Today is my last day of vacation. Boohoo! I have had 4 glorious days off this week to spend time with my little ones and get caught up on things around the house. I was looking forward to unstickifying our house and getting caught up on laundry. (I’m a dreamer, I know!) I had big plans for this week. In addition to hanging with two my favourite little people, I was planning to cook up a storm and freeze a whole bunch of homemade, delicious meals for easy dinners when I go back to work, buy a bushel of apples to make homemade applesauce for my little applesauce addicts, organize our office that has been repurposed as a storage room for the better part of 6 months, organize our closets, put away clothes the kiddos have outgrown, rake all of our leaves, get our Christmas stuff out and if time permitted, repaint our baseboards that have received quite a few scrapes and bumps from all kinds of collisions with riding toys. (Two and a half years into this whole motherhood thing and I am still completely delusional when it comes to expectations for things that can be accomplished in a day with my dynamic duo in tow.) It is safe to say (with 3 hours left of vacation) that I did not accomplish a single one of these tasks. Unless you count picking up a tray of pizza from the bakery as a “homemade, delicious meal” and wiping up spills with baby wipes as cleaning the house.
Adding two toddlers to any situation is unpredictable, exciting and exhausting. They are two tiny, wild cards. 18 month old Mr. C is teething and a little more needy than usual and 2.5 year old Miss M is dealing with some separation anxiety these days so she basically lives in my shadow. Prior to taking these days off, I have been working a lot. Early mornings, late nights, weekends and very few days off. It has taken its toll on my little ones. And me. Miss M will not go to sleep without me and very rarely sleeps in her own bed. I read to her in her bed and just as I begin to think about getting up to leave her to sleep, she jumps on me and wraps her arms and legs around my body like a koala bear and screams “No Mommy! Mommy! Swuggle! Swuggle!” Swuggle is her word for snuggle which to her, means cuddling up in my arms in my bed as I comb my fingers through her hair until she falls asleep. It doesn’t get much cuter than that! Every night as we try to bring her to bed, she screams “Swuggle! Swuggle please!” I had feared that this separation anxiety was caused by me working so much and not being around as much as usual. I hoped it was just age-related and coincidental but 2 weeks ago, I had the privilege of spending the entire day with Miss M, one-on-one. I had to work for a bit on a Saturday and there was no way she was going to let me leave without throwing a fit so I brought her to work with me, took her out for lunch then came home to join our boys for dinner and a movie. We literally spent every second of the day together. That night, she went to bed in her own bed without any fight or trouble. I cried. While I was so happy that she was in a good place emotionally after our awesome “girls’ day,” I felt awful knowing that my absence had been hurting her. I knew I was responsible for her separation anxiety. Suffering from anxiety myself, I feel so guilty for causing my little one to feel that way. It’s so hard at this age. I can’t explain to them that I have to work early or work late. To them, sometimes when they wake up, I’m not there and sometimes I don’t pick them up at the end of the day and they don’t see me before bed and they have no idea why. It’s hard. Really hard.
I am trying my very best to balance everything out but it is not easy at all. Finding a balance between career and home is extremely difficult… especially when work is an hour away from home. The commuting time kills me. Every day when I sit in traffic, I think of how I could be spending this time with my kids. I miss them all the time but also know that working hard at my career is necessary in order to provide a great future for them. I have been under a lot of pressure at work lately and have been extremely overwhelmed, stressed out and anxious. I do what I can to get through the day but often feel worn out before I even come home. It can be a bit tough to snap back into “mommy mode.” I would be lying if I said I didn’t think my kids picked up on my stress, which then stresses me out even more knowing that I am unintentionally transferring it to them. I ended up at the E.R. last week when I woke up with severe chest pains in the middle of the night and thought it was my heart. It turned out to be a panic attack. A scary one. My anxiety had gotten the best of me. Not good. I am glad it happened though because it was an eye-opening experience for me. I have been on a downward spiral for months as I’ve struggled to manage work, marriage and motherhood. I have done very little for myself and have basically woken up each morning trying to decide who I am going to disappoint today. Will I disappoint work because I’m exhausted and overwhelmed and missing my kids? Will I disappoint my kids because I’m dropping them off at daycare when they are crying to spend time with me and I am exhausted and not giving them my best? I’ve been anticipating the “crash” happening and it did. I am glad it did because it put things into perspective for me. No offense to work but my family comes first. The pressures that I have been under lately have been unmanageable to me and the worst part is that 99% of the time, I am applying the pressure to myself and being my own worst boss and worst critic. It was time for change.
Taking this week off was just what the doctor ordered. Even though I haven’t ticked a single item off of my to-do list and have barely managed to bathe, it has been awesome to just be home and play on the floor with my kiddos, make them laugh until they get the hiccups, run and jump in leaves, build towers out of blocks and swuggle. It’s safe to say that it has also been crazy and overwhelming too. Especially since I did have a pretty big to-do list that I was hoping to tackle. Living in chaos is difficult. When you find yourself counting down the days until you are off and can finally tackle that closet and organize this cupboard and get caught up on this and this and that only to find yourself at the end of your vacation with your house in worse shape than when you started simply because the kids have been home instead of at daycare, life can seem a bit daunting. At the end of my first day of vacation, when I found myself absolutely exhausted after a full day of cleaning and playing and yet my house was literally trashed, I was feeling a bit defeated (to say the least.). It took a while for me to realize that it didn’t matter. None of it matters. My kids are growing so quickly.
In 10 years, I will remember the races across the living room on our hands and knees, the endless giggles, pulling them on blanket rides across the floor, baking and decorating cupcakes for no reason at all, reading story after story after story with the two of them cuddled up on my lap. I won’t remember the fingerprints on the windows, the yogurt smears on the kitchen floor, the lasagna that was frozen from the grocery store instead of homemade, the crayon on the walls…and if I do, it will only be because I miss it all.
Life is short but sweet for certain. Kids are only little for so long. Today is my last day of vacation. I could be binge-cooking healthy meals, scrubbing floors (again) and organizing closets but I’m not. If you come to my door today, please excuse the mess. Excuse the floor that looks like it hasn’t been washed in months even though it was washed this morning. Excuse the pile of laundry on the couch waiting to be folded. Excuse the mountain of dishes in the sink. Excuse the fingerprints on the fridge, door, windows and walls. Excuse the shoes that are all over the place. Excuse the jewellery all over my bedroom floor after my jewellery box was emptied by my 18 month old son this morning. Excuse the disassembled potty in the bathroom and the sippy cup sitting on top of it. Please excuse it all because none of it matters. Instead, look at my happy and healthy kids. They have had an incredible day! And although I might look like I haven’t slept in a week and haven’t bathed for longer, I’ve had a pretty damn good day too! If you’re looking for us, you can find us in the blanket tent in the living room, jumping in the pile of leaves in the backyard or eating cupcakes for no reason at all because TODAY is worth celebrating. The rest of it can wait.
andbabymakes3imean4 is one mom’s adventures while tap dancing on the brink of insanity with 2 babies, 11 months apart. I would be forever grateful if you would subscribe to my blog or like my page on facebook. Thanks so much for reading! xo