Being a part of a family is simultaneously the most amazing and the most taxing thing in the world sometimes. One minute your daughter is shakily taking her first steps towards you just so she can give you a hug, and the next her diaper implodes to create a monster mess in the middle of the living room. And then when you hastily jerk at the buttons of her onesie too hard, the “monster mess” splatters onto your brand-new sweater. No, seriously, that happened.
But as everyone says, you would put up with 1000 tough moments for just 10 of the good ones. Because you don’t fully understand the term “my cup runneth over” until your child smiles at you. Or looks at you like, “Hey, mom, you’re the coolest, just so you know.” Here’s where it gets tricky though. How do you balance maintaining everything you want for your little one with everything you want for your own life? Because they are separate entities, right? As women, we have more on our plates than anyone knows, and yet we’re constantly worried about the “plates” of others. It’s why everyone’s advice is to “take care of yourself”, but nobody really says how. Are we all sitting through the occasional pedicure or precious moment to ourselves just batting away the feelings of guilt?
My latest mommy-time vs. me-time dilemma is whether or not I should return to grad school to finish my Master’s. It’s an online program through Gonzaga University, so I’m thankful that it would be completely flexible. I’ve only got about a year left before I could receive my degree, and it kills me to think of quitting at something midway through. But am I stretching myself too thin? Is it fair to Cora to spend time away from her while I work towards a degree that may or may not come in handy in the future? Sure, it would be great to have that piece of paper, but what if I end up choosing being a stay-at-home mom over a career? Then will it have been worth it to have spent four hours hacking out that essay when I could have been playing with her?
Of course, there is the argument that she will never remember these days, but someday she will ask about my school, and how I did, and how will I feel if I have to say, “Well, Mom decided not to finish her school, but you should stick with it!” What it comes down to is, do you have to choose between nurturing the dreams and development of your little one and your own dreams? How do you make sure everyone else is happy and healthy but still give yourself the luxury of going after what you want?