Nearly nine months into being a stay-at-home parent, I feel like I’ve got the hang of things. Rowan has a pretty good schedule going. Some people would be bored with the monotony of a baby’s schedule, but I thrive on it. I’m also happy to say naps are no longer the bane of either our existence (although night wakings are still an issue). Best of all, though, is the little personality that’s starting to bud. Since I’m confident about how things are going, of course that means everything is about to change.
The tide already started to turn. Rowan simultaneously cut his first tooth, learned how to crawl, and mastered sitting up by himself. Fortunately, Arthur witnessed these achievements in person. Now he’s in Boston while the second tooth comes in and Rowan’s growing more ambitious and frustrated with his mobility (or lack thereof).
Most days, I wouldn’t trade spots with anybody. Spending all day with my little boy is my dream come true. But—come on, you knew there would be a “but”!—I do have days where I miss being able to mentally check out and take leave; days when I’m overwhelmed, anxious, and in desperate need of just vegging out. But as any mother will tell you (whether you stay at home or have a job), there are no sick days in parenthood. Your baby doesn’t care if you’re physically worn out or emotionally drained. He or she relies on you too heavily to give you a day pass. So you forge on.
I recently had one of those days where I felt stretched too thin. Arthur had flown out that morning, and Rowan was having a tough time of teething and practicing his new skills. But I needed to tie up loose ends for our new car. I couldn’t find the title for our old one, which needed to get to the dealer ASAP. I needed to transfer our city sticker from the old to new car, but I couldn’t do that without having the original sticker (which of course was on the old car at the dealer). Then a present arrived for Rowan, which happened to be a toy car and required assembly. Forty minutes, twenty-one screws, ten stickers, and one mom’s patience later, it was complete.
I was so fed up with cars that day I didn’t care if I never saw one again. But when Rowan got in the driver’s seat of his brand new wheels, his smile let me know how grateful he was for my time and effort. While it didn’t erase the stress, it certainly improved my mood.
And it reminded me that balancing life with a baby is not my burden, it is my gift, one that I enthusiastically welcomed. The days where I’m down are few and far between. The days where I laugh and smile and can’t even believe how lucky I am to be Rowan’s mom haven’t stopped—the emotions just keep getting stronger.
So at the end of the day, as exhausted as I am, I look forward to what will happen the next. Bring it on!