The LastsOct 29, 2023
It’s a typical school day in our house. 5:30 my alarm goes off and I start the day. The kids need to be up and out the door before 7. Let me tell you how fun it is to get two teenagers up at 6am, and even more so when they share a bathroom.
That’s it. That’s the fun.
Most days I feel my blood pressure rising as my plans of slowly waking up with coffee and journaling come to a screeching halt with sounds of, “MOM - is she out of the bathroom yet?” And yet today, as I stood outside waiting for my son to come zooming back up the street and collect the essay he left on the kitchen counter I realized there are not many of these mornings left. I couldn’t help but smile.
To be 100% honest, these mornings are not good for my mental health. They send me into a tailspin as it becomes nearly impossible to start down the to-do list or even go exercise until I can recover from the tornado that is getting the kids to school on time. I look at the clock and discover that I’ve been self-soothing on Tik Tok for 30 minutes and that it’s almost time to get ready for work. So much for my morning productivity that used to be the best part of my day. I’m still trying to figure out whether I try to reconfigure my time blocks or I just step back knowing this is temporary and soon one will be off to college while the other will be getting ready alone and driving herself to school. I then tell myself this is a phase, and if I can get through the next 7 months I’ll be home free.
SEVEN MONTHS? That’s it? Seven months and my oldest will be finished with high school. How did we get here? Seriously, didn’t we just bring him home from the hospital? That one thought is enough to send me into an emotional tailspin. I realize I want to be there for all the things - the last firsts, the last lasts and everything in between. I don’t want to miss anything. And that is what brings up the conflict. I not only work, I also own my own small business and want to see it grow and flourish much like I do my children.
There’s no denying the internal conflict that nearly every working mom experiences. I have every system in place to make it easier, but when I choose to miss a big annual conference to attend a cheer competition every year, or when I miss homecoming because I committed to teach an out of town class prior to knowing the date, a good bit of guilt sets in. This year of lasts is proving to be an even greater challenge. How am I handling it? I’d like to say I have it all figured out and I just tweaked this and that but that’s just not my reality. I have made the decision that I will be there for as many moments as possible. This means making choices that slow my business growth, and being okay with that. It means saying no to certain opportunities because the level of commitment is greater than I am willing to give right now and not feeling like my business is failing. And I’d be lying if I said these choices were easy to make.
So for now, I go back to the crazy mornings. I take lots of deep breaths, and sit with my coffee after they walk out the door. I remind myself that soon these mornings will be no more and I’ll be sad in the silence. The years to build a dream business will still be there when the kids are out of the house. I can let go of the notion that I need it all right now and press pause, even if just for a little while.