Sunday, September 9, 2012

desperately seeking balance


I'd love to post pretty photos of my kids or share inspiration of all the lovely handmade things we've been making. I'd love to have a recipe to pass on, or some wisdom.

But I'm too bloody tired.

My return to full time work last week was a rude reminder of how good I've had it the past few years.

Sure, I jumped for joy when I saw what had been deposited in my bank account. After years of struggling to get through each month, I thought, "Wow! I can finally replace my mix master! And buy new undies!"

And of course I looked forward to the joyful challenge of meeting my new gaggle of Kindersurprises. I looked forward to the return to school-year routines, and spent many days getting my classroom in order so that the months I'll be teaching pass smoothly.

I just didn't know I'd be so tired. Or so busy. Or that Margot would be so whiny and clingy as a result of never having had to say goodbye to me five mornings in a row.

I spent the week looking forward to the weekend when I could give my kids my undivided attention and lots of cuddling.

By Saturday at noon, I was ready to go back to work, if just to get away from the impossible demands of a three-year-old who couldn't let her mother out of her sight. 

Did I mention that we're finally getting around to getting her to poo in the toilet? I know, I know, save your judgments for another day. Margot's been totally trained for more than a year, never wets the bed or has "accidents", but has refused to poo in the toilet. So, we just used one diaper a day. She knew when she needed to go, found a private corner, and let us know when she was done. It seemed to make sense to get her out of that habit at the same time that I went back to work.

Not such a great idea. They say hindsight is 20/20.


Take one stressed, busy, exhausted, and slightly constipated seven-months pregnant mama who snuck off to the bathroom with hopes of five minutes of privacy.

Add to it one preschooler who is paranoid that her mother has disappeared completely if she can't see her at all times, who also panics if she feels the urge to poo. 

So. There I am, in the midst of...being locked in the bathroom alone. And Margot is outside the door screaming her head off, psychotically banging on the door, absolutely PANICKING. I calmly tell her again and again, in my best Julie Andrews voice (while feeling like Al Pacino inside), "Mommy just needs to go to the bathroom...I'll be out in a minute"...

Finally, she screams that she's pooed down the pantleg of her pyjamas.

This happens three more times in the day, and each time I patiently bathe her and change her clothes.

I spent Sunday planning meals, grocery shopping, preparing food, catching up on laundry, and feeling tormented by the guilt that I should really be spending time with my children while knowing that the week will go more smoothly with muffins, soup, and shepherd's pie in the fridge.

I'm seeking balance between work and life, with a rueful laugh at the hopelessness of this task I've set for myself. It's a joke, right? There really is no balance, at least not at this point in my mothering journey. 

Can I just add one more thing? My mother is my saviour. She takes care of my girl(s) five days a week, does most of the laundry, and has dinner waiting when we get home. The dishes are washed, the counters are cleared off, and the kids always have some neat craft to show off. I'd be completely and totally lost without her. Once we've eaten, we make lunches and get the dishes cleaned up, and prepare for another day.

Thanks so much, mom...if I have any hope of getting closer to balance, it's because you're on the teeter-totter with me.


  1. Phew is sorry for the week that has been, and hoping this next one is a little smoother.

    I can't imagine life without my mom (and dad) there to lend a hand when I need them, parents are awesome!

  2. you are probably right, balance may be too much to ask for...but perhaps the sea will not be quite so rough in a few weeks when everyone has gotten a bit used to the situation- sending strength and light to you.

  3. I feel for you Mama! Here is hoping the week ahead isn't quite as rough.

    Bless your sweet mother :)

  4. Just wanted to say that I'm thinking of you! Hang in are balancing a lot right now. What a blessing to have a mama like yours who can step in and do so much to help out. That just ain't my reality at all. Sometimes I wonder how we women do it!

  5. You're absolutely right...there really is no balance! If I forgo the meal planning, cooking and cleaning, I get to spend quality time with my wee one, but end up feeling stressed about the state of our home. Full-time work is truly rough, but as you said, the money is SO welcome sometimes. Hang in there, you will find a "groove" and hopefully the poop woes will be done soon

  6. We're going through a version of the back-to-school transition ourselves, in that Eldest has gone back to school and Littlest is glued to HER when she returns home. When I get home a couple of hours later, Eldest, with her little sister clinging to her, looks at me with that slightly frazzled look and observes, "I guess she's missed me." And then it is my turn for a share of the snuggly love, because suddenly Littlest is aware that TWO of her beloveds have been away ALL DAY and have some 'splaining to do.

    Balance, it's ever shifting. Sometimes wildly. But you remain upright. Your core strength is pretty darn formidable. Just sayin.

  7. I hear you, my sister. I hear you. You have heard my tales of woe since I went back fulltime. It's tough, no doubt about it, but it is our reality. Think of this 10 weeks as a trial run for next year when you go back after mat leave. It's like an experiment! Yeah- that's it! Does that make you feel better? I didn't think so.
    Nonetheless, you are not alone. Keep writing when you can and feeling the love and support of all of us around you. Laugh as much as possible and try not to sweat the small stuff. And just keep holding Margot.
    And Mom. God love her. I am so grateful that you have her help when I am too far away to come over, too.

  8. Ugh. Full time work. Such a grind. Why can't it be easier to have it ALL? Your mom sounds AMAZING!!!! Wow. How the heck do you get your three year old to not ever wet the bed? We are still diapers all night long around here. Good luck with the poo saga!

  9. Sending HUUUUUGE hugs! Sometimes life is peaches and cream and sometimes it's shit on a stick. It'll balance out in the end, although the swing between the two isn't like a game of tennis, where it evenly flips between good and bad. It's more random and heavily weighted sometimes towards one or the other extreme. hang in there. As the song goes "Tie yourself to the mast my friend, and the storm will end".

  10. really I am amazed that I am still alive( although somedays I check for a pulse) after ten years full time with a family of 8.But it is much easier now than 10 years ago on the home front.
    I sure could have used your mom! is she open to cloning? You could retire now with the profits.

  11. bless your three year old pulled the no poopy in the potty ploy, it was ten years ago and i remember it like'll be happy to know that at thirteen he needs no diaper :)

    hang in there, my dear!

  12. I don't think I would be able to handle even a fraction of that week you've had, certainly not with the grace and humor you have! It's taken me a year as a mother to realize that "balance" is an illusive concept that always feels just out of my reach. And the more I fixate on it, the more it seems to slip away. So I try to aim for "balance over time," reminding myself that right now is the busy season of my life, and that things will eventually come back to the center (hopefully ;) It ain't easy being a mama - you are doing fabulously.

  13. I am so jealous of your Mother. Mine lives 10 hours away. Balance will come, or maybe we just find ways to cope. Either way, just remember to breath and soak in the love that surrounds you!! Think of the stories you will have for your Grandchildren.

    Jennifer @dark blue dragon


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