I sit here with tears in my eyes at the end of a very long and hard week. I know I’m supposed to be uploading part two of Selah’s birth, but I just don’t have that in me today. There are dirty bottles in the sink (as well as one that I cannot find; it’s somewhere around here). The baby bath is sitting out, still full of water, baby blankets are covering every sitting space in the house, even though she only uses one blanket at a time. There is an empty pizza box on top of the stove. There’s a full trash bag in the trash can, waiting to be taken out. Poor Leo (our dog) hasn’t had a good run in a week or so. The floor could probably stand to be swept and mopped. I’m pretty sure there’s even a dirty diaper sitting on the kitchen counter (leftover from bathtime). It is very important to me that I say all of these things. It’s like admitting you have a problem. I like to live in a world where my house is constantly in order, the cloth diapers are always washed and ready to go, Selah’s things are always folded and put away, all the bottles are filled and in the fridge ready to go, and there is NEVER a diaper sitting on my kitchen counter. This is rarely ever the case… or if it is, it’s only this way for an hour until Selah wakes up from her nap and the mess starts all over again.
Back to the beginning… Why do I have tears in my eyes? (OH, btw. I completely realize that everything I’m about to mention are 100% first world problems, but they are weighing heavily on me so I’m doing my best to get them out.) Monday morning, I woke up at 5am, got ready for work, cleaned the bottles, got everything ready for Selah’s day, packed my lunch and went to work. I got home at 3:45pm, fed Selah, played with her for about 45 minutes and then she was ready to go back down for a nap. I laid her down, ate a snack and just as I was about to clean bottles and pick up the house, she woke up… that’s right… 30 minutes after I laid her down, she woke up. How dare she? Didn’t she know that I had things to do? I ended up leaving a little while later at 5:40pm to go teach the musicianship class I teach at Charlotte Children’s Choir. By the time, I got back, she was down for the night so I just looked at her on the baby monitor until I fell asleep. Tuesday went very much the same. I got home from work at 3:45pm, fed her, laid her back down, left at 5:45pm to go back to work since my students had their choir concert. When I got back home, she was laid down for the night (deja vu?) so I stared at the monitor until I fell asleep. That night, Selah decided to wake up at 2am, 4 hours we had given her the dreamfeed. Taylor, being the saint that he is, woke up and fed her so that I could sleep. Exactly 4 hours later, she woke up again at 6am. I took her upstairs to Nana so that Taylor could sleep and so that I could get ready for work. Nana fed her and she had a great day. Wednesday night, I got home at 3:45pm, fed her while she was being fussy, not sure if she wanted the bottle or not, laid her down and she slept until 7pm, woke her up, took her to church, fed her and sat down for choir practice. (Taking Selah to choir practice is another post for another day.) When we got home from choir, it was time for her to go to bed… proceed with the usual staring at the monitor. Thursday, wake up, work, come home, try to feed her, lay her down for a nap, feed her again, lay her down for the night.
This morning she decided to wake up at 3:30am and then again at 7am. At that point, I was already gone for work. I got home today at 3:45, tried to feed her, but she apparently wasn’t hungry. She’d had a rough day with the girl that takes care of her on Fridays. I had no idea what was wrong with her because I hadn’t been with her all day. I didn’t know when she had eaten last, when she had slept today and for how long, when her last diaper change was, or anything. After attempting to feed her multiple times this afternoon and getting barely an ounce in before she gave up and cried, I decided at 7:30 (which is usually her bedtime) that I was going to give her a bath. She always likes baths. It’s like a reset for her brain. I got her in the bath and cried as I washed her. She laid there, perfectly calm, and somewhat sleepy after her fussy afternoon. I gave her one more ounce of milk while in the bathtub, she burped on her own, I wrapped her up in the towel and all of a sudden she was snuggly and sleepy. This sweet little angel, that I had been crying over all afternoon, was fine. She was more than fine. She was content and sleepy. It was at this moment that she looked up at me…
So now I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes because I haven’t known one day thisweek, what my child needs when I get home. I haven’t laid her down one day this week to go to bed for the night. I haven’t had one snuggle, one successful feeding without tears. I haven’t had one hour this week that we’ve laid and played together and I know what she wants or what she needs before she gets upset. I’ve had something every night this week and this is when the mommy guilt sets in. For those of you who have never had mommy guilt, it’s the worst guilt I’ve ever felt. I feel guilty when I stay at home with her, because I miss my job. I feel guilty when I’m at work, because I miss my child and I don’t feel like I know what she wants. When I’m with my child, I feel guilty because all I want is for her to sleep so that I can sleep, or shower, or eat without interruptions. When I sleep, shower, or eat, I feel guilty because I feel like I should be cleaning the house or preparing for when she wakes up. When I sit down at the end of the day, I feel guilty about not exercising because I desperately need to get back into shape.
I’m doing my absolute best to stay present and not strive for perfection, but so far I’m failing. I’ve been reading two books that talk about the importance of grace and not perfection. But there’s a problem with that for me… I feel like if I read the books and master the art of grace and not perfection, THEN… I’ll be perfect. But… that defeats the purpose. I haven’t read those books in a week because every time I read them, I try to be BETTER at being present. I strive for being PERFECT at giving myself GRACE and that is not helping the situation. A friend of mine once told me, when we were talking about kids and jobs and family, etc… that “you CAN have it all… you just might not have it all at the same time.”
This week has been a great example of that for me. I’ve tried to stay on top of things and be perfect. I’ve washed bottles, been a mom, been a teacher, cleaned the house, started a load of laundry at 6am, while eating breakfast. I’m trying to do everything and it’s simply not working. I’m failing at trying to be perfect. I’m doing my BEST to be the best I can be and that’s not the point. The point is for me to be here. To see Selah. To give her what I can. To do what I can. It’s easier said than done and I wish I could wrap this all up in a nice pretty bow and tell you how I’ve overcome my perfectionist mindset, but I haven’t so I can’t. I’m still a perfectionist and I’m prepared to struggle with that for my entire life. Right now, all I can do is trust that GOD will continue to change me… to help me realize my imperfections and be okay with them, to help me realize what my priorities should be in life, and to help me present not perfect. To give and want Grace over perfection.