I hear the toaster pop. My six-year-old shouts at me that his waffles are ready as I wrestle a busy nine-month-old baby into a diaper on the living room floor. Newly crawling, I flip him over and he heads straight for the staircase. We have to get the gates up, like, now. I add this to the invisible list that floats above my head day and night.
“Waffles!” my six-year-old chimes in again. I mentally remind myself of the one time he tried to get them himself in the chaos of it all. He burnt his precious little hand. Oh, the guilt. I pick up the baby and begin prepping breakfast with one hand. “I’m nervous for school today,” he tells me with uncertain eyes. We’ve been working through some very big feelings, having started kindergarten amidst a global pandemic. The anxiety just won’t leave us alone. I take his hand in mine, just as the baby spits up down my shirt. “Hold on, I got it,” I plead to him. He reluctantly turns to his waffles.
As I baby wipe clean us both, I hear my four-year-old daughter at the top of the stairs. “Mom. MOM!” She woke up cranky and I know she has no plans of coming down those steps unless I come up first. I set the baby in his bouncer, offer up a teething toy, and head up the stairs. He promptly tosses the toy and begins to loudly protest my departure from his line of sight. I’ll be right back, baby. Ooh, grab a non-spit-up covered onesie while I’m upstairs.
As I reach her room I discover a familiar scene. She’s pulled dozens of dresses off their hangers searching for a specific one. She declares that she wants the one with a unicorn on it but NOT the long sleeve one. I search the backed-up laundry files of my tired brain and it spits out a less than desired result. The dress is in the washer. Wet. As I pick up alternate options from the floor and do my best to model them for her, I hear the baby getting increasingly impatient.
I see my husband come down the hallway, ready for work. I’m relieved to see his handsome face, his clean masculine scent filling the air. My admiration for his general freshness only points out my three-day-old messy bun, wrinkled pajama pants, and an old sweatshirt, borrowed from him. Look at him, and look at me. Ugh. I miss you. Heck, I miss me.
Later that night, after every last ounce of chaos has been squeezed from the day, all the hoops jumped through, all the energy in my body spent, I lay in bed with my six-year-old. I’ve been laying in bed with him until he’s asleep recently, assuring him his anxiety is no match for his mama. I watch his chest rise as he breathes slowly into a deep sleep. I notice his little hand resting on his comforter, one finger giving the slightest twitch. That hand used to be so tiny, resting on my chest each night. He’s growing so fast. I can’t help but think is there enough of me… for you?
I open my daughter’s door and see that she’s fallen asleep with the lights on again. I think back to when she used to sleep in her little footed pajamas, bottom in the air. Tonight she has fallen asleep amidst a sea of books, stickers, and makeup. She’s changing at the speed of light. Is there enough of me… for you?
I peek in at the baby, sleeping like a rock after a rough night of sleep training. I absolutely hate the sound of him crying for me, but I’m exhausted after nine months of broken sleep. I know the clock is ticking on my baby years. Is there enough of me… for you?
I finally make my way downstairs and see my husband, washing bottles in the kitchen. Swoon. I look at him with the “I’m so tired I could die” expression. He pours me a glass of wine. At the end of each day, I look at my best friend and thank my lucky stars I share my life with him. But it’s constantly there. Is there enough of me… for you?
It’s 11:45 PM. I crawl into bed and think about all my people sleeping soundly warm in their beds, including our 10-year-old golden doodle, softly snoring at my feet. I feel depleted, absolutely drained of both physical and mental energy. In this phase, in this wild fleeting moment of parenthood, I doubt if there’s enough of me to go around. To support each of these amazing souls with the passion they so deserve. It’s the blessing and the curse of motherhood, I suppose. I can tell you one thing, however. I’ll get up tomorrow, full(ish) tank, and do it all again. Enough of me for you.