Today is the first day of my third week at my new job. It is a mixed blessing. I am thankful for the income and all, but the two weeks I had home, unemployed, were heaven.
For those two weeks, I was a great mom. I started my day by putting them through their chores, and it wasn't a fight because I praised them so much for their lopsided beds that they made and for their mostly picked-up toys and for doing their homework that they needed very little prodding. Then we did something special--a park, swimming at the Y, a picnic lunch in the backyard, or a movie. I had plenty of time to read to them and hug them and kiss them, and they were all smiles and sweetness. They bloomed. And I got to be part of it.
I have over two hours to drive each day, and last Friday, with traffic, it was a total of 3 1/2 hours. When you add the 8 hours of working, it is a long, long day. When I get home, I am tired and parenting is the last thing I want to do. Let alone write or blog or exercise or do anything to take care of myself. I eat dinner, put the kids to bed, grab a shower, and tumble into bed myself. And all that made heaven wonderful is forgotten.
What aches the most is watching the girls diminish. Rowena, my middle child, looks at me with these big sorrowful eyes when I come home. She just wants me to hold her and never let go. And Kaylee hides and refuses to join me for reading with her sisters. Only Makani with her independence seems to be just fine. Except that she wants to talk my ear off when I get home. She tells me about every detail about her day.
So I am struggling to learn balance in my life. Balance for myself, my family, my work, and my writing. I wrote advice on nurturing the muse, and I'm trying to follow my wisdom. It means that I cannot write as much as I want to, but the writing will always be there when the children are asleep or when I wake up in the morning. I refuse to run myself ragged as I did at my last job--I'm not supergirl, you know.
I force myself to squeeze in some exercise, and I go to bed early. And I cry inside that I can't do it all.