us. in october.
I was overwhelmed because I was wanting and trying to keep a perfectly clean house, have dinner on the table for Chris, get showered, make-uped and dressed and also have a social life. I was trying, but failing. Or at least, I felt like I was failing.
I ended up calling my dad because he's good at these things. As we talked, I had a revelation.
I realized that I had thought as a stay-at-home mom things like laundry, dishes, meals were my job. I had been so excited to finally have the perfectly maintained, well run home. But really? Those things weren't and aren't my job.
My job is being a mother. My job is taking care of Meredith. Yes, it would be good to not let the dishes overtake the kitchen counters and have clean underwear and eat something. But those things are not a measure of my success, especially not with a newborn. Even now, with a toddler I have days that I just can't get to everything because I'm tired or Meredith is more emotionally needy or because we simply choose to play all day. I haven't failed on these days.
The hardest part about being a stay-at-home mom is that your job does not have immediate, tangible results or an agenda to follow. Sure, I need to check breakfast, lunch, dinner, nap off my running mental mommy to-do list, but that's not what I'm talking about.
I'm talking about how you sometimes have to drop the soapy, sudsy dishes and pick up your wailing child with foam still on your hands. How you know where your baby is in the house based on the tinkering sounds of metal on wood. How you have sticky, gooey hands after every single meal. How you rarely sit and enjoy a meal when your only concern is getting your food into your mouth. How sometimes you want to just zone out, but instead choose to pull your daughter into your lap and read books instead. How you hate the feeling of sand in your bathing suit bottoms (and goodness knows where else) but you sit where the water meets the sand because it's the baby's favorite spot.
A person peeking into my life might not see these things as skills or as an activities leading to a result. There are days I struggle to see it myself. But they are. I picture motherhood as ceramic piggy bank. Bit by bit I add in love, sweat, blood, tears, laughter and hopefully years from now Meredith will cash these things in as a happy, confident, thriving young woman. Until then, I wait, knowing that even on the days I don't feel productive, I am doing an important job.