Last week, I sat with Carson at the pediatrician’s office for almost an hour. During our wait, he snapped a picture of me that I found absolutely depressing (I don’t dare post it here). It showed a tired, middle-aged woman with frazzled hair, bags under her eyes, and little expression. After acknowledging my sad state, I deleted the picture and moved on with the day. In the last few minutes at the office, the doctor confirmed Carson’s pink-eye and also diagnosed him with an ear infection. Thankfully, that’s the first antibiotic-treated illness a child of mine has had for a very long time (we’ve been lucky!).
A day after that fateful picture, I snapped a selfie after I returned from a small-business networking breakfast that left me energized. (I am a little embarrassed to share it here, but that’s my role as a blogger!) Thankfully, the results of that shot were not nearly as devastating. I hope that I look close to my age (just a mere 32!) and more well-kept. I struggled to dress for the professional event, given that my current work uniform consists of long-sleeved T-shirts, track jackets, and jeans. However, getting out into the world of inspired and determined women was the perfect anecdote to the sickness-laden day I had just experienced.
I’ve come to the realization that I am truly oscillating these days. As a stay-at-home mom, I am managing children and their activities, our budget and grocery lists, and the family extracurricular activities. As a work-at-home mom, I am trying to build a successful freelance business that could be a dependable source of income when the kids are elementary-school aged. Though I feel like life has gotten much easier than the years of pregnancy and infants, I am still with at least one child at all times during the day, and I feel pressure to make sure I provide the kids with an interactive, stimulating, and nurturing life.
Related to this, the biggest nugget I have been contemplating this January has to do with where my interests fit into the whole scheme. I purposefully (though with trepidation) left my corporate-focused career behind in May 2013. In the last twenty months, I have basked in my role as mother in a way I was unable to do while I worked full time. I get my hands dirty, wash a lot of dishes, and devise weeks filled with activities, play dates, games, and puzzles. At the moment, I adore my primary gig. However, I know that the days are long and that the years are short. In just a mere eight months, the kids’ schedules will be a little more synchronized, and I’ll have some time to myself (which I’ll probably spend writing and editing without my husband providing child care). In order for me to avoid complete self-erosion until then though, I have to carve out a little time to focus on me.
So how do I do this? I vow to commit more time to embracing my interests, goals, and dreams this year. I want to have more fun and worry less about what I am not doing. In December, I would like to exit 2015 feeling confident that my kids are still my biggest priority but that they are not the only one. How will I get there? I’m not sure, but I am determined to make this year count.