After I had Silas, I thought life had gotten sort of hard. He puked everywhere and didn’t sleep and I couldn’t eat diary and he screamed in the car. I mean come on. Life was definitely more complicated.
Then I was pregnant again and had Silas plus was watching two more kids 20 hours a week, and that seemed harder. Then I fell and couldn’t lift Silas for three months and that was really hard, but mostly emotionally for our relationship. After I had Maren I was like “holy crap–I have TWO BABIES who cry and need to be rocked and loved and carried. This is hard.” Now I have my two babies and I keep a 10 month old 43 hours a week for next to no pay. It’s degrading. It’s busy. It’s sometimes hard (especially at about 3pm). Momastery often says “This is hard, but we can do hard things.” And we can, and we do.
Today I had the day off, which really means I just got to be a stay at home mom today. It’s surprisingly not hard to have my own two when I am used to having three under two years old. And so I loaded up the babies this morning and we walked leisurely through the store, bought some new tea, and came home. Maren took a huge nap while Silas and I sang songs and giggled and explored the kitchen counters while he stood on a chair. It was really the sweetest thing ever. There was magic in the simple, quiet time we had that made me remember that it used to be just me and Si all the time. It makes me sad for the time that we don’t have anymore, and I tell myself I’m going to make it a priority, even in the middle of moving and transitioning this next month.
He went down for a nap, Maren woke, and I gave her a bath which she found enjoyable, much to my surprise. I think it was the quiet house and the warmer than usual water, or maybe it was the side track of her favorite toy in her hand. After her bath and clean jammies (because who puts real clothes on a baby after a bath anyway), she was sleepy. She didn’t go to sleep right away like she usually does, so I lay beside her and sing her a song because I can. I have time to! She smiled and jabbered and sucked her fingers as usual, and then instead of her beloved blankie she rolled over and grabbed a handful of my shirt and sighed and went right to sleep. And it was really the sweetest thing ever, too.
I feel regularly conflicted about living in the Midwest or even in America, and talking with my sister this morning made me feel better and normal for thinking about not being here sometimes. I realized that the allure of not living here lies in the simplicity of life elsewhere because it inevitably frees up a vast amount of energy that could be put into things that matter, like in noticing the look on Si’s face when he figures out how to turn the sound machine on and the way Maren talks to her blanket when she is sleepy. Most days I don’t have time to just watch my babies explore life as a new human, and I know no one else does either. But deep down these are the things I think are important and the reasons I won’t go back to work for quite some time.
Today I feel lucky to be at home with my babies, just us, and lucky to have a fridge full of food after grocery shopping and lucky to have a husband who defends our decision for me to stay home when he’s at work. I feel torn about staying home instead of working sometimes, and days like today remind me why we chose to do this as a family and what I would be missing. We give up a lot to make it feasible for me to be home all day. I realized this when I read the rules to the 30 day spending freeze challenge and realized we already did them all in our normal life right now. It doesn’t matter if it seems lame or if it seems like I don’t do anything all day or I am not bettering myself, because being grateful for these small things makes creates a happiness that prevents regret. It’s worth it.