I've officially been in "My Galapagos" too long to still be on vacation. The islands have been blanketed in a tropical storm and this last month has been rough. I have completely changed the dynamic of my family by becoming a work-from-home-mom. I am fatigued from staying up ridiculously late researching and am often distracted with the plethora of ideas that are constantly developing. My house work is suffering (more than it normally is), my children have been lashing out (matching scratch marks on both of them from each other to prove it), my husband is squirming into his new role as the husband of a work-from-home-mom, even the dog is rebelling with a couple strategic "accidents" and two disruptive digs in the trash. The broken spacebar doesn't help.
No expression has ever rung more true in our home than, "If mama ain't happy, ain't no one happy." As much as I wish it weren't true sometimes, I am the emotional center of this family. Children are like little sponges, soaking up every infectious laugh, every disheartening moment of tension. And as some husbands do, mine has a very endearing (yet unrealistic) goal to bend over backwards every moment to make me "happy." When I am "happy," he is "happy." I am the barometer here. Everyone is always looking to me for my reaction as a gauge for how they will react. When I am directive and fulfilled, they thrive. When I am anxious or weary, they crumble. I need a better balance.
But how? There isn't enough time in the day. Please, don't send me your contradicting quotes. I've already heard them:
- “Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” ― H. Jackson Brown Jr.
- Instead of saying, "I don't have time," say, "it's not a priority."
I beg to differ. Being a parent, a spouse, an employee, a boss, a student, a human...life is much more fast-paced now than during any of those leader's times. The most recent example is Mother Teresa and, with all due respect, she never married or had children. She had plenty of time! Also, I'm not trying to get out of an engagement party or a baby shower with the excuse, "I have no time." I actually have too many priorities and not enough time to accomplish them with two small children who still need my help in almost every aspect of their daily lives- grooming, dressing, meal time, buckling seat belts, tying shoes, being polite, keeping their hands to themselves, keeping their voices down, not interrupting adults...basically everything except chewing, drinking and operating an iPhone. Those are user-friendly.
Admittedly, I didn't think how negatively my new career choice would affect my family. I am impulsive. I know that. I'm not blind, but I tend to make huge decisions in my life rather quickly. I see so many positives that I hope the few negatives will work themselves out. Call it what you will- idealistic, naïve, delusional- I call it hopeful. For instance, I thought this would be the perfect profession for me because I have an open heart. I am more willing to share intimate thoughts or embarrassing memories than some. It comes easy for me to relate to just about anyone, from any walk of life, at any age, from any city. I can always find something to talk about. And how convenient and wonderful is it that I am submersed in a world of relevant knowledge for my children? Either by writing, networking, or researching, I can provide the best reading material for their little minds! This job allows me to work from home, so we don't have to send the kids to daycare all day, every day, and my hours are flexible! Also, my husband loves to proofread for spelling and/or grammar mistakes. I can't tell you how many times we giggle about errors on facebook or in advertisements, and race to the dictionary to settle a debate about how words are spelled or pronounced. We will never agree on the word "coupon." Did you just read that as "koo-pon" or "cue-pon"? If you said "koo-pon," you're ok in my book.
Because of all those positives, I thought that any feelings of neglect or absence would dissipate quickly. I was wrong. It's a daily struggle. I barely had time or space to myself before I started researching for my books. So how am I supposed to fit in time to read and write in relative quiet with little distraction, but still get enough sleep to be a positive beacon for this family? I have no idea. For now, my children will continue to try and pull down the monitor while I'm reading, or click on the keys while I type, my husband will try and understand my new passion and continue to be supportive while I look around for things I can give up so I can fully dedicate myself, and life goes on. Space? Spacebar? Who needs 'em?