"I know what you mean," was my reply. And I feel like I really do. I'm an extrovert who stays (mostly) at home with my almost 8-month-old son. I really believe in the choice I've made, consider it a blessing, and know that it's what I'm called to do at this point in my life. But it's hard!
As we continued to chat, we ended up deciding that although being at home with little ones is not anywhere near boring, it really takes a lot of balance. She was wondering what I was doing to find that balance. At the time, I was confidently able to rattle off quite a few things that I do in search of it:
I'm someone who needs to be doing things with my brain. I read dozens of journal articles and blog posts and editorials from all over the internet. I'm always in the middle of a few books and will frequently listen to podcasts as well. I also write in this blog, though more seldom than I wish.
I also need interaction with people: I have more energy and am a happier person after a coffee date with a friend, meeting with coworkers, or a weekend at home with family. So I still have a very part-time job where I get to facilitate a class on the college level and coordinate the logistics for said class. I'm the chair of the young adult ministry for our parish. There's a group of 8 or so lovely women and their babies, all less than 2 years old, who I get together with each week for lunch and conversation. I attend bi-weekly breastfeeding support group. And then there's the daily chat with my mom on the phone.
And that's how I stay perfectly balanced.
Not. I'm totally still on the journey to finding balance and since having this conversation my lack thereof has become glaringly obvious. I get pretty antsy by he middle of day, especially if it happens to also be the middle of the week. Even if I had a coffee date that morning. If I haven't left the house all day, my husband is greeted by somewhat of a cold shoulder, because I almost feel like I'm out of practice having conversations when I haven't had one yet.
Lately I'm left wondering: I'm able to do exactly what I wanted and be my son's main caregiver--why aren't I over the moon with gratitude and feeling really refreshed everyday in this job?
Oh, right. Because it's still hard. And while many days I do feel like I'm in a really good place, some days are just harder than others. Putting his needs before my own means I have to die to myself a little bit. I have to plan my days around his nap times and eating times. Sitting down and writing or reading often needs to wait until he's content playing on the floor or sleeping, and often it's interrupted. The busy-body in me really misses days of hustle-and-bustle until I drop but babies just don't hustle.
Although I don't when (or if) I'll ever feel like I really have this mom thing all balanced out, I do know that God is using this role as momma to make me a better person. To draw me closer to Him, because you'd better believe it takes quite a few Hail Marys to garner up the patience needed to stay awake with a fussy baby at 3:30 in the morning. I'm being shown what virtues I'm lacking through this form of suffering. And each day, if I accept the grace God constantly extends, he reveals to me the beauty of motherhood. It's all truly a balancing act.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a baby boy who would like to be held.