I've been back at work now for five weeks. While I was on maternity leave I never forgot for a single moment just how tough the whole balancing act is-- getting a break from it was so nice. But now, for better or for worse, I'm right back in the thick of it.
- I've been a Mother-With-A-Career for four years now and I still feel like I'm just barely getting by with this whole work-family balancing act. Balancing act?! I don't personally know anyone who is actually *balancing* it. And that (lack of models of it) is a big problem in and of itself. I have no clue how to do this well. And so it goes.
- I will say, though, that the past five weeks have been the best yet of the past four. And there is one reason why. One word: MARGIE. Oh. My. God. It is sooooo goooooood. Granted, we're surly still in some sort of honeymoon period -- and I have no illusions that it will last forever (flaws in the whole thing will surely be revealed down the road). But right now... Oh. My. God. She has single-handedly changed my life for the much, much better. In fact, I am sorta starting to think of it as life "Pre Margie" vs. life "With Margie." Dear Lord, please don't ever let her leave us. #1 all three kids are bonding with her so nicely and coming to love her so much, and vice versa. Meera has yet to cry when I leave her to go to work. And when Margie goes home at the end of the day Kyle and Owen hug and kiss her like they aren't going to see her ever again (even though she'll be back the next day). We do "high/low" at dinner each night (going around the table, every person has to say a 'high' and a 'low' of their day), and each day this week at least one of the boys have said that their 'high' was "When Margie was here" and their 'low' was "When Margie went home." #2 she holds the homestead together while we're away each day. And she holds it together much, much better than when/if we are actually home without her (i.e., the weekends)! We come home after work to a clean, happy, centered household. She has taken over our life. In a good way. And she runs the house like a finely tuned, well oiled, smoothly functioning machine (which is a lot more than I can say for my own house-running abilities). I cannot get over it. Seriously. Braydon and I both admitted to each other last night that we feel like we're going to cry if we think about it too much. It is a deep deep deep sense of relief. #3 somehow, miraculously I believe, we're on the same wavelength. She 'gets' what we're tying to do, and she's right on board. My only concern is that it just continues to send up red flags because it feel too good to be true. #4 Yet again, that old lesson has been re-learned by me, like it has been over and over and over again. I shoulda listened to my mother. She told me years ago, before we even brought the boys home, that we needed a Nanny (with a capital "N"). She knew we needed a Margie and she has brought it up with me repeatedly over the years. Did I listen? No. Bad girl I am. I should have listened. And now I have listened, and of course, MY MOTHER WAS RIGHT. #5 Still, though... I am glad to have had four years "Pre Margie" because it helps me to appreciate this now, and it helps me to know what other kinds of arrangements actually feel like. There are pro's and con's to them all. And I'm glad to know, first-hand, the in's and out's of some of them. Plus, wonderful people like Alex would not have been in the boys' life had we done the full blown Nanny route years ago.
- By far the hardest part of the whole equation continues to be getting dinner on the table at the end of the day. When I get home after work K & O are happy to see me. But M is thrilled to see me. She jumps, squeals, laughs, claps, smiles-smiles-smiles, rubs her face all over mine, and squeezes me tight. She wants to be held by me. And only me. Braydon will not do. She'll cry if I give her to him. She wants to be held by me. Understandably. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love it. There's nothing better in the world than coming home to that. And I want to hold her. But it is very hard to hold her and make dinner -- especially since dinner needs to be on the table in 30 minutes or less from the time I walk in the door. Getting dinner made, at all, is a major feat. But getting dinner made, while trying to hold a bouncing baby girl (literally, bouncing in delight), is nearly impossible. Somehow we're eating, but it is crazy-hard. That is the hardest part. And yet, I wouldn't change it for the world either... because there is nothing like coming home to that baby girl jumping to get into my arms. Thank heaven for this little girl.
- This morning, while we were all getting ready for work/school, I found Kyle sucking his thumb and staring out the window. I got down on my knees next to him and whispered, "What are you thinking Ky Ky?" He looked at me, and said, with his thumb still partially in his mouth, "I don't like Margie days." Trying to appear calm and relaxed (while my heart started to BLEED), I said, "Why not?" He said, "Because I just like Mommy days." O.k. then. 1,000 daggers through the heart would be preferable. Just go ahead and rip my heart right out of my chest. Heaven help me.
- Valentines Day. O.k., that is a whole other holiday when you've got young kids in school. It takes the romance right out of it, that's for sure. At least for a working mom. Let me tell you. This week, on top of everything else, I needed to somehow accomplish the whole V-Day thing. Which includes making valentines for all their classmates. Given that they are in separate classrooms, and teachers need valentines too, we're talking 34 valentines right there. Plus a few to put in the mail to their non-school friends (who they expressed a sincere need to send valentines to this year). And yes, we choose to send them to a Waldorf school. Yes, that is our choice. Yes. But... it means handmade valentines. Nothing less will do. So it goes. And then there's the note sent home on Monday: "Please remember that on Friday we'll be having our party, and each child should bring a treat to share." Again, yes, Waldorf is our choice. So, I shouldn't complain about the work involved. And I try not to. But that translates to: Mama Baking Goodies From Scratch. Store-bought cookies are not an option. Per Kyle's request (read: begging and pleading), I agreed to make muffins. So, I just took 4 dozen mini muffins out of the oven. Blueberry Muffins for Kyle's class. Chocolate Chip Muffins for Owen's class. From scratch made from ingredients even a Waldorf school will appreciate. Most importantly, though, K & O will appreciate it. Much more than most 4 year olds would. It is so worth it. And so... call me crazy... but, I do it. I will admit, though, that at the end of a long work day... it is just a lot.
- At the end of the day, I'm happy. And I'm also exhausted. EXHAUSTED.