I set a goal to take a self portrait every day for the month of February. Yes, it was nice that February was the shortest month because getting set-up to take self portraits is a lot of work (and I did miss a few days)! I knew that not every image would have the strongest composition or the best lighting, but together they would tell our story.
Going from working outside the home full time, to part time, to leaving my corporate job completely has been an adjustment. I told my husband that even though it was what I wanted, I'd still complain to him all the time about how hard it is being at home. Many days seem to drag on and blur together, especially during the winter. I lose track of the day of the week and the last time I showered.
Some days I feel as though I can get nothing accomplished. The house is messier than when the day started. It's a game to see if I can load the dishwasher faster than Theo can empty it. More dirty laundry gets created than gets washed. Quite often Theo eats his leftover breakfast still on his tray when I sit him down for lunch. But every day I love these tiny humans of mine. I do my best to teach them new things and influence the type of people they grow up to be. So it might not be a clear accomplishment I can check off of a to-do list, but I know as they grow up they will continue to make me a proud mother and they will be my greatest accomplishment.
I can't shower with out little man pulling back the curtain crying (and getting soaked). Going to the bathroom alone is now considered a luxury. Cooking dinner while holding a squirmy baby is no easy task and I don't know how Theo hasn't gotten burnt yet. It is really hard to put heart into reciting Frozen lines when it's the 10th time in a row we are acting it out. But how awesome is it to be loved that much by my kids that they don't want me out of their site? And it is the best feeling when Mackenzie tells me I'm her best friend. I know the time will come when they won't want to be around me all day everyday. So for now, I'll work on savoring it.
I frequently lose my patience. I lash out and am not proud of it. But my kids forgive me even without being asked. Just as I'm about to hit my breaking point, Theo will smile at me. Or Mackenzie will tell me it's ok and that she's here to help me. They seem to know exactly what I need exactly when I need it. As much as I am trying to teach them they keep finding ways to teach me. When my husband watches the kids so I can have much needed "me" time it doesn't take long until I'm wishing I was back with them.
Motherhood is the hardest and most important job. No one provides you with an annual review telling you where your strengths are or where you need to focus on improving. There's no bonus tied to a job well done. I don't think it's possible to completely "figure it out." I have to trust my maternal instincts and believe that "mama knows best." It's a constantly asking myself what's best for my family, what's best for my kids, what is best for me. And the answers change. Finding balance is a never ending struggle.
I am grateful for a strong group of mom friends that provide me with reassurance that what I am going through is similar to the ups and downs they experience too. I'm also grateful to have this creative outlet to use to tell our story and to be able to look back and remember this season of life. Wiping snot and cleaning up spilt milk is far from glamorous work. Most days I don't know if I'm laughing or crying - it's usually a mixture of both. But I wouldn't have it any other way.
To all the mamas reading, your every day is perfectly imperfect. And your chaos is beautiful in its own special way.
And I promise this will be the wordiest blog post I ever write :)