On Seasons


All week long I've been saying it's the wrong day. On Wednesday I kept thinking tomorrow was Saturday. On Friday I thought tomorrow was Sunday. I don't know why I'm so confused, but I feel like lately every week has felt like one of "those" weeks.

I've been thinking a lot lately about where I was 5 years ago. R was 8 months old, we were just a few months into full-time daycare, full-time me working at the office five days a week, and I was crying. A lot. I don't think I fully realized at the time how traumatic that year was for me because I was just trying so hard to keep one foot in front of the other.

Being away from R for so much of the day was heartbreaking for me, emotionally exhausting, and I was so sensitive to and aware of messages and phrases that I perceived to shaming my ability to be a good mom because I wasn't with her during the weekdays. 

I wasn't a "full-time mom."
I was "letting someone else raise her."
I was not doing The One Thing that Makes The Most Impact in all the world.

The voice was talking to me constantly, telling me that I'd miss her first everything, that she wouldn't be able to bond with me, that I wasn't really a very good mother or I would have found a way to quit my job and stay at home with her.

I won't say the voice is gone completely. But I realize now that it's not telling me the full story, or even part of the story. Or, honestly, any story at all. At least not any story worth listening to.

A few years ago, I was thinking about that first year going back to work after having R, thinking about the angsty blog posts I wrote and the dramatic Instagram captions and the long text messages I sent my friends full of crying faces. I felt a little embarrassed about being so vulnerable, online and in private. And I felt embarrassed about how completely I viewed nearly everything in my life at that point through the lens of "working mom."

It's been 5 and a half years since I dropped R off at daycare for the first time, and now my three kids go to that same daycare five days a week while I work (at home! A pandemic adjustment). I consider myself both a "full-time mom" and an "employed mom," but neither of those phrases hold the weight they used to.

Sometimes, I'll just be honest, I do wish I didn't have a job that required my time, focus, and effort. There's a stressful situation at work that I keep thinking about in the evenings the last week. If I didn't have a job, I could concentrate completely on my family all the time and not also worry about being a good employee, sick leave, vacation days, and fitting in errands and housekeeping somewhere in there too. I would be able to spend more time with my kids. That's just a fact.

But just because it's a fact doesn't mean it's not also true that I'm a good mom. I'm a present mom. I'm an involved mom.

These two things are true at the same time: 
My kids are in daycare five days a week because I work a full-time office job. 
I am a full-time mom. I love them, and they love me.

I think about that me from 5 years ago and want to tell her this, but I don't think she would believe me even if I could. I'm not embarrassed anymore about what I wrote and shared during that time. It was a helpful way for me to process some of my feelings, and I've heard from several people that reading my blog was an encouragement to them during a similar transition.

I don't know quite how to end this post. This wasn't actually what I came on here to write about, but I guess I've just been thinking about that time in my life and wanted to write some closure to that season. R will be starting Kindergarten this fall, and to be honest I'm feeling anxious about that big change coming up for all of our routines.

But if I've learned anything in my 5.5 years of motherhood, it's that everything is a phase, a season. I'm anxious but also excited to see what our new season will look like!

Kaity B. said...

I've really loved the season of Kindergarten with Char (even if pandemic Kindergarten was a hot, hot mess). It's so fun to watch them learn, make new friends, talk about their day). I think you'll really like the school season as I have this last year! ❤️ P.s. Glad you haven't abandoned your blog, always love and miss your writing!

Katie @ Live Half Full said...

Agreed so much on the Kindgergarten transition! Even harder with so much in flux!

Sarah said...

i love this!! i know without a doubt that i am a better mom to my kiddos because i have a job outside of the home, rather than being a 'stay at home mom.' but i also know without a doubt that doing both is super duper hard. we are coming up on the kindergarten transition too, that will likely coincide with our baby's first time at daycare (cue the tears). i am not looking forward to the transition or having to deal with the logistics of two schools plus work etc. your perspective is encouraging! :)

Amy said...

While we are just starting our children journey (currently pregnant!) I absolutely love reading posts like this. It's a great reminder that we all go through seasons of change and some things seem incredibly unbearable at the time and as we grow into the season it becomes more manageable. Thank you for sharing your honesty!

Audrey Louise said...

I remember back when you struggled with sending R to daycare. I remember telling you that I was a child of working parents and I didn't feel less loved or parented by them. I remember all that... And yet we've just started sending M to daycare and I popped by to say I TOTALLY GET IT. M loves being there and playing. I enjoy my job. But the guilt of not being with her is awful and I hate it. I miss her every day. So I'm with you in solidarity. Wishing you all the luck and smoothness with the transition to kindergarten.