I declared this week a “good enough week.”
My husband is in the midst of some marathon business trips and while I am not complaining, I can’t deny that holding down the fort at home has been exhausting. Full time work + moody toddler = survival mode.
I hate survival mode. I want to do so much better than that. I want to be present, alert, fully-immersed, attentive, thoughtful — at my job and at home with Sam. I want to make up fairy tales for him, play in the yard, read, and talk about all of the important stuff going through his little head. I want to be patient. I want to have ideas at work and show that I am capable and talented and committed.
I can usually swing all of this when my husband is at home. Our parenting styles are very different and that leads to some tension in our house, but at the end of the day there’s nothing like having him at home. Even when he is tired and I still do bath time and bedtime duties, just having another grown-up in the house is a relief. Someone who can pour my glass of wine, or pack a lunch bag, or run to the basement for the laundry.
When I am by myself, the house is usually a total wreck by the end of day 2. I go to bed at 8 p.m. because there’s nobody to talk to and I am too lazy to get my own wine after putting Sam to sleep. It’s exactly zero fun.
And then there’s the guilt. Oh, so much guilt! Because I should totally be able to handle all of it by myself, right? It should be effortless and graceful and easy. And when I am alone for 1-2 nights, it is. But when I am alone for weeks on end, with just small breaks in-between — well, all bets are off. I am a hot mess from doing it all by myself and an even hotter mess from feeling like the worst mother in the world.
So this was one of those weeks. I knew it was coming and I made a promise to myself: no guilt, no pressure on myself to be supermom and superwoman. I just wanted to be good-enough-mom and good-enough-woman.
Sam and I snuggled every night in my bed and watched cartoons. He slept in bed with me, his warm little hands curled in my hair. We were late for preschool and work every day. We ate at my parents’ every night and I packed sandwiches and Gold Fish crackers every day for lunch. I drank wine in bed while he was asleep. I let the laundry pile grow to record heights. The living room floor is barely visible from all of the scattered toys. I canceled unnecessary late-afternoon meetings at work. I wore jeans all week long.
But you know what? It was all OK. It wasn’t the most stimulating, exciting, or educational week, but it was relaxed and happy and safe. My husband is coming home tonight and I’ll have some dinner in the fridge for him and a happy, healthy 4-year-old tucked in his own bed.
I know that in a few days I will have to gear up again for another long stretch by myself, but I think I am ready.