This past week has been a crazy hectic blur. It all started last Thursday. Mike took the afternoon off of work to spend some time with the kids and I since I was expected to return back to work in February. We were sitting around the kitchen eating when the phone rang. Every time I have heard the long distance ring lately I have braced myself in anticipation that it might be Toyota calling me to tell me when my official 'return to work' date is. You see, Mike is excited for me to return to work so we can finish paying off student loan debts and me, well not so much. So as the phone rang I thought to myself 'of course, the one time Mike's actually home during the day Toyota will call so he can smile and rejoice in my misery.' And wouldn't you know it, it was Toyota. So Mike stood smiling in anticipation as I sat in complete juxtaposition of his mood crying and suffering through my phone conversation which ended in a promise to come in ready to start building cars on Monday. Needless to say I had a few minutes of sheer panic thinking of the list of tasks that needed to be accomplished before Monday, but after a well needed hour of running I was able to clear my head enough to start counting the many blessings that having a job brings to our family.
We may have had a laundry list of tasks to complete in the few short days before I returned to work, but the most important detail had been cemented months before and for that I am so thankful. We posted an ad for a nanny many months ago and easily found a woman who met each and every need our family had. I work two shifts, a day shift which runs from 7-430 and then an 'afternoon' shift (put in quotations because I feel they use the term afternoon QUITE liberally) which runs from 5:45-3:15am. So we needed someone who could be here pretty early, before Mike left for work, and stay pretty late, until Mike or I could get home, 5 days/week. The kids have really enjoyed having her here with us and have played more board games and completed more puzzles in the past week than they have in the past year.
I will however admit that the mommy in me had a really hard time letting someone else take over. I started this week on the afternoon shift. I would get to bed in the morning around 4am and usually sleep until about noon. So for approximately 4 hours each day there was a mommy and a caregiver both present in the home. I tried mostly to stay out of the picture so that the kids would have a chance to establish this new relationship in their little lives but I often found myself standing at the edge of the room listening intently as Noah teetered on the edge of completely losing it over a few issues. At one point Noah thundered into my room as I was getting ready for work to proclaim that "Lisa won't give me a snack. Can you come down and give me one?" To which I had to reply "Noah when Lisa is here it is Lisa's rules that we follow." Which was met by a forceful "But you're the MOMMYYYYY!!" followed by a little howling and a whole lot of wailing. I struggled at first with what I've decided is my "But I am the Mommy" syndrome but as the days went on and I started to see the relationship developing between my children and their new weekly primary caregiver, I decided quickly that I needed to redefine the definition I had given to my role as a mother.
I am realizing that my previous definition of motherhood; my role to always be there for every need so that they will visibly see how much I love them, to care for them the way I want them to care for their own families one day and to protect them from anything and everything bad in this world that I can possibly prevent, is giving way to a more refined and mature definition of what motherhood should evolve into offering. My work-in-progress definition based on this next stage of our life seems to be taking on this new meaning: Motherhood is becoming able to let them go just far enough for them to learn that love comes in other forms than family. Motherhood is helping them realize, through the example of another, that devoting your life to caring for other people not out of a duty of family but a more eternal duty to humanity is an admirable and desirable quality. And motherhood is helping them realize that life is big, the world is diverse and although I hope that the ultimate safe place for our children will always be our familial home, I want my children to know that there can be a secure trust built between two strangers. That allowing my children the opportunity to build relationships in a safe atmosphere is so much a part of my motherly responsibility to their overall growth. Although I am still struggling with the thought that I won't know every exact detail of my children's lives, that my house will sometimes be a little dirtier than I appreciate and that I more than likely will miss that first time Elias actually moves (yes that's right people, our 10.5 month old baby is still quite content to chill out in one spot on the floor while Abby and Noah serve his every need) I am in the beginning stages of realizing a greater potential for growth. I am so blessed. I have been blessed with a job that will help us to reach our future goals, blessed with a husband who is supportive both inside and outside of the home, blessed with children who are adaptable and happy, and blessed with a caregiver who is willing to provide love and care when circumstances are such that Mike and I can't. These are the thoughts I conjure when I forget and begin to pity my new life.
This past week has been a lesson in adaptability, sleep management and letting go of the expectations of what life should be after a 14 month placement in the home. Our family had a good start to our new life and I am praying that we will continue on the path that this week has established (fyi, any and all other prayers for success are graciously accepted and tremendously appreciated).
I am off for another week, this time on the day shift. We hope you all have a wonderful and successful week.
Love from the Willmotts