Warning: this is going to get sappy quick. :) Last fall, I was running in a million different directions. I was trying so hard to be intentional as a new mom, soaking up all the sweet baby everything, running a thriving business during its busy season, launching a new online course and trying to juggle all the duties as a "stay at home mom". I felt a pull between loving my role as a mom yet loving my role as a photographer and didn’t quite know how to admit it or do it. I would love my 1-on-1 time with Luke and then feel guilty when I'd be upset with him for not napping unexpectedly. I had my own convictions as to what I wanted for him and what I wanted for my business as far as intentionality and interaction goes--everyone does; we're all just moms who love our babies and feel all the feels that come with it. I thought I could so call "balance" everything and get my editing done when he napped or slept, but I was really just kidding myself and cheating him of the interaction I thought he deserved.
It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom in October that I knew something had to change. My mother-in-law was taking me to the airport so that I could fly home for a couple days during the middle of the week to see my parents. I had weddings on the weekends, so this was my restful time at home that I was looking forward to. I was wearing Luke in my Ergo, carrying a diaper bag, backpack and rolling bag when I got to the counter and they asked for my license.
I knew at that moment I had no idea where it was. Flustered, I looked, and couldn’t find it. I tried to tell myself to say calm so that I could focus, but I pulled it together and just accepted that there was no way I could make the flight back home. I had no idea where my wallet was. Opportunity passed. But it gets worse. I held in my tears until I made it home, plopped my backpack on the countertop and my stomach sank as I looked at the front compartment of it.
I had a feeling. I opened it, and you guessed it...there was my wallet. I had my license THE ENTIRE FREAKING TIME. “I am a CRAZY PERSON!”. Jordan was working that day, but I called him WEEPING alligator tears like he'd never seen or heard before. It was in that moment, it was clear to us that something had to change.
I told Jordan "I just wish there was like a UTD speech grad student down (I used to be an SLP) the street who'd be able to watch him for a few hours or something while I edited?!" I knew in my heart I wanted to feel like I could be mommy 100% yet still love on my sweet couples 100%. This is where I get emotional. And this is where I had to make a heart check: what is it that I feel is my purpose right now? Guys, this answer is different for EVERYONE. And that was hard for me to swallow, if I'm being honest.
A short while later, cue Rhonda. She DMs me on instagram asking a simple question about The Capture Course. I (creepily) saw where her bio said she was a UTD SLP grad student, so I immediately asked, "do you babysit?!". Prayer literally answered. YES! And she and her roommate Elizabeth happen to be the sweetest things on earth (and friends with a past bride of mine Vivian who is ALSO the sweetest thing!). She (and Rhonda) started helping me here and there and come springtime, Rhonda ended up helping me with a set 8-10 hours a week.
Prior this, I was basically coo-coo crazy. I struggled real badly figuring how out to take on the role of a "working mom" yet a "stay at home mom", because that's what it felt like. Confusion, guilt, exhaustion, you name it. I felt it.
Hiring Rhonda to love on my baby instead of worrying if he's going to nap or not and instead of spending double the time getting work done because I was halfway working/halfway playing--was the best thing I could have done for my baby, for my sanity, for my business and for my marriage. This is where the tears come as I think back to where I was last fall and where I feel like I am now. Excuse the cliche, but I feel like I've "found myself". Well, am continuing to.. ;-) I heard someone the other day say that the 20s are like puberty for adults. I had to laugh, because a lot of days, I'm like--YES!!
But for, now I'm able to look ahead at my calendar and know when my editing gets done during the week, so that I can be 100% mommy and 100% working on those set times. Being 100% PRESENT is what I value. Busy and multitasking can stay at bay. I know when I get to work out, have "me" time and most important and funly (made up that word), I know when I get to play wholeheartedly with Luke and without any weight of wondering when I'm going to get X, Y, Z done.
A groove, I guess you could say.
So if you're a babysitter, nanny, Sunday school/MDO teacher, grandmother, mother-in-law or something of the like, YOU are SO valuable, helpful, loved and needed. You can make families thrive, marriages grow and babies happy. I don't think you're told this enough. And incase you never realized, then here you go!
And to all the mamas who understand the same complex I named above, it’s worth it to ask for help or figure out how to find what works for YOU (even if it's a couple hours a week) by visiting with your hubby, your family or even your friends who may swap watching kiddos with you. You’ll know when you’ve found it, and I really hope that you do.
Emily Ley says this in her book Grace, Not Perfection:
"Pursuing your passions, serving others, doing a job you love, earning an income for your family, taking time away from your children to volunteer or learn or teach or, heck, get your hair done--these are all good things. When you contribute and let good things flow into your well, you're not taking away from your kids. In fact, you're filling up with that good, sweet water so you can pour into them later. "
We said “good-bye” to Rhonda this week, and when the tears flooded over my eyes, I realized just how grateful I was for her and for the season I’m in now. I don’t know if I understood it fully until that moment that I told her "bye", but I wanted her and all the helpers out there to know it: we love you! You move mountains for us when we know our littles are entertained and happy!
Rhonda, you’re a rockstar, and you’re going to be the sweetest Speech Language Pathologist out there! Happy graduation day, my dear!
And to all the mamas out there, Happy Mother's Day! May you feel so, so loved, rested and all the sweetest cuddles. I am 100% maximizing my "present" time with my boy.
PS: Let it be known that my mother-in-law who lives near us is BEYOND helpful! She usually watches Luke for all of my weddings or sessions if Jordan is working! BUT that's already a LOT, so Mary is a true rockstar, as well! And Luke ADORES her! I love that they have this sweet time together!