Yesterday I felt impatient. It was one of those days that most (probably all) stay-at-home mom experience occasionally, when you’re frustrated because it feels like you can’t get anything done.
I had been working on a post, and my brain had finally come up with the perfect way to describe something: the paragraph that would finally take my writing from okay to brilliant. Every time I tried to type it out, however, my son would come crawling toward my computer at breakneck speed and an up-to-no-good glint in his big blue eyes. After a few attempts, I sighed and shut the laptop, realizing that my brilliance would have to wait till naptime. By then, my perfect words had vanished, sacrificed on the altar of fifteen repeat readings of Dr. Seuss.
Yesterday, it felt like every time I tried to do something productive—finish the laundry, pay a bill, knock something off my months-old to-do list, respond to an email—my baby had other plans. I had a schedule, but he wasn’t interested in it.
Last night, my husband and I were catching up on Game of Thrones. In this particular episode, something awful happened to a baby, something so terrible that it caused me to stomp out of the room in disgust and shout, “I’m DONE with this show!” for the 100th time. I said to my husband, “This is going to give me nightmares.”
And last night I did have a terrible dream. It wasn’t the dream I was expecting though.
This was a dream about running out of time.
I had to give my baby up. The details are foggy, but for some reason, I had given birth for someone else (a surrogacy of some sort, perhaps), and it was time to hand my son over to his new parents. It was terrible. I was sobbing so hard in the dream that I woke myself up crying.
Last night, I went to bed late (much later than I should have… damn you Game of Thrones!), and I hoped that my son would sleep late this morning. The Law of Baby kicked in, however, so today he woke up at 6 AM.
This morning, though, I didn’t mind.
This morning, in the soft quiet early hours, I held my son in gratitude. I felt his small, warm body snuggle into mine while he drank his bottle. I smelled his sweet head and listened to his breathing and felt so lucky that this moment was mine, this boy is mine, and no one is coming to take him from me.
Time is so fickle.
Sometimes I have too much of it; the day seems too long with not enough energy to fill it up.
Sometimes I have too little of it; I’m in a rush to get somewhere and everything is delaying me.
Sometimes it works for me; my son is fussing in his crib and I think, “I’ll give him 5 more minutes,” and then he settles. He just needed a little time.
Sometimes I have plenty of time and I waste it, or I try to cram too much in, and I feel frustrated and resentful.
Sometimes I’m too preoccupied with it; I count down the minutes till the next nap, when I can just get a little time to myself.
Today, though, the nightmare feeling of running out of time is still lurking around the edge of my brain. I remember that I don’t get extra time.
Today I am reminded that the best moments are not dependent on what my baby is doing or how he is acting. The best moments are the ones when I am present and aware that THIS is my time, this moment is all that I have right now. I might be changing a diaper or fixing a bottle or listening to my baby giggle, but these are all the moments of motherhood. Someday I won’t have these particular moments anymore. They will be replaced by different moments, and I will miss them.
Some days I will be frustrated, and I will wish that I could be more efficient or productive or just get a few minutes alone. That’s okay and normal. I’m still human, after all. I still have to get stuff done, and my baby still doesn’t care about my schedule.
I don’t get extra time, but I’m not running out of it either. These moments are enough–when I remember to stay in them. When I remember to stay present and be right here with my baby (rather than thinking of all the things I could be doing instead), I feel like I have all the time in the world. These are the moments of my motherhood—some are precious, some are silly, some are frustrating, some are mundane, some are joyous—and they are all mine. I have an abundance of moments; I just need to be present for them.
Right now, I will remember how grateful I am to have this baby. He might be fussy at the “wrong” time, sleepy at the “wrong” time, or awake at the “wrong” time, but even the wrong time is still my time. These are still my moments. And right now, I will be grateful for all the moments I have with him.