I’ll be honest, a week into Christmas break I was quiet certain I was rocking it. I haven’t once wished to send the kids back to school. I’ve balanced work, entertaining kids, celebrating with family, have all my inside Christmas decor down, and no one has died. Most days I complete my checklist (except today I didn’t get the outside decorations down before it started raining again- bummer). What more could I ask for?
Gran has been a lot more confused and agitated lately. I’m trying to have a kinder heart toward her and not be so frustrated, because she feeds off my frustration and truly, it only makes things worse. Yesterday, I offered to let her go to the grocery with me. She went to bed instead, at 3:30 in the afternoon. She was back up by 6:30 and I kept her up until a little after 10:00 and then pretended like it was bedtime of a new day.
Today, I went to work before the kids got up. I came home at lunch to bring Sam and Grandma lunch and take LK out to lunch for her reward for meeting her AR goal. As we were in the car, LK asked about another one of my friends who is a PTO volunteer, has 3 children in 3 different schools, and owns her own yoga studio. She said, “Mom how do you and Ms. Keleah always manage to do it all? Why does everyone call you guys instead of someone else? How do you have time to work, take care of kids, and volunteer?” Well, LK, there are different kind of people in the world. And, Ms. Keleah and I tend to be “make shit happen kind of people.” MOM!!! You shouldn’t say that to me. Oops, you’re right. Bad choice of words. But, people call on people who say “yes”, and busy people just get more done. You better get used to it, because I can already tell that you are a make crap happen kind of girl. You’ll be President of the United States, Room Mom extraordinaire, volunteering at church, and catering dinner for congress all on the same day. Again, feeling good about all I manage to get done in a 24 hour day. My daughter thinks I am a rock star. Not once this week have I been called the worst mom ever- I am totally killing it.
And, then I get served a piece of humble pie for dessert. After lunch, I took Gran to the mall with me to pick up a couple more serving trays for our Bowl Game tailgate party. I was totally rocking the multi-task today. Working, taking care of kids, preparing food for our tailgate party, entertaining Grandma. I could just hear the angels singing my praises. I should have stopped just before trying to make Grandma happy. I know how this rolls. Every. Single. Time. But, not today. I am dominating today, and Grandma won’t knock me down. Enter car conversation at the red light at Mack Hatcher and Royal Oaks. For those of you who know where I live, you realize this is about 2 minutes into my make Grandma happy adventure. “Misty, you’ve got to do something different. You must quit your job. It just isn’t right for you to work and go and do like you do all the time. You are ruining your kid’s lives. They are hostile and stressed, and they just need their mom at home all day taking care of things at home.” What, the what, what?!?! My kids are not hostile and stressed by my activity level. I am always home for them when they need me. I take them to school, I pick them up from school, I fix their lunches, I run their car pools, we have family dinner together. I am all they need me to be! Or, are they? Am I?
The stay at home, working mom internal battle has plagued me for years. I’ve been a full time stay at home mom. I’ve stayed at home/ worked part time. I’ve been a full time working mom. I know the quandary of it all. I tried to dismiss Grandma as having another one of her crazy rants that make no sense. And, honestly, my life pace is probably harder on her than it is on my kids. But, the truth of her words did sting a little. Although I am always physically present when my kids need me, I am very rarely mentally present when anyone needs me. I sit and listen. If I am truly sitting, you’ll notice I am restless. Hurry up, get it out, let’s move on. My brain is always churning on what is next. What project can I go to as soon as I finish this one? It is probably my biggest character flaw, but it is the one so many other people depend on. If you want something done, call Misty. She may try to say no, but in the end she will say yes. And, she will not disappoint. It will get done no matter the cost.
It turns out, that cost is pretty high. It is taking a huge toll on my health. My cortisol levels are through the roof, playing a huge factor in my weight gain over the last 2 years. I had to get glasses. I just had 3 teeth repaired where I grind my teeth so bad they have cracked/broken (and yes I have tried guards). I am going to have to have 3 surgeries in the next few months. I have to slow my roll. I am reading “Present Over Perfect” for a second time this year. The first time I read it, I was all into it and saying yes on every page. But, I didn’t put any of it into practice. I continued on my pursuit of perfection and making everyone else happy. And, my sweet kids, I don’t want to miss another second of their lives. I truly want to slow down and listen to them. Every time they come to me at home, I don’t want to respond. “Sorry, I can’t mommy is working on something right now.” I want to play ball. I want to do toe touches on the trampoline (after my March surgery that will work out much better for me).
So, Gran is right. My kids do need me at home. They don’t need me not to work. They just need me to be truly present when I am physically at home. They need me in the moment. I need me in the moment. I’m not one to make New Year’s Resolutions. But, I am one to make a promise to someone and keep it. So, I’m making a promise to myself and to my family to be present. Some practical steps in that for me are: putting my phone away in the car, choosing instead to listen to the people in the car with me; no electronics at the dinner table, we already eat dinner together but Jeff and I are both very guilty of distracted dinner; no social media when the kids are up with me; not saying “yes” to anything I haven’t prayed about, and saying “No” to the things God isn’t calling me to do. Just because I can do it doesn’t mean I should do it. These habits are 38 years in the making, so they won’t die easy. But, it’s out there on the world wide web. And, my 10 year old reads my blog- so she’ll hold me accountable if no one else does.