Monday, April 24, 2017

When You Don't Feel Good at Anything...

One of the most humbling experiences since being a mom is realizing I’m not perfect. Before having a child, an evening after work meant a long walk with my husband and our two fur babies typically with a stop at our local pub, dinner at home watching our favorite show, hitting up the gym, and ending with little work to get me ahead for the next day. 

Now, my evenings consist of mass chaos as I try to get a toddler + all of our stuff in the door, while also wading through 3 fur babies, getting everyone food and water, ushering fur babies to the backyard, and that’s only in the first 5 minutes. After dinner, bath, and storytime, it’s a miracle if I don’t fall asleep helping my daughter to sleep. The number of times I’ve woken up at 11:00 p.m. next to her is more than not. Stumbling to the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth is pretty much all I can do before falling back asleep because unlike pre-baby days I know I’ll be awake at 5:00 a.m. to start the whole shebang over again. (The totally magical, wonderfully life-changing shebang.) 

I am no longer rolling into work with it all together. Last Tuesday, I literally spent 30 minutes talking to my boss, our COO, and I truly have no idea what I said. All I remember is that it was not impressive. I used to describe myself as articulate and calm - now it’s a bit more frazzle dazzle. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still doing okay at all the things in my life but not perfect. I actually have typos (the horror!) and sometimes ramble when I’m supposed to be leading a meeting. The addition of a child was enough to make it so I’m not 100% at anything anymore. (By anything I mean my work, my marriage, my friendships, my hobbies, and forget the beach body.) Some days, I’m chill with that and others I’m distraught. 

For example, my husband, Quinn, and I used to never fight. In fact, it was so rare people would actually make the observation at how stable we were. Well just look at us now, he forgot to put my dairy-free, vegan cookies in my lunch the other day and you would have thought he kicked our cat. I was raging. It took an hour for me to calm down and realize one, who else has a husband that packs their lunch and two, I work at an office teeming with cookies - I will survive.

Just to highlight how much of my cool I’ve lost, here’s an email I wrote to Quinn the other day: 
“I'm sorry about how I reacted to traffic. I'm feeling like a failure left and right at work. I'm at the edge of my experience and that the only person that will prevent me from growing here is myself. There's a lot of pressure to deliver things that I just don't have the experience of doing.  
Missing a meeting to take Hen to school made me even more stressed. My company IS understanding, but I don't want special treatment based on where I live or the fact I'm a mom.
On top of those feelings of inadequacy, I feel my patience with Hen hasn't been at an all time high. I find myself needing more frequent breaks or alone time. Each "break" feels like a guilt-ridden battle between working out, writing, reading, sleeping, or just vegging. Anyways, I’m sorry I took that out on you.” 
On top of an epic freak-out over missing a meeting so that my husband could make a meeting, I apologized via email because I wasn’t sure the next time we would be in the same room without Hen. Let’s just say last week wasn’t my best. 

Quinn had one of his biggest events of the year taking him away for most of the week and all of the weekend. On top of the usual jazz I had a presentation for my company on Friday and a day leading coding (yes, coding!) workshops for a non-profit on Saturday. My presentation content was there, but the actual words coming out of my mouth - not so much. It was a bad start to the day and then when I picked my daughter up from daycare after a 10+ hour day (first one in, last one out) - she was clingy, oh so clingy. Guilt was already creeping in when I left her with my parents to volunteer on Saturday. She’s in capable hands but I couldn’t help but feel guilty that doing my job meant being away from her for most of the last week. 

That guilt eventually led to a bunch of tears. Neither my presentation nor my workshops were top-notch. Delivering less than my best felt terrible, humbling, but the most upsetting piece was the fact I spent so much time away from my daughter just to deliver mediocre work. 

And then came Sunday afternoon. My parents left in the morning, my husband was at work, and it was just me and Henley. My goal was to get us out the door to knock out a gazillion errands. But on the way to the car, she pulled my hand and dragged me to the park. So we didn’t accomplish most of our errands but we spent hours playing outside. We giggled, we talked, we sang, we made silly faces. It was perfect. Finally, yes finally, something in my world felt right. I spent so much time last week focusing on everything I was doing wrong - I forgot to focus on everything that was just right. My daughter may have spent more time with her teachers and grandparents last week - but she still loves me enough to hold my cheek with her chubby hand, look in my eyes, and say “Mama! I love you”, and then melt into a hug. 

I can’t be f’ing this motherhood thing up that much if I’m getting that response after what felt like an absentee week. So my goal for this week is to cut myself some slack and remember that it’s not possible to be perfect. In fact, I probably was never perfect before. 

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