) whose sentiment stuck with me. The author is a stay at home mom also, and the message of her post was about gentleness. Gentleness for mommas who spend their days raising their babies. Don’t expect so much of yourself, do what you need to but don’t make yourself crazy… Some days you just can’t do more and that’s ok. And that has resonated with me ever since, because I am a type-A, motivated and hard-working person. Yes, I stay home with my daughter and spend a lot of time reading books and playing with her, but I also have to feel like I’m constantly productive. And on days (weeks) when Claire demands so much of me, I have to learn to give myself license to slow down and be gentle with myself, so that I can be gentle with my daughter.
So thank you to my husband for coming home to a frazzled, disheveled wife and seeing that she needed him to take control of things for the evening. I realized I needed to slow down just a little, and because of that, Claire is happier and more relaxed today too, which makes my job a lot easier. Instead of running from this store to that appointment, we sat on our back patio and played with sidewalk chalk, and snuggled on the couch and watched “Sesame Street.”
And today I am totally okay with doing that and nothing else.