(One in particular. And maybe also to myself.)
You are doing a really really good job with your babies. You are doing a fantastic job at work. The stuff at home is the stuff at home and it is in this crazy state of flux because a home where grownups co-exist with children or with pets or with one another is always in a crazy state of flux.
All the household things will not get done, but they will get done well enough. Now or later or maybe never but that's okay because you know better than to let things get to a dangerous level so the things that absolutely need to be taken care of will be taken care of and the rest can go hide in a corner and jerk itself off because it's not all that important and it's not all that deep and it's probably not getting done at the neighbor's house either even though she's a stay at home mom and her kids are all school-aged and out of the house during the day.
I fully believe with all my heart and all my soul that daycare, in whatever form you have chosen- and Lord knows you searched high and low for one you can live with, maybe not the (read: expensive) one you loved most, but one where you feel comfortable, is good for the babies. It is there that they learn they are loved by other big people and they are surrounded by other little people and they discover that love and light and acceptance and nurture can be given and received in a million different ways and they are all good.
They learn love and trust and community and friendship and fairness and sharing and social norms and love and love and love and love.
The women taking care of your babies have taken care of a gazillion babies in their tenure as a child care worker. They have as many years that they have worked times as many babies as they have watched of experience with babies that are the same age as your baby. A daycare provider who has worked for ten years and has watched 100 babies has 1000 years of collective experience. She's an expert. She knows the tricks. She can help you navigate the infanthood and toddlerhood and preschoolhood. She is helping your baby on that journey when you are not there. She is your partner, not your competition. She loves your baby. Your baby loves her. You love your baby more and your baby loves you more.
If and when there is the first sign that the love between them is lacking you will intervene and things will seem like a nightmare to you but because you are a wonderful mother your baby won't even notice.
When you go to work you are bringing home a paycheck that helps you pay for that daycare and helps you buy the nice things. Things like electricity and handbags.
are able to apply your own money to those college loans. Once upon a time you wanted to
work and you wanted to learn and you have to go to college so you can
get a good job and you have to keep your good job to pay off those
You can pay off your own credit cards. Your own mortgage. Your own car. Buy your own lunch.
There is something very liberating in having your own things bought and paid for with your own money.
you go to work you are teaching your children that women can have
successful careers. You are teaching your sons and your daughters that
it is possible to work outside of the home and take care of all that
needs to be taken care of inside the home too. Teaching them to have
career aspirations and work ethic and professionalism. They will love
you for that. Just as much as they would love you if you stayed home
When you go to work you are taking time for yourself.
That commute is your time. Just yours. Yours to breathe and to sing and to walk and to drive and to ride and to read and to caffeinate and to nourish and to do anything you'd like within the parameters of your mobility and the law.
You get a lunch hour. In the world of mothering, lunch hours are hot commodities.
If you're lucky you get paid time off and benefits and there is no rule anywhere that says you have to keep your baby with you on your days off if you don't want to. You can get your hair cut or your feet professionally cleaned or you can stay home (alone!!) and do the weird things that don't normally get done like cleaning the cabinet shelves or the weird porcelain curves behind the toilet.
You can buy a dress for your sister's wedding.
You can buy a dress for no good reason at all.
You can sit in the park with a good book and eat apples in the autumn sunshine.
You can go to therapy.
You can go to sleep.
You will be tired. So so so tired. More tired than you ever thought
imaginable back in those days before kids and before work and before
being a real live grownup. Exhausted all the way through your bones and
into the deepest part of your heart.
You will cry. You will break.
You will put yourself back together and forge on. No matter what.
will grieve and mourn the ideas you once had about motherhood because the
realities don't ever match up with the assumptions and visions and
dreams and hopes you had before this all started. Things are so much
harder and so much more beautiful and so much bigger than you could have
No one tells you what it's really like because we don't have words for what it's really like.
If you're on an airplane and things start going wrong they tell you to put the airmask on yourself first and then to help your children. Parenting is no different. You are no good to anyone else if you haven't taken care of yourself first. If you aren't breathing. You need a lot of energy and reserves to take care of children and partners and pets and career and yourself. Energy and reserves burn quickly and take a great deal effort to replenish.
Today you woke up and knew that you have a job to go to and your baby has a safe place to spend the hours and you will be together again by dinner time and you can share those magically frightful hours until everyone has fallen asleep and you can wake up tomorrow and worry about tomorrow, tomorrow. But you won't, because it will be a whole other today by then and every today is spent taking care of the things that need to be taken care of just for the day at hand. It's how we get by.
One day at a time.
It's so very painfully true that we will not get these days back with
our children. Once they are big they are big forever. You will also
never get these days back with yourself. You'll never be as young as
you are today. You may never be as beautiful or as healthy or as
motivated. You- with your beauty and your health and your motivation-
may never be as employable as you are right now. Embrace it, just in
You are doing a wonderful job with your babies. You are doing a fantastic job at work. You are managing all the crazy states of flux at home as best you can. You are beautiful and you are strong and you are so incredibly capable of doing this.