|Our New Family Member, Brielle Jean Barlow|
So what's it like being at home? I hate this question. I know there are millions of women out there who would give anything for the chance to be at home with their kids. I know I'm very blessed to have that choice. I know I'm very blessed to be in Australia and have the choice of when to return to work, now or a year from now. The truth is, I love working. I don't love my job but I enjoy the people I work with, and I enjoy adult conversation, waking up with purpose in the morning, having my day laid out before me. I'm one of those super annoying people who actually enjoy working for someone else. Be my own boss? No way! That sounds like way too much responsibility! I like being busy, learning new things, looking forward to vacations. The thing I've come to realize is I like working because it makes me appreciate my kids and family so much more. I love rushing home to spend some quality time with them, even if it's just an hour. I don't feel guilty at all. I read about that working-mama guilt, but I've never felt it. I know I'm a better person when I work and appreciate the little things, therefore I'm a better mom and a better wife. I don't remember everyday of my childhood, nor do I remember every other day, but I do remember special days and days that involved quality time with family. That's why I think I'm perfectly happy working and making the most of the time we do have together, which doesn't seem that hard to do.
In the meantime, while I'm on maternity leave, it is hard. It's hard to not be annoyed all the time. It's hard trying to do a zillion things at once, in effect not accomplishing any one thing. It's hard to be patient with the 700 times of ring-around-the-rosie and the resulting tantrum that comes from moving on to something else. It's hard cleaning the floors to find crayon all over the tiles. It's hard getting peanut butter out of carpet. It's hard making each mealtime a thing of wonder and surprise in hopes the GP won't yell at me for having such a tiny toddler again. It's hard knowing each and every day brings the same challenges all over again, by myself, in my pajamas, wondering when the last time I showered was. But, right now, it's what I'm called to do. It doesn't matter if I like it. It doesn't matter if we choose to do it again someday. What matters is I make the most of each one of these monotonous days because they'll be over very soon. I will make the conscious effort to enjoy my kids. I will remember to smell sweet Brielle's baby-breath and watch her while she sleeps because if I don't, I'll miss it forever and there are no re-plays in life. I will remember to patiently let Bina walk to the playground, a trip that is a quarter mile, but takes a painstaking hour (every.single.day.) and I'm convinced her swirling, whirling path to get there really racks up a good mile of walking. There are lessons to be learned for this mama in not rushing her children, in allowing them to learn at their own pace, to be part of their intimate lives, not just someone observing it. I know they're gifts granted to Ben and I and it is our job to open this world up to them to love, appreciate, explore and conquer. A clean house won't be remembered. How fast I lost my baby weight won't be noticed. Another job will always be there.
Today, I will cherish my children.