For the most part, transitioning into motherhood was a very natural thing to me. I wasn’t overly cautious or concerned about germs and allowing others to hold my baby didn’t send me into fits of anxiety. I had no problem letting my infant cry it out when he needed to sleep and I never felt guilty leaving him with a babysitter or grandparent so I could sneak away for a date with my husband.
But there was an area where I felt almost completely inept as a mother, and that was in taking care of my child alone if Lee had to travel. Thankfully he did not travel often, but when he did, I almost always asked one of the grandmothers to come stay with me because I did not think I could handle solo parenting, even for a weekend.
I had no idea, friends, how easy it was back then. No idea! My child slept for twelve hours, napped twice a day and could not argue with me. What the heck was I afraid of?!
Last October, Lee began a new job. Yes…another new job. We like to keep things exciting around here. When he began this new venture, I knew he would have to travel more and the old me – the one who thinks she is incapable of flying this ship solo - had a slight panic attack.
But you know what? I’ve got this. I have got it.
Moving from St. Louis to Florida a year and a half ago was one of the hardest things we have ever done, but as we exit the fire and fog of the year, I see so many good things that have come out of it.
Our marriage is stronger.
Our family is stronger.
We are no longer afraid of risk.
We no longer feel confined by the trappings of comfort.
We have seen and experienced God in a whole new way.
And for me, personally, I realized I’m a heckuva lot stronger than I ever gave myself credit for.
We moved to Florida and in the midst of an emotional crisis, I somehow managed to band my little family together. Homeschooling the kids for that first year here, while by far one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, allowed me to fall in love with being with them. It gave me the opportunity to flex my mommy wings and see that flying this ship isn’t so bad after all.
And while I know that putting our children back in school was the right decision, there is a big (HUGE) part of me that really, really misses homeschooling. I miss being with them every day. Yes, I like the time I have to myself, but when I put my kids back on the bus this morning, I had to swallow hard over the lump in my throat.
Lee’s been at his new job for three months now and I have never seen my husband so happy in work. In all the years I’ve known him, I’ve never seen his eyes light up the way they do with this job. He loves what he is doing and I love how happy he is.
The travel is intense – for right now, anyway. For the next three months, Lee will likely be traveling three-five days every week. Is this ideal? No, not in the slightest, but this type of intense traveling will be temporary and so, once again, I am digging in my heels, clenching my teeth and pep talking my way through the days.
Nine years ago I couldn’t have done this – I couldn’t have handled him being gone this much.
Five years ago I couldn’t have handled this.
Three years ago I couldn’t have handled this…not emotionally. I would have been a basket case…and I probably would have gained a rather unhealthy dependancy on Nutella to get me through my days.
But God has walked us through the fire and prepared us, prepared me, for such a time as this. Do I like flying solo this often? No. Does Lee like traveling this much? No.
But I’m stronger than I give myself credit, we are happy and thriving and we are going to be just fine.
And…I have a massive jar of Nutella if the days get to be a little too overwhelming. (Yes, my dad got us another twelve pound jug of Nutella for Christmas…because he loves me.)
So Mama’s, if you’re feeling weary and tired and alone, don’t forget – you’ve got this. You can do it. You’re stronger than you think. And a spoonful of Nutella always makes things a little better.