For me, it seems like I spend a lot of time these days dwelling on the concept of “time” – too little, too much, not in the right areas, etc. Time is one of the hardest, yet most important, areas of ones life to get right (or close to it). Everyone goes through various seasons of life, and in these seasons refinement happens. As a wife and a mother, I find myself longing for “me” time – time by myself to do anything, “we” time – time with my husband to reconnect, and “us” time – time together as a family focusing on only family. However, finding the space in the ever-busy-getting-busier-by-the-day schedule of the Wingler household is a next to impossible task. It’s discouraging sometimes to realize that things aren’t going to slow down any time soon with the addition of Miss Nellie into our world in the next six weeks or less. While I’m anxiously awaiting her arrival, I’m also wishing I could push it back a few months (or a few years) till I feel more settled into my life and routines. I’m sure most of you reading this can certainly relate to this issue of time!!
It’s funny to me to think back on the past several years of my life because I was ALWAYS busy – working two jobs, going to school, and going through a divorce were the big items on my plate. At the time, I thought about how I could not fit one more stinkin’ thing on my plate! But even though my life was busy, it wasn’t “full”. I still found time to have dinner with friends, relax in my apartment with my cats, do homework, etc. I even found time to start dating again! But over the course of the past two years since Wade and I met and began our family I have never felt busier and my life has never been more full.
I’ve talked to several of my close girlfriends who are now SAHMs after having careers prior to becoming mothers, and they all express that they can’t believe how time consuming the job of being a mother actually is. There are a few other common threads: we are lonely, we are exhausted, we miss our husbands, we long to be better moms/wives/friends, and we never have enough time to do the things we wish we could do. Isn’t this so interesting? So what do we do? How do we have time to shower AND do laundry AND teach our babies new skills AND find time for meaningful adult interactions? How do we save enough of ourselves throughout the day so that at the end of the night when we’re in bed with our husbands we actually have the energy and desire to have intimate time? How do we find the balance between missing our former professional roles and embracing our current role as “mom”? How do we respect our instincts as mothers while trying to find a few minutes in our days to ourselves?
Yesterday, one of my dearest friends voxed me, and she started off by telling me that she missed me and missed our time together while I was interning at her place of employment. It was such a sweet message, and it touched my heart to hear her words. I could only think of one response – “I MISS ME, TOO!”. I miss me. I miss who I was and what I had time for prior to becoming a mom. That simple fact is one of the hardest struggles in my world right now. When she voxed me back, though, she seriously said something incredibly profound that has stuck with me. She said, “Jen, I know that you feel like you are only a mom right now, but you’re more than that to others around you. The pendulum has swung and stuck so that you are mostly a mom right now and that’s where you’re most needed, BUT there will come a time before you know it when the pendulum swings back towards the opposite side of the clock and you will regain a lot of what you’re missing so much now.” WISE!!!! What a beautiful analogy of life and time. While I’m longing for my pendulum to be more in the middle, I also need to embrace the fact that I will only be a mom with small babies for a short period of time, and before I know it Jake and Nellie will be in school. I’m sure that I’ll miss them like crazy when I’m not the person attending to each one of their needs on a daily basis.
So, until my life is a little more balanced, time will feel stagnant and fleeting at the same time. I’ll feel lonely and tired and spent while feeling thankful and important and strong. This season of my life as a mother of young babies is refining me and every relationship I am in at this moment. It is defining me now, but it is not the only thing that I am. The challenge has been and will continue to be living in the moment and appreciating as many of the minutes of each day as I can because before I know it my children will be grown, and I’ll be wishing I could turn back the hands of time.