The Things She Carried… and Barely Used
I’ve been unpacking after a week-long trip to my mom’s house. Among the items I’m pulling out of my backpack: 2 nonfiction books that I’ve been wanting to read, 2 copies of The New Yorker, 1 new legal pad for writing, plus clothes for running and yoga.
I barely cracked open the books and magazines. The legal pad is as clean as ever. The workout clothes are still neatly folded and fresh smelling. I’m exhausted, and I’m laughing at myself. After almost 5 years of motherhood, why do I still hold on to the hope that I’ll be able to catch up on reading, writing, and exercise when I’m traveling with my kids? Why do I insist on bringing all of these things with me – just in case! – on top of all of the other many pounds of car seats, travel crib, diapers, clothes, snacks, and books and toys? Will I ever learn?
This feels like a little representation of what motherhood is to me. It fills up my life so much – in good ways and in challenging ways – and I never accomplish as much as I set out to do. I have to remind myself that at this stage, caring for my kids is a lot, and it is enough. I will keep trying to carve out time for myself, so that I can do the things that I love, but I won’t beat myself up over it if my plans sometimes fall through.
Our trip was wonderful, though. It was great to catch up with my mom and extended family. It was just the kids and me, and my first time flying with both of them. Both Cee and BabyM did really well. Cee loves traveling now and packed lots of entertainment for herself on the flight. BabyM is an amazingly good-natured and flexible baby (I know this, because Cee wasn’t), and he handled traveling with ease. Even when he was wired and awake long past his bedtime on our last flight, he was still grinning at the people sitting around us and craning his body to catch glimpses of computer screens and seatbelt signs. Before that, there was about an hour on one flight when BabyM was sleeping and Cee was happily occupied with coloring and the iPad, and I DID read a full article from The New Yorker. If you’ve traveled with little kids, you know what a feat this is. I know it may not happen again for 2-3 years.
And now, I’m glad to be home and to have a little help with childcare so that I can catch up on things. Like, for example, I published a book last week! And now I better get to work promoting it. More soon!
P.S. – The giveaway for my book on the blog is now closed. The two randomly chosen winners were Jenny B. (comment #30) and Meghan (#48). I’ve heard from Jenny, but Meghan, if you’re reading this, I sent you an email. Write me back with your address! The GoodReads giveaway is still open. Go put your name in that hat – I’d love to see more entries over there!