While all of the true, hardcore writers and WordPress bloggers were busy last month reaching their goal of writing at least 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo 2013, I was busy avoiding writing. I don’t really have a great explanation or excuse for neglecting this little blog and for failing to take time to write. November was a strange month full of highs and lows, and it has taken me much longer than what I expected to process everything that has happened. With two energetic children to love and take care of, I simply don’t always have the mental stamina and physical energy to do anything beyond what is absolutely required of me. And you know what, I am finally comfortable with accepting this. Instead of reaching the breaking point because I just can’t learn to say no, I am finally putting my foot down and saying no. One important lesson I have learned about motherhood is that it is necessary to take care of yourself, too. And sometimes taking care of yourself means ignoring your “to-do” list.
So instead of writing and painting my desk (FYI: I did finish painting my kitchen) after the kiddos went to bed each evening, I went on a Netflix binge and watched the first season of American Horror Story, I got caught up on Parks and Rec, and I started watching Scandal. I have rocked some sweet Pinterest fails since I am such an awesome half-assed domestic goddess. And I have also been binging on Christmas cookies, and wine of course, and Summit’s Saga IPA. But I am starting to feel ready to kick things up a notch again. I can’t binge on Netflix, Pinterest and alcohol forever. I must accept reality and stop wasting my precious time in the evening when the kiddos are in bed. I have important things to do. I still have to figure out what the hell I am going to do when I grow up and have to go back to working full-time.
Enough of the past and future, though. Today I am going to focus on the present. And because I kind of suck at writing poetry, I am also going to quote another song at the end of this post to tie all of this chaos in mind together for you.
There are some songs that no matter how many times I hear them, I can’t ever hear them enough. These songs never get old or annoying because the music and words capture what I am feeling and thinking so perfectly. “Everlong” is one of these songs. Although I have been in love with this song since high school, it wasn’t until recently that Dave Grohl’s lyrics truly pierced my soul. After taking in a deep breath one day, I realized that I am happy. This may sound silly, but for the first time in my life, despite all of the other crazy things that have been going on, I truly feel like my life is exactly how it should be. It’s not how I pictured it would be on the day that I had graduated from college or even on the day that I got married. I never thought I would have two kids in my twenties. I never expected to work less than 40 hours a week after busting my ass off in high school and college to earn good grades while also working up to three jobs at the same time to pay for my own college expenses and other bills. But here I am. I work outside of the home for eight hours a week. The rest of the time I am busting my ass off at home free of charge. I left a career to be home with my 2-year-old daughter and four-year-old son. It was one of the scariest decisions of my life, but that decision has given me the greatest joy I have ever experienced. I never expected to be here, but now that I am here, life feels good in the truest way. And now I know why I fell in love with “Everlong” all of those years ago.
All my life I have been trying to make things perfect. I am a perfectionist. Being a perfectionist certainly has its benefits, but it also has its drawbacks. Because I am a perfectionist, nothing I do is ever perfect. I am always wanting to do something better. I tend to focus on what I do wrong rather than what I do well. I have high expectations, and because these expectations are usually unrealistic, I am frequently disappointed. My mother and husband often tell me that I need to focus on the positive rather than the negative, but I am a perfectionist. I just see that there is always room for improvement. However, for the first time in my life, I don’t feel like anything needs to be improved. Sure, I know that I am capable of doing more than what I am doing now in terms of my career, but I am happy to be right where I am right now. And yes, life is not perfect; it can’t be perfect. Good, bad, surprising, unexpected and tragic things happen every day. I can never be perfect; I am human. But, I am finally learning to see the beauty in my imperfections; it is what makes me human. Even though my life is not like anything how I pictured it to be years ago, it is better than what I had ever hoped for it to be. And even though I am not the woman I thought I would be at this point in my life, I am proud of myself for following my heart, even though it meant taking my life in a different direction than what I had planned.
I want to continue to breathe in these days as long as possible because these days with my kids are so good. These days are challenging and exhausting, but they are challenging and exhausting in the best possible way. I want to continue to breathe in these days as long as possible because I finally feel proud of what I am doing with my life even though I know I will never master the art of parenting. I want to continue to breathe in these days because these days make me feel so alive. I want to continue to breathe in these days as long as possible because I know that these days will change.
Finally, to quote Foo Fighters, I do wonder “if everything could ever feel this real forever; if anything could ever be this good again?”
I will not be a stay-at-home mom forever. My kids are growing up fast, too fast. When I think about how fast my kids are growing up, I can’t help but feel sad. They will need me less. They will want to be with others more. And after giving them so much love and so much of my energy, I fear that I will feel empty when I am no longer the center of their world. When life feels so good, it’s hard to imagine that it could get even better.
Perhaps it can and will, though. This is just the beginning. We have so much growing to do as a family, and I am going to continue to breathe in these days as long as I can because these days are so good.