I wake up to the sound of a little one in her crib, and then, lay there for a minute hoping maybe she will go back to sleep. Nope.
Mommy is up to get her ready for the day and start breakfast. Let the cat in. Feed the dog. Get that coffee started. Breakfast. Dishes. Play time. Lunch. Nap. Try to get some work done around the house or for my job during nap...or maybe get a shower. Up from nap for a snack and play time. Daddy comes home, and I'm out the door to my part time job. Try to make it home for dinner. Give her a bath and get her to bed so Daddy can get to sleep before he gets up for work at 3 a.m. Wind down time or straight to sleep. Depends on the night!
Do it all over again the next day.
Lately, I've felt like Bill Murray in the movie, Groundhog Day. I wake up most days and the routine rarely changes. I know all too well that structure is needed for my growing toddler. So, I try to make sure she has that structure. Yet, somewhere between wiping off her high chair for the 3rd time and giving her another cup of milk, I'm not really there anymore.
I wonder if I'm losing myself? I used to see the results of my contribution in this world more when I worked full time. There were other adults working on the same issues with me. I saw what my work meant in people's lives. Of course, I realize my consistency in my daughter's life is an amazing contribution. I know the long term benefits are more than I realize.
But, in the here and now, it's hard not to start feeling like a robot who washes the same dishes, cooks the same meals and folds the same clothes day after day, week after week. It can be a very lonely place. A place where you give constantly every day, and before you know it, your well is depleted.
Yet, that precious little being still needs you. Your partner still needs you. Your family still needs you. And friends... Well, you want to be there for them the few times a year you actually see them. There seems to be no time or room for you to be filled up again. That's the challenge. How do we find balance, so that the well is filled back up?
I think we have to start saying, "No." We have to schedule time for ourselves, and time with other people with little ones. Others that are in the middle of trying to figure out what to do when their little one isn't sleeping, won't eat certain foods, is biting other kids...others who know the challenges of juggling finances, work schedules, friends, family and a marriage.
I think my identity has changed. I am a mom now. That does mean I have to sacrifice a lot more. It also means, I need to make time for myself and other relationships. My daughter will suffer if I don't. Her mother will become a numb robot that she won't respect.
Hopefully, I will see, like Bill Murray did, the blessing of the things right in front of me. The beauty in what is in my life. Who I am is not determined by the results I see. This is a season.
It is a season full of joy as I see my little girl growing every day. It is also a time when the person I am could be swallowed up in the to do list. No more last minute decisions to trek off to Europe. No more last minute anything.
Right now, I know I have to find my adventures in the sameness. What I see every day is my daughter learning new things. Discovering the world. That is so amazing. That is what makes all of this worth it.