At the end of the day when I see dirty dishes in the sink and toys all over the floor, and a messy bedroom and laundry piling up that needs to be attended to, and a ring around the toilet....that's when I tend to want to fall apart and feel like I'm failing at this whole working mom thing.
Last night was such a night. I didn't wash a single dish. I didn't do any laundry. I left the toys strewn about the living room (because my son kind of refuses to get this whole picking up his stuff thing we've been trying to teach him). And Todd cooked his own food when he got home from work last night because I hadn't made a real dinner and he was left to fend for himself.
Juggling it all can be overwhelming. Working, cooking, cleaning, laundry, Tommy, playtime, reading, taking time for myself, getting exercise, date nights with Todd, making conversation, connection, maintaining friendships and having time for others, worship team, ministry....it feels like more to juggle when I type it all out like that.
I guess somewhere I decided that a successful working mom has her house clean, her and her family fed with well planned meals, and time left over to get the necessary work out in. And is of course the best wife ever on top of that. It's been hard to feel like I'm not dropping the ball these days. The transition from working two and a half days to four full days has been a little bit harder than I thought it would be I guess.
And it's really not the working thing I mind. I guess I just wish there were more hours in a day and more time to complete every task that I would hope to every single day. And I suppose I could stay on top of my chores on a daily basis. But that would mean no play-time with Tommy after work or unwinding and conversation with Todd. And those things are much too valuable to me than having some impeccable house. And sometimes, a woman just has to have time for herself. Even if it means reading or watching a TV show or having a cup of coffee in the quiet of the morning.
Last night, Tommy and I chased his ball around the living room and the kitchen. Chasing it back and forth and running and kicking it here and there. It was kind of like soccer, but kind of nothing like it at all. But you know, there was running. And a ball. We played for a while before it was time to settle down and do our bedtime routine. I loved hearing his laughter. He invites me to laugh and play with him and that seems to never get old.
Getting Tommy ready for bed is one of my favorite parts of every day. We sit down and read books. We always read four and almost always he chooses Goodnight Moon and Dr. Suess' ABC's as two of those four every single night. We sing our songs, which is so much fun now because he sings along with me and it's adorably precious. We say our prayers and thank Jesus for our fun day and for all the people that love us and ask Him to give us a good night's rest with sweet dreams. Then we brush his teeth, and it's off to bed. He likes to be tucked in now. The last thing I usually hear before closing his door is, "Hi! Mama, I loves you!"
At the end of the day though, my husband has food (even if I haven't prepared it) and time spent with me. Tommy feels enjoyed and loved and cared for. And I've taken a few moments for myself to just regather my thoughts and emotions so that I can get up in the morning and live it all again the next day.
So I guess it's not failing. It's not even getting by. My house and my housework might be suffering a little bit, but I'm not. And using the cleanliness of my home to gauge how "successful" I am at being a working mom is probably the wrong place to look.
And maybe trying to succeed at this isn't even the point. Maybe the point is to just be really living in it all and enjoying where I am at, and not beating myself up when it's evident that I can't do it all perfectly.