Working Mom of Littles, here. This moniker is held by so many women I know and love and respect. Sub out the two adjectives and it applies to almost every woman I know. This year, I’m running a school for the first time. It is the hardest I have ever worked in my life, but it’s also the happiest I have ever been with my job. Alongside my husband, I am raising two tiny citizens who are on track to be strong and opinionated, just like their mama. Let’s talk about my girls…
Elizabeth, you don’t go five minutes without voicing an opinion about something. You want so much, so many things. Whatever we are doing, you want to talk about what we will do next. At breakfast, you ask me what we are having for lunch. When we are at the park, you ask where we will go next. On Monday, you ask when is the next day off. You are such a miniature version of me that it freaks me out sometimes. Whenever I tell Grandma about things you do and say, or whenever she watches you play, she just laughs at how hard it is to parent you because she knows. She parented me. But also true to my form, you love so hard. You are the first to ask for a cuddle. And you don’t just cuddle–you form a lanky, 37-lb human blanket because you want to feel the cuddle with your whole body. You give so much spontaneous affection, regularly calling out how much you love us and that we are the best mommy and daddy ever. Seriously, YOU are the one who is the best. I’ve been obsessed with you since the day you were born, and you prove to me over and over that this long, exhausting road of motherhood is worth every single exhausted second. Your imagination is magical–that creativity comes from your daddy. You are so smart, so beautiful, so funny.
Caroline, you are changing every day, choosing each day to show us another glimpse into who you are going to be. You jabber nonstop in your own language, but we are all learning to understand what you are saying. You play chase, peekaboo, and you are learning body parts. Right now, all you have fully mastered is where is your belly, so round and beautiful and perfect. You pull up your shirt and rub it and it’s the most perfect thing I’ve ever seen. You believe strongly in waking up in the 5am hour most days, and you scream your head off until we give you a bottle. As long as we keep you fed and on a schedule and around your sister, you are good as gold all day long. Your laugh is electric and your smile fills my heart. You squeal every single time I come pick you up, running toward me as fast as your little legs can go. Yesterday you struggled with a task that you mastered today. You are growing so fast that it takes my breath away. My last baby, you are. I can’t get enough of you and your magic.
These days, though they are exhausting, they are magical. After ten hours of leading a school each day, I rush to pick them up and soak up as much time as I can before putting them to bed. Each weekend is filled with their wants and needs, followed by household demands and work schedules that creep into days off. There is little time for Jon or me as individuals or as a couple, but we are working so damn hard to be present and enjoy this time with our small children and our demanding jobs. And when it feels like it’s about to be too much, it’s never anything that hiring a babysitter and going on a date can’t fix. I am 100% certain that I will look back on this time and miss my babies being babies.
I keep thinking about a line I read on my first maternity leave: The days are long but the years are short. This is the hardest season of life so far in my 37 years, but it’s also the most rewarding and the sweetest. I am tired, but I am thankful.