I’ve been feeling underneath it all lately. Can you tell? I feel like I can’t catch up or keep up, and every day there’s something (usually a big something) that just has to be left behind. Part of me thinks it’s a passing phase because Baby #2 is just cleaning me out in terms of energy, motivation, and general well-being. But another part of me thinks that maybe this is just the status quo. That if you’re a mom and a wife and a business owner or have a job, you’re just always going to feel… behind.
I love Henry. And I love being his mom. And I love that we have another little one on the way to make us into a party of four. And on the days when I’m with Hank, just being a mom — reading a thousand books out loud, playing with trains and cars, drawing outside with sidewalk chalk for hours — on those days, I know I’m giving him my best. He’s practicing new skills and words and we’re broadening our bond and he’s learning creativity and absorbing the world, and I’m the one that’s lucky enough to give him those things. But also on those days, I’m not at my desk. And the rest of the world is passing me by. And at the end of the day I see what everyone else has accomplished (book deals! product lines! shop openings!), and I almost feel like there’s no point in trying to keep up. So at the end of that day, I’ve been a great mom and a lousy business owner.
So the next day, Henry’s at babysitting. Or with Ryan, or wherever. And I sit at my desk and work fast and furious (because obviously you only ever have a few hours at once when you’re a parent) and maybe make a little headway. Maybe I write a great blog post. Or maybe I sign a really exciting contract. Or maybe we plan a business trip for a great opportunity. And I start feeling a little like a boss again, for those few hours. And always, always, the time is done too soon and not soon enough because there’s usually about half of my to-do list left undone, and I’m simultaneously dying to go get Henry from the sitter. At the sitter, he’s happy and babbling and covered in crayons or chalk or yogurt and I wish I could get those hours back and see everything he was up to. So at the end of that day, I’ve been a busy bosslady and an absent mom.
And somewhere in there, there’s Ryan. Oh yeah, my husband! There are meals to cook together and a yard to maintain and dates to go on and decisions to make and let’s toss in a home renovation just for fun, shall we? I’m embarrassed to say that in this season of our lives, we usually short each other in favor of keeping up with kids and work. Maybe that’s the way it just has to be sometimes? I mean, yeah, we meet at night on the couch for Game of Thrones but that does not a romantic evening make (hello, beheadings much?). Then it’s g’night and up again the next day to try to do a little better.
I admit it — I see my colleagues without kids who are just killing it in business land and a whole mess of different feelings wash over me. Jealousy, at all the time and energy they have, wistfulness, for the days when it was just us and our schedules could be anything we wanted them to be, curiosity, at what their lives will look like if they decide to have children. I look at Snapchat and I marvel at how people can even remember to pull out their phones and snap a photo of their meals, let alone how they have time to create a whole story throughout their days. (Although the pregnancy nausea is still making it tough to look at my phone so maybe I’m at a base level disadvantage there… 😉 )
So there I am, spending energy pondering everyone else’s life when my sweet kid toddles into the room with a huge grin, says, “MOMMIE!” (actually Mommie for the first time instead of Mama ) and throws me a ball. And then begs me to pull him onto my lap and let him stick his little boy fingers in my ears, his other new trick. And in that moment I realize that it’s everyone else who’s missing out. Because you haven’t lived until you’ve had a toddler who adores you stick his fingers in your ears to try to make you laugh.
The moral of the story? I’m a firm believer that you cannot do it all. (And if are a magical unicorn who has, in fact, found a way to do it all, I salute you and please take me to coffee and explain in detail.) So to the best of my ability, I hereby retract my expectation of myself to be able to do it all every day — be a bosslady, supermom, megawife, and always have my nails painted perfectly. I just don’t know that it exists, you guys. I think a more reasonable goal for me would to be 100% present in whatever I’m doing, whether it’s being with my son or my husband or at work. And maybe one day, when the kids are in school or wherever, this will all change. But for now, I’m getting better at being okay with it. xoxo