We’ve had a tough week. We had to switch days for the little girls, which I loathe, but circumstances required that we do so. They’ve been much more clingy, and needy, and snuggly in the past couple weeks. We had them last night, a day we wouldn’t normally, and they were over-tired, and a little weepy, and in need of approval, and oh-s0 huggy, and at the same time were testing our limits a bit. It’s the kind of thing with which I could get consumed. Obsessed. And over-analyze until I’m blue in the face.
I worked from home today so unlike regular days when I leave before there is any light in the sky, this morning my husband got to leave early, and I took the little girls to daycare. We were able to get ready at a leisurely pace instead of at the speed of light like we normally do.
Let me paint a picture. My oldest little girl was finishing up homework while my littlest little girl was finishing breakfast. She hadn’t touched her juice so just after I took her empty bowl she picked up the cup of juice…and I didn’t see it but the way the juice landed ALL over the floor, and ALL over the table, and ALL over the chairs, and ALL over the walls…I have to imagine she did something creative instead of it just slipping out of her hands like she claimed it did.
How it happened is neither here nor there…I’m anal. And controlling. So I need you to understand how much effort it takes for me not to go ballistic in situations like this. But I didn’t. I spent the next FIFTEEN WHOLE MINUTES on my knees cleaning it up and thinking of the note I needed to put in my littlest little girl’s lunch so she’d know that I loved her despite the foul look I must have had on my face.
We got to daycare homework done, vitamins injested, breakfast eaten, teeth and hair brushed, rooms straightened, juice cleaned off every surface in the kitchen, even a cold lunch made for my littlest little girl (with the note!). My oldest little girl got out of the car and shut the back door, I grabbed the little girls’ golf clubs that needed to be left and started walking towards the entrance, when I realized my littlest little girl was not getting out of the car. Hmmm.
I went back to the car,opened the back door, and said “are you going to stay in the car?” And my littlest little girl said “I want to stay with you.” Oooofff. It’s the worst feeling on earth when you’re dropping your child somewhere and they don’t want to go. “I want to stay with you” she repeated.
I got her in the house, gave many kisses and hugs, and was on my heart-broken way. I first called my husband, then my girlfriend Eh, to lament that the girls were just needing more love than normal. Not lamenting that they need more love…I’m more than happy to give them as much love, attention, and adoration that they need. Lamenting about why they might need more love.
The truth is, for the past couple weeks for whatever reason, the little girls need more of us. Require more attention, snuggling, and affirmation. We’ve had to step-up our game and be “on” more of the time. We haven’t had the luxury to have an less than stellar day of parenting because they are obviously in need of top notch loving right now.
A couple years ago this is the kind of thing that would have totally consumed me. Speculation, anger, great sadness, it all would have put me right over the edge which would have been counterproductive because it would have hindered my ability to be a great Mom. Now, however, I recognize that in order for me to be even close to “on” all the time…I need to treat myself well. I can’t be the Mom they need me to be unless I am the woman I need myself to be.
After my phone calls to my husband and Eh I came home and was swamped from the moment I sat down at my computer until the end of the day. Friday reports, phone calls, putting out a mild fire, it was go, go, go all day. Which, to be honest, was good for me. Otherwise I would have been thinking about my littlest little girl all day.
Immediately following my whirlwind of a work day I was scheduled to have dinner with girlfriends that I’d not seen in a while. I was running early, as was my girlfriend Ess, so we decided to head to the restaurant for an appetizer and some wine. A full hour before our other girlfriends were to arrive. Let me share something with you…an hour to waste in a cozy restaurant with fireplaces and wine rack, after wine rack, after wine rack…probably a bad idea if the hope is to leave dinner and get anything worthwhile accomplished.
We met at five, our other girlfriends joined us at six, we ate, drank wine, laughed out loud (perhaps too loud?), and had great conversation. I left the restaurant at 10pm…it was a five hour dinner with girlfriends. And wine. It was so much fun and I honestly could have stayed there for several more hours…if not for the incessant yawning and the desire to lay my head down on the table to sleep.
So here’s the thing…and the point…which perhaps it’s taken me too long to get to (I blame the wine). If my little girls need more of me, if they need me to be on top of my game, if they need me to be their rock, then I have no choice but to be that way across the board. And THAT means having the opportunity to be with my girlfriends and drink wine. It means going to the gym so I feel good. It means saying out loud all the things I want to be true and proceeding to make them so. It means making sure my husband and I are in a really good place and are on the same page. Because without all of those things I can’t be the Mom that my little girls deserve, need, and are longing for.
It’s like when you’re flying and the flight attendants tell you to put on your own air mask first. I have to be in a good place myself to provide a good place for the little girls.
TODAY: What if in order to be the best Mom I can be I also need to be the best version of myself? What if I need to cater to my own needs so that I can better serve the needs of my little girls?