Never have I ever felt like Summer came and went without my notice. I did see fireworks, and I did go to NYC for a hot-and-humid minute, but I feel like this Summer was just so much hard work that I never got that Summer lovin’ feelin’ that I usually have. But when I really reflected on it, I found that my life is like Summer!
Here are the ways I find being a working mom is like Summer:
1) The heat is always on, and it can be stifling sometimes. There’s a lot of pressure to perform when you’re a working mom. You want to do the best you possibly can to provide for your family. You want to do the best you possibly can at work, in order to excel in your calling and maintain self-respect and enthusiasm for the future. Then, when you get home, you realize you’re living the precious few minutes you have with this little being you’ve committed to raise and rear, and so it feels like you’ve got a limited number of moments to get it right: enough eye-contact and interaction, but no stifling or overbearance (now it’s a word, k?). You’re out of the frying pan and into the fire. Now, for those of us who love hot weather, that can be great! However, sometimes an ice-cold beverage may be the name of the survival game.
2) There isn’t much sleeping going on. In past Summers of foolish youth, I can remember staying up late until I fell asleep on the floor with friends. I recall being a camp counselor and whiling away the hours with giggling girls. I remember being a camp kid, and plotting how to sneak out of the cabin at night with my teenage cohorts. I remember that somehow sheer adrenaline and zest for life and bonfires and cheap thrills meant that this lack of sleep was fine with me — and after all, it was totally my choice.
However, now I find that being a working mom carries very similar inventory in the sleep department, with the crucial difference that the sleep deprivation is rarely, if ever, by choice. Some nights, the baby is just restless and teething and crying and awake randomly. Other nights, he wants to nurse all night. Other nights, we sleep. Other nights, I swear I’m just too tired and fried from thinking about how to accomplish everything on my to-do list that I waste hours thinking, “Should I just get up? No. That’s dumb. It’s 3am. Ok. I’ll sleep. After I get some water. Ok. Now I’ll sleep. Oh wait, the baby is awake. Ok, after I feed him. Ok. Now it’s 6:30. TIME TO LEAVE FOR WORK!!” And then you get to work and you feel like you completed the Indie 500 (is that a thing?) and you try to play it off so everyone still respects you, and most days you’re kind of successful.
2.5) You feel a tad bit hung over most of the time. Not that I know what that’s like, but I imagine things.
3) Routine is non-existent. Okay, this is probably just me. I’m pretty sure that all the other successful working moms I know would swear by a routine. It’s good for momma, it’s good for baby! It’s the only thing that gets us through! And all that jazz. And I’m sure that’s true and I can’t tell you the tears I’ve cried wishing I could impose a routine on this stage of life to make it all somehow make sense.
However, you know those sun visors for your car that sort of bend/spin/fold into a nice little well-behaved circle-shape after you Kung Fu wrestle them into submission after looking like a fool for 5 minutes? Well, imposing a routine on my life right now has proven to be a lot like folding a sun visor in the car. Just so, so silly. And probably more trouble than it’s worth. I mean, I park in a garage at home AND work. So, who needs a sun visor, really?
4) There’s a lot more sickness going around than really makes sense. Oh my GOODness the sickness of Summers gone by. I remember spending weeks at a time at my Grandma and Papa’s house with their above-ground pool and bunches of cousins. And it was like the domino effect: eventually, someone got the stomach bug. And then, all of us started dropping like flies, one by one, in gorgeous and intricate patterns.
Lo, even those of us in complete denial who shoveled Rocky Road ice cream down the hatch to prove our stomach was made of iron, only to have it all come back up and still have trouble with chocolate iced creams to date.
And I tell ya, being a working mom has caused me to question my immune system like nothing in my life. It’s either me, the baby, or both of us sick with SOMEthing all the time. I have had many a come-to-Jesus with Vitamins and Minerals. Sometimes they help. Sometimes we’re a lost cause.
5) Everything’s a mess all the time. I’m not really sure how much more I can elaborate on this one. It just is.
6) There is happiness in all the madness. Sometimes the random road-trips to the beach were just the best of Summer’s yield. And it was in the road-tripping that we found some of the greatest of our joys.
I wouldn’t be true to myself if I didn’t admit this. There is a lot of hard, and a lot of happy. I get such a kick out of the people I work with, and the place that I go to every day. It’s an adventure. It’s not always pleasant or happy-go-lucky, but it’s a blessed and happy place. Some of the best people I know in my life I know because of work.
And while I’m there, I imagine my little chubster, and I crave his presence so much I can almost taste it, and the sight of his cheeks multiplied in drooly grins, his beautiful, piercing blue eyes, and his two silly teeth just fill my heart to bursting at the end of a long day. There’s not one thing I wouldn’t do to give my Baby Bear a better life, no matter how dizzy it makes me. And so we dance into the sunset, and we burn the midnight oil — sometimes around the fire pit — and we say thanks and let it go when it doesn’t all go right.
And yeah, we’re a little sunburned and secretly thankful when things finally calm down and we get back to the Fall routine (again, I use my imagination…).