Crumbs

Right now, I am a few days into a week of not having Match home. He’s away for work. 

The kids don’t miss him yet. But we’ve been busy with summer fun. I actually miss him. A lot. I just feel like I am in a funk. Match usually can lift it. 

Here’s the thing: Each day I wake up. (A blessing in itself.) Make coffee. Watch news or social media surf. Get kids up if they aren’t already. We have haphazard breakfast. Clean house. Repeat for lunch and dinner. Chauffeur kids places in between. Struggle with bedtime. Fall asleep laying with one of the kids. 

I haven’t had a job I loved in a long time. Stay at home mother-ing is a labor of love… but it is a far cry from something that fulfills me as an individual. How can you keep pouring yourself into this role without ever having time to invest in your own self?  My escapes are social media, a half cup of coffee and sitting in my car with sleeping kids until the next adventure must begin. Crumbs. And I can live off crumbs for a long time.

It is almost 14 months in and I’m ready. I love this life. But I am going a little crazy. A yoga class? A fucking hour walk around the lake? A part time job? A tattoo? Brunch with my friends? A date with Match? To watch a movie in full in a single sitting? To sit on the beach and read in the sun? Time to write? To volunteer somewhere? I think I am at the point where I don’t know what it is I need… but I know I need something. I feel like the most important part of me– being a mom– is all that there is to me. And that’s not enough. We are all layers of many things… daughter, friend, cousin, awful poet, kickass karaoke singer… Yet, the only life I’m tending to is that as a mother. Homestly, that’s getting a little frayed. Worn thin. I need some time in my other skins to breathe. 

So I am trying to figure it where this chapter of my life leads to. I don’t think Match will ever be ready to make time for me to go back to work. Not the kids either. Which is a lovely compliment to our family and makes me feel like I’m a little better at this SAHM gig than I give myself credit for. But, I need a little more. Or something a little different. So I’m pondering…. 

Where do I find my income, my space, my interests and let them flourish a little while taking care of my family? I haven’t figured it out. I don’t know. Not yet.

But waiting for my family to be ready for it… well, I think they’ll never be ready until they have to be. So I’m going to make some leaps. We will be alright wherever so lead us to. 

I just have to a goal to work towards. What do you do when you have a whole life stretched before you? And the possibilities endless? And so many opportunities to fall on your face and try again calling your name? Do I try to write that book? Teach? Start something new? Pick a job for benefits and income? Help the family store for a break from the house and take a class to balance myself out? 

I don’t know. But I beginnings. You never know quite where they will end up leading you.

What should I do next with my one wild and precious life? 

Better Things

We made it. The first year of another little human in our life. Blended. Honestly, in terms of Match and I, this year was interesting. The addition of Bean weighed a lot on us as a couple. The chaos of the first year and adjusting to the change is fresh. The first twelve months of this new life, despite our best intentions, our commitment to each other and our feelings for one another– had each of us walking parallel, but different paths. Our common ground was uneven and our steps unsteady are we carried new burdens. We were filled with love of our children and each other, but overwhelmed with the logistics of making this life work. In front of us stretched a challenge.

Yet, here we are at the end of it. That first year of new lying behind us. For myself, there was a question of would we converge again on the same path. My patience and tolerance for relationship stress was honestly all used up by Ex. I don’t have that much to spare for Match. I just don’t have that much for any man. The past 300 days or so we have walked side by side holding hands with a whole lot of shit, but not each other. The first year of adjustment has included:

  • financial burdens of one income
  • home ownership responsibilities
  • parental responsibilities
  • the times parenting with Exes goes south
  • lack of free time
  • not enough sleep
  • seriously annoying baby brain
  • baby, threenager, and pre-tween shit everywhere in a small space
  • cock-block-a-thon that comes with having so many young children
  • the salt and pepper look we both are developing
  • the reality being different than the expectation of how division of responsibilities will go.

All of these are just facts of life that we share with many other couples in the world. Yet, while we are deep inside, it feels like a lot of things to juggle. There was that panic of being stuck. As our stress levels went up, our communication went down. We would talk to each other, but often we were too tired to enact change or too distracted to listen. As such, much of this year we felt mostly unheard, over burdened and alone more than together. Well, at least I felt that way. Match has that whole still water runs deep thing. He feels, but doesn’t like to expound on it all. Then there is me. The emotional blogger who feels the need to come here and sort out my truths. So, this year was peppered with days I had to question if our life was going to work. Are we meant to keep going down this road? This first year with a new person had the overload where there was too much stuff and not enough us.

Which could sound dramatic, but really was more natural and understated. This family had growing pains and is inundated with the stress of life with small children. Match and I are each ever changing, life experiencing people. As such we either fit into each other’s life or we simply don’t. As each month passed by we tried to figure us out this new dynamic. The way Match and I were going to work with these new pages of our life. I already knew things become different the first year of having a baby. When things are different, I am of the mindset, they should be sat with for a while. I knew I had to give this the forgiveness of time.

Bean shifted our dynamic. Match became the stereotypical breadwinner and myself the homemaker. Roles I’m not sure either of us really wanted for ourselves. Although, I have an inkling Match liked the set up a little more than I ever have. Honestly, I think that from the beginning we were both unsatisfied and under pressure to fill these new roles. We just thought we could grow into the molds. We had the family we wanted. And having that meant we sacrificed pieces of our own selves for the short-term. We were stretched out thin and unsure of how to help each other. Each of us were drowning in our own weight of this life. Waiting for air. Expecting the other to help us. We needed some time to get our bearings.  To hear each other over the deafening sound of our heartbeats in our ears. To see if we would build the right muscles to carry this new life.

About ten months into this thing, when I could feel the grace of the first year fading and we still were struggling with this division of labor in our home, I laid out my needs. I laid them out clearly and barely. And I let Match lay out his needs as well. Three months later, we are still working on it, but we can breathe. Those small bricks of resentment we built are semi-demolished. We are still figuring out this crazy, busy, loud life we have. But it is better. We are better.

This year was good for us. We needed a challenge. We needed to fall apart. We needed to see what shook out when things got harder to manage. We ended up in a better place. Which is a blessing because sometimes it doesn’t end up that way. A little over a year and we are still here. Building whatever this constantly changing life will be.

 

Leguminosae

 

Bean made her first rotation around the sun. It was the longest, but also cumulatively the fastest 365 days. I have that whole blink-and-you-miss-it feeling. She no longer sleeps most of her day away, no longer can be held gently in one arm, nor does she make the soft newborn baby coos and cries. If I place my nose to the top of her soft head and breathe in deep after a bath, I still can get a whiff of that magical baby scent. But, each day moves us on from my agenda of permanent heart-filled, intoxicating infant-hood to Bean’s own plans in this world. Which is also lovely. She now, in an equally adorable way, calls “mama” and “dada.” She communicates. She real deal life-is-hilarious belly laughs. She takes no shit from her older sisters and, trust me, there is a fair amount of bullshit on her part looking like a walking doll. Bean is each day growing further from my arms and making her own place. It is as it should be. Yet, I would be remiss to not admit that as hard as the baby phase is for us as parents… it never lasts long enough. Babies are some white magic for our ever world-weary hearts.

I love you, Bean. Here’s to the next 365…