I'll be completely honest. I am stubborn. I am fiercely independent. And I see these traits coming out in my little one year old. Every time I try and show her, help her, aid her in doing anything, she cries, fusses, whines ... until I completely let go of control and let her 'do it herself'. I'm trying to teach her how to use a cup instead of a bottle. I want to hold it for her, to help her, (ok, to be honest, my OCD always kicks in ... I don't want her to spill it everywhere). Anyways - as soon as I let go (literally and figuratively) she smiles, she clumsily grabs the cup and she drinks. And she then, usually, ... ok, always spills it everywhere.
This independence runs deep. I get it from my Mom. She has always taught me to be who I am, to flaunt what I have, before it's gone. To speak my mind and have no fear.
So, it doesn't surprise me that having spent a year at home with my babes, I am now at this strange crossroads. Ready to get back into career life, but also wanting to continue to be a big part of Savannah's life. I am feeling the push and the pull, I am craving for my independence, but not at the risk of missing out on all of her amazing firsts.
I came home the other night after a long day of juggling finding myself and keeping my baby alive and I felt ... exhausted. Danny asked me "what's wrong?" I thought about it. Paused. Looked deep inside and finally came out with "I am not used to this." And by this, I meant being dependant. Suddenly my mat leave pay had ended. I had decided to stay home a little longer, but to at the same time embark on a career path and just, well, see where it would all lead me.
I told him I felt a bit sad. A bit lost. I have never not earned my own money before. And yes, ok, money is not the key to happiness ... I know this ... we are a family, the money is OUR money ... but for some reason I feel inferior. If I am not earning it alone, solo, by myself (and...the independent stubbornness returns) I am not accomplishing, well, anything.
He looks at me with absolute sympathy and also so much love and says "maybe you need to re-define how you measure your success."
This made me stop. I had spent so many minutes of the past few days thinking, strategizing ... how could I return to my career-woman ways? While mashing up avocados for lunch and building block towers to be knocked over by tiny little hands I kept analyzing how I could return to being able to conquer the lofty goals I had before my little babes.
I had never stopped to think ... this parenting thing ... it may not pay the best, or reward you in the most obvious ways. But, if you just stop for a minute and believe in everything you are doing. Raising a little gaffer, it is, in many ways, a job. Tedious, monotonous, and hard on the mind. But, also, in even more ways, it is a career. You put just as much into it - passion, love, really hard work; and with that realization I absolutely felt so grateful for my husband's words that night.
I know that when he spoke them, he meant them. Part of him was telling me to let go of my stubbornness, just a little bit, and realize that I still have the same independence, skill and focus I had before Savannah. Another part of him was complimenting me for the job I have done thus far.
The next morning, as she raised her cup to her lips and gave me a look of pure determination and pride when she got a big gulp of water and not even a drop ended up on the floor, I smiled. I didn't let my mind wander - how can I market myself? How can I use what I've learned in my past career to build strength in my next one? What are my five year goals? - I stopped. I paused. I looked at her little face and felt grateful. All of those questions don't really matter right now. Do they? I'll get there eventually. I have so much faith in what's to come ... but right now, in this very moment, I have accomplished everything I could have ever possibly dreamed of accomplishing. My little girl is happy, healthy, thriving. She is constantly laughing, being curious, and there are even little tidbits of her learning to be polite. She is good. I am good. This right here? Right now... THIS is my life's work.