I am excited to report that after two weeks straight of Jon traveling, our new system seems to be working. What a difference a year makes, and it is a good thing.
Last year (2013/2014 school year), both of our kids went into a great daycare/preschool for the first time. For Katharine (our then 3 1/2 year old), it was her second year, and for Matthew (our then 16 month old) it was his first time in any kind of away from home child care. We were super excited about getting both kids a spot in the school as there aren’t many to go around, but worried about balancing two busy work lives with daycare schedule. Once we got through the drama of the first two weeks of Matthew’s adjustment to the school, we felt like we were settling in. Oh, but we were wrong. The next 8 months proceeded to be full of sick days, Jon traveling more than he ever had and me trying to hold on for dear life. On the positive side, the kids absolutely loved the school and were growing so much every single day.
As the end of the school year approached last June, we were thrilled to be planning on a full-time nanny for the summer. It felt like it was going to be a vacation. Not rushing to get two kids out the door in the morning, not dealing with sick kid coverage and unplanned time off work. We had a great summer but those brief 9 weeks between school years moved faster than I could have imaged. As this school year began approaching and our fall travel schedules began to fill in, I started to freak out I seriously didn’t think I could survive another year like last year.
Enter problem solving mode….we ended up deciding to build a system. We hired a wonderful babysitter help with the kids. She helps us both with the kids and doing odds and ends around our house including a weekly grocery store run. We are two weeks in to our new system and I feel like I may survive. That this small choice to get some help has built more sanity in my schedule than I ever could have believed. The downside – guilt. I feel like I am yet again outsourcing my life. What is it about guilt? It seems to haunt me despite the positive energy the system is helping me to build. Another topic for another day….
For now, I am highly recommending a system. It is helping to bring order to chaos and allowing my time with my kids to be as positive as possible.
Tonight while putting Katharine to bed she wanted to listen to music. My phone was in my pocket and I decided this would be a nice relaxing way to spend the next ten minutes despite my dread for “Let It Go”, “Do You Want to be a Snowman” and other Frozen songs I was certain she would select. Jon is gone traveling and after a long day, even these tunes provide a welcome quiet moment while snuggling one of my favorite little people.
I turned my phone over to her and let her navigate through the music selection to pick what she wants. These little four-year old fingers are amazingly agile at navigating through the iPhone music selection so I drifted into thought of my day and what else I still needed to do tonight before I could retire to bed myself. Before I knew it, Little Miss Magic by Jimmy Buffett was playing and Katharine snuggled up tight to sing.
Momentarily, I forgot everything but the journey I have been on with this precious little one. How her 4 1/2 years of life have helped me to realize how important things like the warm breeze on my not so gentle skin are things not to take for granted. Katharine kept singing through the whole song, to my amazement, and as the song closed let me know that she picked it because she is daddy’s “Little Miss Magic” and that she knows while he is on his trip that he is thinking of her.
A moment I won’t forget. Goodnight, Little Miss Magic.
The difference in Sunday mornings is one the biggest changes in life since kids. Jon and I went out last night and made it home by 11:30p. Late in our world, not even close to what Saturday nights used to look like. Without fail, the nights we are out late our kids wake up early the next day. It is like they know that mom and dad need the sleep more than ever and they are determined to show us who is boss. So, Matthew decided 5:30a was a good time to try to get up this morning. I laid in bed, listening to him calling for me on the monitor wishing for a mute button.
So, we were up. Instead of our historical morning news shows that were our pattern before kids, “Elmo Pottytime” was the program of choice this morning. And, pancakes instead of omlettes. And, playing princess, queen and castle instead of reading Facebook posts. My mom is here so right now she is playing more with the kids while I take a late-morning (oh wait it is only 9:15a) moment to drink my coffee, listen to the Avett Brothers and write a quick post.
You wonder what we did with our time before kids. Although they make me tired (3 cups of coffee in by 9am), the pure joy they exude when playing is a reminder to live in the moment. So, time for the moment. I am headed
back to go play princesses. I am certain that since I have been away for a moment, I have been demoted to squire or cook in the castle hierarchy.
One of the ultimate moments the pieces of my life intersected was in December of 2009. And I mean literally intersected. I was about 7 days out from the due date of our first little one (Katharine) and after a night late at work, I came home and started feeling like it was time for a baby. Jon and I waited for a few hours and then headed nervously to the hospital with our bags packed. The hospital sent us through triage and let me know that although things were close, I wasn’t in labor. So, we headed home and tried to relax….anticipating what was to come. During the night, I awoke to what was more “labor-like” pains. As morning approached, things kept progressing but given the false alarm we had the evening before, I wasn’t convinced that it was for real. So, what else to do but keep working (from home at least). This was my pattern. I had been on a tear of working 65 hours a week for at least a year so I didn’t even think twice about it. I had so much to do before I had this baby! So, I worked all day…writing market research plans, deploying marketing initiatives, cleaning up email….all the while, in labor. As the day went on, my clock was ticking and I just kept working. Time kept moving, labor pains kept increasing….and I kept on working.
Needless to say, the work had to stop at some point, and ultimately so did the labor. About 36 hours after our first hospital trip, at about 10pm after a long-day working from home we headed to the hospital again. Under seven hours later, little Katharine Elizabeth Snavely entered the world on 12/30/2009 at 4:56am.
This moment of becoming a mother was something like I had never experienced before. A moment of true love with tears of joy and a purity in the moment that rarely, if ever, existed in my life before. Since her birth, I have experienced my life more purely than I had ever been able to before. It is amazing the perspective a little person can give you. Katharine helped me to realize that life is about choices. That the choices that I had made before, such as working through labor the last day of my pre-kid life, had often been determined by my historical patterns. That instead of truly making an active choice, I had often times been letting my past experiences dictate my current reality. In a sense, becoming a mother opened my life up to me again by enabling me to choose to enjoy it versus just live it.
There is so much more to becoming a mother than this story. I hope to share stories of motherhood here, and how it has helped me to enjoy my life, to learn, and to love in a way I never imagined. Our second, Matthew Thomas Snavely was born 2+ years later in Park City, Utah – the place we had moved to to when Katharine was just 3 weeks old. He was born to a mom that was much more balanced than the woman who wrote market research surveys through active labor with her first child. He was born to a woman who had let the pieces of her life intersect while not allowing any one of them dominate the other.