I am consumed with my sons. I inhale “Jackson” and exhale “Justus.” And not for a moment do I regret that. They are my life, my world, and my heart. What I struggle with is finding a balance between them and everything else. I recently wrote about my desire to reconnect with myself; however, I’m finding that I don’t really know how. Yesterday two things happened that just reinforced the fact that I have to focus on finding that elusive balance in my life.
Thing 1: For the first time in 15 years at my job I received a “not-so-great” performance review. As I walked out of my boss’s office, ears ringing, heart pounding, my initial reaction was one of defense. However, as the day went on, I began to honestly reflect on my performance over the past year. When I looked at the situation objectively, I had to admit that I was in fact a “not-so-great” employee. I was on maternity leave for the beginning of the year, and when I came back physically I wasn’t fully there mentally, then just a few short months later came the inescapable daycare-associated sickness, and I was constantly leaving work early or coming in late for pediatrician appointments. Definitely not the most productive year in my career.
Thing 2: This past weekend my mother was cleaning out her garage and gave me a big plastic container of some of my old stuff she had been storing for me. Yesterday I opened it, assuming most of the contents would be chucked in the garbage (I could really use this big plastic container for Justus’s clothes…) and to my surprise what I found in there left my in tears. The first thing I pulled out was a scrap-book one of my friends made about us. At first, I didn’t even recognize it. But as I started going through it, seeing her familiar, loopy handwriting, looking at pictures of two crazy girlfriends smiling back up at me, it made me realize just how far removed I was from that life. It also made me realize how much I miss that closeness I had with friends. A closeness that cannot be replaced with a mother/child relationship.
So here’s where I am in the quest to find a healthy balance in my life: I recognize that my role as ‘Mom’ is all-consuming now. I also recognize the necessity for a healthy balance between the Mom me and all the other me’s: wife, friend, employee, daughter, sister, etc. But how? It just leaves me with more questions than answers. How do you disconnect from being a mom? Is that even possible? And if it is, doesn’t that mean you’re being selfish? Don’t your children deserve all of you? What’s the answer? (seriously, I’m asking.)