I imagine working moms get this question a lot: “How do you do it all?” I never really know what to say. Sometimes I think it’s easy, sometimes I like to think I have a tremendous amount of help (for which I feel constant guilt about!), sometimes I think I pretty much just kick ass. That’s how I do it all.
The reality though? Something’s gotta give. Something’s always gotta give. And sometimes, when I churn out that bad-ass design in less than 2 hours, it’s only because I had my 7 year old entertain my 3 and 1 year olds with tv and games and silly faces and dance parties and goldfish and mega blocks.
Last night I had become fixated on the order I told a customer I would rush out to her – for free. Dad went grocery shopping for me. I had just put the baby down to bed. I was exhausted. I don’t know if it was the uppers (Lexapro) or the downers (Concerta) I take but I was having a hard time prying myself away from my work while simultaneously keeping my eyes open. So the kids’ playing intermingled with their fighting was like nails on a chalkboard. I yelled at them a few times to stop fighting. and for Ellie to stop yelling. and for Cole to stop making her yell. But they kept at it. Because they’re kids. And like all siblings, they have a love-hate relationship.
At one point I just lost my cool and sent them both to bed. Early. Really early. And it worked. They went to bed and didn’t even get out of bed after dad got home. I haven’t been able to put Ellie to bed before 11 pm in… I can’t even remember the last time. She’s pretty consistent about going to bed with me. No matter how late it is. That’s just the way it is around here.
I sat to watch tv and was amazed that she was still in bed. I commented that to my husband and he said “That’s why Ellie’s eyes and nose we’re all red and puffy!?”
Right there my heart broke into a million little pieces.
Because I know the things that are sacred to my children. And Ellie is at that age where she’s loud, and tantrum-y and I know what she needs to be brought down from her anger and frustration. And sending her to bed, on her own, without some downtime with Mommy is certainly not the way. Without even intending it to be, it was the mother of all punishments. And normally she would have thrown a fit had I sent her away. But the whole entire time I thought she was asleep because I didn’t hear a peep. And instead, my sweet little girl had learned how to quietly cry herself to sleep.
…and that right there folks, is how I do it : I miss out on life. The very life I work so hard to build, and maintain and preserve.