It’s been interesting to see how I adapt from crazy-busy Stephanie to Mommy Stephanie. While teaching art full time, crazy-busy Stephanie finished her master’s degree, National Board Certification, several art classes, CLAD credential, BTSA program (don’t ask), and California teaching credential in an amazing four years. She also took on many side gigs such as grant writing, technology development, freelance design and teaching projects, mentoring new teachers… you get the idea. Now, I do none of that. I am Mommy Stephanie.
The hardest part about being mommy Stephanie is changing my clock from “normal time” to “Caleb time.” Caleb time is an elusive schedule that I cannot download to my iCal and usually doesn’t even make sense. Caleb time is not orderly, predictable, or even sensical. Just yesterday, I figured out how to make it all work though. I stop, take a breath, and say, “I’m okay with that.”
Let me explain. Today, I was pulling out of the Babies ‘R Us parking lot on my way home. Cue Caleb and his definitive “Oh man, I’m in the car seat ALONE” cry. I have nicknamed Caleb “Velociraptorcaleb” when he does this. I pulled off the road (back into the Babies ‘R Us parking lot), and climbed in the back seat to nurse him, which led to changing his diaper, which led to nursing him again, which led to many jaunts of burping him, rocking him, singing songs, having a one-sided conversation… Then I thought, “Come on Caleb, I want to get home! Hurry up!” Sensing my own frustration, I stopped and was wondering what my big hurry was. Then, I envisioned myself staying longer in the parking lot to care for and love my child and thought, “I’m okay with that.” I stayed another hour just rocking and loving him to sleep. That was one excellent hour and I’m glad I took it. I drove home with a peaceful, sleeping baby in the back.
Here are other things I have decided that I am okay with:
- Being “thicker” than usual for the next several however-many-months-it-takes without obsessing over dieting and crazy exercise.
- Changes in friendships with my friends who are not fans of children.
- Taking the worlds fastest showers.
- Eating cold meals one-handed while standing.
- The extra laundry.
- Sharing tasks with my husband.
- Not cleaning my floors or bathrooms for, well, I won’t tell you how bad it is.
- Only checking my e-mail every other day, replying to some of the e-mails once a week.
- Phone? Call you back? Probably not.
- Being late to things. Or skipping them altogether.
- Having to pick my clothes the day before I wear them and setting them in the bathroom so I can change quickly the next day.
- Not being able to reach my book while holding Caleb, which causes me to sit there and sing broadway musicals in my head to keep entertained. This can take hours.
- Not worrying about what is happening to my art program.
- Calling myself lucky if I accomplish one non-Caleb thing each day.
As you can see, Mommy Stephanie has had to learn a whole new approach to life. It’s calmer and streamlined. Only the most important stuff stays. Everything else gets cancelled or completely ignored altogether. It’s a different kind of life, but I’m okay with that.
My daily reminder to myself: When I am on my deathbed, I will not regret that I didn’t have a cleaner house.