Happy Valentine’s Day

Ah, February 14th.

The me of years past would have looked forward to this post. I probably would have posted a favorite poem, maybe written a little about Valentine’s Day 1991, when my husband and I dated the first time. We were still kids then, and things were so easy.

I would have followed it up with photos of the carefully crafted dark & white chocolate tuxedo-clad strawberries I would have made, if I had the time. Then, I would have posted the photos of the raspberry cream chicken over puff pastry we had on Saturday at Emma’s Food for Life.

Except I spent too much time coaxing my son into eating his quinoa, apple and raspberry stuffed portabello to get a decent shot of any of the food.

Don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed our Valentine’s Day themed weekend this year. My husband and I unknowingly gifted each other with an hour-long therapeutic massage from the same therapist (can’t wait to cash that sucker in!)  It was fun to take our son out to dinner, and we had some wine and chocolate after his bedtime, which is always enough to soothe my weary soul, at least a little.

But this year was a little different for me.

I took a long weekend so I could get some things done around the house, and just enjoy some time with my baby. I had a To-Do list a mile long, and barely touched it. I spent some serious QT with my boy, and reconnected with him a little by slowing down and just enjoying the details of our days together. He cut 2 teeth and is working on 2 (or 4?) more, which I didn’t even know were coming. I taught him a new word – bubble – during Saturday’s bath, and somewhere over the weekend he picked up a funny new face I haven’t seen before. The best part? He just seemed more relaxed and didn’t cling to me at bedtime like he’s been doing for weeks.

While all those things made me happy, they made my heart heavy, too. If that much happens in a few short days, how much am I missing in the many long days that I’m at work? I never wanted to be a stay at home mom, but I never wanted to be a 50-hr a week career mom, either. I hate to complain, really I do, because I know so many people who don’t have a steady job to go to every day. I should feel grateful, right?

I’m beginning to understand the struggle so many women face every day. I thought I knew, but now I really know.

And, in the next few months, we plan to put our house on the market and look for a new one. I’m also enrolling in school. And we want another baby…now.

Couple all of these goals and commitments with the priorities I’ve set for our health and well-being (breastfeeding, cloth diapering, cooking from scratch, growing our food, etc.) and it all just doesn’t jive. Even if I could pull it all off, if I do a lousy job of it, what’s the point?

For the first time in my life, I am being forced to admit that I just can’t handle it all. The Type A, never-quite-good-enough-to-meet-my-own-expectations me is feeling really disappointed with myself – as a mom. It’s a feeling that would usually inspire me to just push through, but pushing myself beyond my limits has a different consequence now. It’s not just me who has to deal with the stress now. Now, my little boy suffers.

And my husband. Can’t forget about the hubs, either.

So, something has to give. I’m not sure what that is, but I’ve gotta figure it out. Soon.

If anyone out there has some sage advice on finding that elusive balance that I can’t seem to master, please share! I’d love to hear from some other moms (or dads) on the subject.

And, despite my big downer post, I really do wish you all a very happy Valentine’s Day, and I hope you get to spend some time with those you love.

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