Friday, June 25, 2010

The Grass is Always Greener

The old adage “The grass is always greener on the other side” could not be more profound in my life than right now. Why is it that no matter what, many human beings just can’t seem to be happy in the moment—right here, right now? Well, I am definitely human.

I have this issue I deal with on a daily basis no matter what my situation: I want to be a full-time professional, and I also want to be a full-time mom (not to mention an entrepreneur on the side!). And I want to always be the best at both! But I’m not sure it’s possible for these two worlds to come together in perfection.

As you know, I started a new job this week, whereas for the past eight months, I was freelancing and at home with Makensie. While at home, I wasted a lot of time worrying about the fact that I wasn’t working enough and needed to find a full-time job to support my kid. Now that I’m back at work (and grateful to be here and loving it, for the most part), I’m spending too much time wishing I were at home with Kensie. See my dilemma?

Many mothers (fathers, too, I presume) struggle with this dichotomy on a daily basis. How can you be your best on the job when you know you’re missing out on so much at home? How can you be at home with your child and enjoy every single moment of your time with her when you want or need to get back to work? It’s a constant struggle, and one that weighs heavily on this single mom.

My biggest fear heading back to work is simple: I’ve worked hard these last eight months building a strong relationship with my daughter, and I don’t want to lose that. Kensie and I spent nearly every moment together—at the pool, with friends and family, at the zoo, on trips here and there. I made a point to get her out nearly every day, and we spent a lot of real quality time bonding with not only one another but with my parents, and my friends and their kids. Kensie and I really became close, and I am just not ready to lose that connection! But already, only one week in, I can see things beginning to change.

The first incident was the other night when Kensie wanted her Nana to put her to bed, not me. Ouch. Then yesterday, I left for work just after K got up, and I didn’t see her again until this morning (it was girls’ night out last night, and don’t get me started on how hard it is to have a social life in this mix!). This morning, instead of calling for me when she woke, Kensie called for my mom. Sniff. This thing is tough!

I don’t know if these recent happenings are a sign of what’s to come (the collapse of everything I’ve worked toward since the day of her birth!). Yes, I can be dramatic. Or maybe it’s just a normal adjustment that Makensie and I must endure to prepare us for this new chapter in our lives. Whatever it is, I know that we are lucky in so many ways, and I am grateful for our life. Instead of a stranger caring for her five days a week, Kensie gets to begin preschool and spend lots of extra time with her grandparents. Lucky kid! Instead of me spending all of my hard-earned money on daycare and babysitters and rent, I am lucky to be able to tuck some of it away for a rainy day instead (thanks Mom and Dad!).

The truth is, whether at home or working full time, in my eyes, nothing will ever be good enough for my girl. Makensie, she will adapt to whatever life throws at her. She’s happy, healthy, and strong at the ripe old age of (nearly) three, and she has lots of people around her who love her to pieces. But me, I will suffer. I will think about Kensie constantly, tear up when I get a picture text of her riding her bike playfully, feel cheated every time she chooses her Nana over me, and regret every moment I miss while away from her. But I will also be doing what is necessary to raise a gracious, grateful, grounded human being, one who understands that life is not always what you expect it to be and adapts. With that in mind, I can be at ease in my current situation. Here’s hoping the turbulence of the past couple of years is beginning to settle.