Then I haul ass to prepare my "space." Depending on mood and energy level and whether or not I had time to eat lunch, this could mean preparing my smoothie, scrolling for my favorite radio station, grabbing a blanket, locating my computer charger or searching for my latest read (the kids hide my books sometimes). More often than not, it is a compilation of all of these things. I sit in the dining room overlooking the giant pond in the backyard or cozy up on the couch and begin my work.
The work of finding peace.
Being the boss of my own life at the moment is pretty wonderful. I make the schedule, there is no morning/evening commute home, no random co-workers stealing my lunch from the fridge, no specific metrics to live up to each day or month and no quarterly performance reviews to sit through. Being the boss means that I can decide where I want to go, when I want to go. If it's a brilliantly blue sky, warm breeze kind of day, I can pack a picnic and head to the park or walk the zoo or sit out by the lake- no calling in "sick" necessary.
But as with every job in life, there are the downsides. I may make the master schedule, but there are times when it gets really blown off track depending on my "employees" (aka kids) moods, health or energy levels. There aren't random co-workers taking my yogurt, but there are kids fighting for a bite of my sandwich only to later chuck it on the floor in front of me (and of course, it's always when it's something really good that I didn't want to share in the first place). Something I never foresaw pre-SAHM, but the lack of specific metrics every day can be more pressure than when I did have them. Like, what defines my success level? That the kids are alive at the end of every day? Or that I didn't lose my cool and blow up at them? Or perhaps that I fed them organic and healthy vs. Cheetos and countless PB&J's? I don't know the answer. There isn't really a definable one. Some say, as long as your kids are happy. My kids would be very happy to take permanent marker to my walls and overflow the sinks and toilets. Those these things probably wouldn't measure up to success. Yes, being the boss is fantastic when the weather's perfect and everyone's generally in a good mood and I don't have to worry about calling in sick. The flip side is when I am actually sick. There is no one to bail me out or take over my work. Of course, on those days, the job is more demanding than ever. But the show must go on, right?
Despite the difficulties of the job, it is a good one. I like to think it's a noble one, though it doesn't always feel that way. It is demanding work, tiring work, sometimes even lonely work. But it is good work. Certainly, honest work. There is no pretension, no facade. I am without a doubt, the most authentic me when I'm with my kids all day.
The hour and a half or two hours in the middle of the day that bring calm and quiet... I need every last minute of it. As they are recharging, so am I. I like to think of it like halftime in the Super Bowl. The first half of the day might have been pure hell- kids screaming, me losing patience, messes everywhere like small, blazing grass fires. Everything needing to be done at once. Everything requiring my immediate attention. But then it all goes silent. Nothing seems quite so impossible anymore. Nothing seems quite as loud in my head. I can breathe, regain composure, put my thoughts together. I often give myself pep talks if it's been a challenging day; which the threes have been an every day battle of sorts. I tell myself that I am doing okay. That we're going to make it through the speed bumps. That yes, there is more patience, more love, more to give, just when I'm wondering if I'm all dried up for the day. I repeat my mantra like I wrote above, "It is demanding work, tiring work, sometimes even lonely work. But it is good work." And then they wake and I'm back in the game. Second half. Second chance to be better.
The work of finding peace amidst the chaos is sometimes the hardest work I've ever done, but I'd like to think I'm doing a good job trying.