Living the Dream

a mama’s perspective on life/work balance

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“What is your dream?” Isa Adney asked in the webinar today.

What is my dream? Why do I have an email list, a business, a passion I pursue for money?

I want what I have: to be at home with my children, watch them grow, participate in that growth, teach them and train them, be a part of their lives.

…I said so in the chat as my daughter fed herself lunch.

…I kept listening to the webinar as she laughed in the bath.

…I added my two cents as she explored the recycle bin.

…And then I finally shut my laptop when she toppled and fell from climbing something I’d told her not to.

I say I want to be a part of her eating, her laughing, her exploration, but it was only her crying that truly earned my attention. Is it any wonder our children cry and whine? When she is happy and content I leave her to herself. When she “needs me” I drop what I’m doing.

But who’s to say she doesn’t need me when she’s happy and content?

I don’t have a good answer to the work/life balance question. If it’s something that comes through trial-and-error I guess I should cut myself some slack—I haven’t even been a mom two years yet.

She’s growing so fast though.

Her babyhood slipped through my fingers as we tried to stay afloat through health crises and housing struggles. My pregnancy with her sibling has passed quickly as I’m distracted with rebuilding our business and our home. The urgent is stealing the joys of the important. The most important thing I can imagine: a child, my child.

This is why some wait to have children until they are stable enough.

I’ve seen people wait forever for “stable enough” to become a reality and decided to take a different path, a path I don’t regret. I used my single years to prepare for these days. A few more years would have only been years without her. In fact, waiting much longer may have meant she never came to be and that is a reality I don’t want to imagine.

She is my dream come true.

I say I do this work so I can be with her, but how often do I let it take me away from her while she is right beside me?

Building a sustainable lifestyle isn’t easy. Too much focus on one area means others get neglected. Without a steady income good food is too expensive. Prepared food saves time but not money. Forgetting self-care means health spirals downward, but we all know the downfalls of selfishness.

The most stable balance requires movement. Always re-centering.

This is all the answer I have right now: Be willing to keep adjusting, moment by moment and day after day. There is no one right answer. I will never stumble into a perfectly sustainable routine because emergencies happen, children grow, and my needs change.

So I embrace today, this one moment.

I sit on the bed as she sleeps, listening to lullabies and the tap of my fingers on keys, thankful that I learned touch-typing when I was young so my eyes don’t have to stop watching her chest rise and fall even as I record my thoughts and work through my emotions.

I choose to be with her, even as I work.

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