A mere eight months after having your second child you start to wonder if you should be heading back to work. It’s the first time since pushing out another human being that you’ve had five consecutive hours of sleep. As a woman you’re thinking how you can exploit this new found vitality that, in all likelihood, won’t last another day.
You sit down with your coffee after a 10 minute ab workout and start reading the daily news. You post an interesting business article on LinkedIn hoping to stay relevant in the professional sphere then go on to read through some fluff. You’re struck by a headline about a father losing his two year old son to brain cancer and by the end of the article your face is covered in tears and your coffee mug no less empty. Unfortunately, this is a reminder of one of the reasons you left your full time job to begin with, the fact that life is, in the grand scheme of things, quite short. Your sleepless nights with an infant won’t last forever, and taking your preschool aged child to her weekly ballet class at four in the afternoon won’t transpire from now until eternity. Most importantly, at the end of this great journey you probably won’t dwell on the days you were absent from your nine-to-five but rather the moments you missed or simply ignored because you were just “too tired” both mentally and physically.
Yes, there are times when you’d rather be researching the dietary habits of Millennials to propose a marketing strategy to a local food service operator instead of playing Rainbow Dash’s mom to a super imaginative 4 year old girl. Maybe you feel like you could be offering up better conversation at the dinner table than the fact that you were successful in price matching butter at the local supermarket, but every toddler needs a playmate and you did save $10.56 on that grocery bill so don’t sell yourself short ;).
In all seriousness though, perhaps it’s time to take a page out of the “Slow Living” movement. Put the brakes on this uber fast lifestyle where we’re rushing to catch the train, rushing to pick up the kids, rushing to get them to their extra curriculars, rushing to put dinner on the table then rushing to bed. And for what? So we can do it all again the next day? The irony of it all is that we live in a world where technology has allowed us to speed everything up which should have given us the freedom to slow ourselves down, but unfortunately the opposite seems to be true.
Part of the problem could be that, to many of us, mothering may not provide the same gratification that a career might. There’s no compensation or reward for a job well done and, typically, there’s very little recognition. But who cares? Allow yourself to enjoy a morning stroll with baby while you sip on an overpriced latte. If it’s company you crave, take that mommy and baby Zumba class. Most importantly, stop feeling bad for just being instead of constantly doing. You can’t make up for lost time and while that’s a simple truth, it’s one we often overlook until tragedy strikes and refocuses our perspective. There will be plenty of time to punch the proverbial time card so, at least for now, stop and smell the roses because they really do smell good (said me to myself ;).