I would like to wave the white flag. I completely surrender.
First, let me just get an overdue apology out of the way. A few years ago, before I was a parent, I had a friend who decided to be a stay-at-home mom. She often told me how hard it was. I listened and nodded my head while silently wondering what in the world could be so hard about staying home all day! I am sorry. I am so, so sorry.
I have now been on both sides of the fence—the full-time working-outside-the-home mom and the stay-at-home mom. And it’s true, what they say about the grass being greener. I am a now a mom of two kids under the age of 4, working part-time in the professional world. I am also a farm wife and a La Leche League Leader, running my own business as a health and fitness coach and group fitness instructor. And, it is HARD. Like, there is no current definition for the word that is adequate to describe this.
But, I know you all KNOW this already. And I am not here to debate which side of the fence is harder. What I want to voice is that I thought I could do it. I went into this gig knowing the struggles of a farm wife. I grew up on a farm and ranch in the desolate Sandhills of Nebraska. My mom raised five kids, ran a household, was my dad’s “hired help” (OK, she was the boss lady, but don’t tell Dad), and she made it look easy. Now here I am – drowning. Literally drowning, trying to meet the needs of my littles, my husband, our household, our garden and lawn, the dog, 15 guineas, and one cat and her five kittens. I. Am. Failing. Like, call the coast guard – the whole ship is going under. And I flipping HATE admitting failure!
I am up by 5 every single morning except Tuesdays. Because Tuesdays – Tuesdays I get to hear my alarm at 3:45 a.m. I am currently writing this at 11:00 p.m. (Yes, I know sleep needs to be a priority for health reasons. That’s another topic for another day, but not today!!) So I make use of the hours in the day, getting up earlier or staying up later is not an option.
I feel like my days are consumed with cooking, cleaning, and wiping noses and bottoms. I do take my 30 minutes each day to exercise because, well – my sanity. But, do you know what? My garden is all but dead – I even scaled it back this year. The lawn hasn’t been mowed in probably two weeks – makes me shudder just typing that. Oh, did I mention it’s currently wheat harvest and my husband goes to work at 6 a.m. as an agronomist. When he gets home at night, he comes in to change his clothes and then I don’t see him again until… Well, sometimes I hear him crawl into bed.
My mom and my mother-in-law can just stop reading right here. Because I know they have no sympathy. And I understand—they just did it and didn’t complain. But I need someone to tell me how I am supposed to do this on my own. The saying “the dishes and laundry can wait” drives me bonkers. No, no it cannot wait. The dishes, laundry and cleaning just keep piling higher and higher and higher until I can no longer hear myself think for the disgusting house staring at me. I want nothing more in the world than to play with my kids. But, how can I do that if I am stuck in an endless cycle of housework??
I am not one to complain unless I have a solution. So far, the only solution I have come up with is telling myself that this is, in fact, temporary. Everything has a season. Right now this is my season – the dirty house, dead garden, and lawn that shames me season. The season of feeling like a failure…
But because the saying “gratitude is the best attitude” is completely true in my book, this is also the season of taking my kids to the pool, despite the laundry mountain on my bed that needs folded. Of baking cookies even though it means more dishes. Of spending the evening running back and forth up and down the driveway because my 4 year old learned to ride a bike with no training wheels but I am not ready to believe that she doesn’t need me there by her side. Of jumping on the trampoline even though I am spent because it’s my almost-2-year-old’s favorite thing to do.
So, I am waving my white flag, surrendering to the feeling of failure. But, mamas, know that if you are in this boat with me, it is only temporary. We are going to pull through. Our kids will not know our struggle. And we will one day look back on these days as some of the best of our lives.