Before I had Elena I knew I could not keep doing everything I was doing, and take care of a baby. But some stubborn, let-me-try-part of me said, “No, I can do it.”
And I’ve been trying for the past few months, but lately I’ve had to admit, I can’t. I can’t love and take care of our daughter and keep working. I can’t go to the market and disinfect vegetables and freeze fruit for smoothies and spend time with my sweet husband and take care of myself. We have tried juggling our schedules. We’ve agreed on the, “I’ll do nights, you do mornings” trade off. But it hasn’t been working. I’ve tried keeping up with emails with one hand via my iphone while nursing with the other. I’ve brought Elena along to meetings and bounced her in the ergo while trying to talk to our site leaders. We’ve had more take out dinners than I’d like to admit. And I know I can’t keep staying up late trying to finish everything that I didn’t get done during the day. It’s a bad cycle to get into. My body has been battling being sick and my mind has been fighting the false mantra that says, “I can do it all.”
It’s the probably one of the most dangerous lies to believe, huh?
So often I imagine God, lovingly looking at me, shaking his head…who told you you had to do it all?
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So, without wanting to get into the whole working outside-the-home vs stay-at-home mom debate, the truth is I think both involve a certain amount of sacrifice. Moms who choose to or out of necessity need to work outside the home, sacrifice time with their kids. The day-to-day, mundane, yet absolutely precious moments of child raising are often missed out on. Stay at home moms may inherit time and with it the fullness of being around for each and every moment, but there is a weariness in having your day be defined by your child’s nap schedule and not speaking a sentence with more than 3-syllables.
But this mother’s heart is having a hard time with both. I want to keep working, and I want to be home with Elena. I want both/and, not either/or.
I left my teaching position for the next year, because there is not much about teaching that is flexible. And even though my heart will always be in the classroom, I want to teach my daughter first during these precious early years. But I also work to coordinate all of our short-term teams and groups that come down to Guatemala. On a good day I plan and meet with our site leaders and get to remind eager college students and adults that serving is not just something you do one week out of the year. Missions isn’t a trip, it’s a lifestyle. I’d actually like to get rid of the whole phrase “mission trip,” but that’s for another post. On most average days I fill in excel spreadsheets and respond to lots of questions about “What is the weather like in June?” and “Can I wear sandals?” The truth is I like what I do and generally have a lot of flexibility, but having a newborn has changed all of that “flexibility.”
• • •
I remember reading a great post awhile ago by Laura over at the Hollywood Housewife, about how hiding help is like denying botax. I am not so much hiding help as realizing that I am having a hard time admitting that I need help. So we’re looking into hiring a nanny or a sitter. Not sure what to call it yet or how many hours or who it will be, but it’s a start. A start at admitting, that I in fact can’t do it all.
And I have so many mixed emotions about it. Both about hiring help and being honest with the fact that I need it.
But isn’t that how motherhood is, a wonderful existence of mixed emotions about, umm… everything?
• • •
So, other Moms…how do you do it? Do you do childcare exchanges? Hire help? Have family watch the kiddos? Any one out there been a nanny or a baby sitter for a family? What was your experience?