having one child makes time pass quickly. having two children makes the time go by in the blink of an eye. i'm having a hard time believing that we've had maya in our family for one year.
i have whined and complained a great deal this past year (even more than usual). the adjustment from having a fairly self-sufficient, well-behaved boy to having a demanding, crazy baby girl was more than i could take on some days. i had doubts constantly about whether i made the right decision to expand our family.
but things must happen for a reason because, upon reflection, the past year has changed me in some ways ... hopefully for the better. i'm not necessarily a better parent by any means; i'm far less involved with my children than most parents are. and i'm not necessarily a better homemaker either; the chores still pile up and i don't accomplish much on most days. regardless of my lack of progress on these two fronts, however, i feel more balanced.
"find balance in your life" seems to be the mantra for the modern mom. it would be wonderful if we could achieve complete balance, but it's pretty darn close to being impossible. yet, modern moms try and try and try to achieve balance in everything they do, often at the expense of their own sanity. perhaps we try too hard and add more pressure, all in the name of "finding balance." at some point in the last year i gave that up. and you know what? i feel like i'm more balanced because in the back of my mind i don't constantly hear, "do this, do that, accomplish more, be more to more people, etc. etc." as a result, i'm not driving myself crazy when i don't finish everything on my to-do list, when i skip a day (or two or three) of cleaning, when i decide i'd rather read than make dinner. i'm happier, more rested, and more willing to do those chores when i find an extra minute or two. and, as often as i feel like i'm just going to lose it, i don't.
the last year has taught me to see the bigger picture. sure i have lots of bad days, but i just tell myself, "this too shall pass." and it does. i'm learning to see past the minutiae of every last gosh darn thing and embrace the imperfections of life. it's always been part of my personality to dwell on the negative of the past; minor, trivial things would haunt me forever. i was holding myself back from seeing the joy in today and the potential of tomorrow.
having maya in my life reminds me everyday that being a parent is the toughest job in the world. what could be more important, demanding, and agonizing than trying to raise a decent human being? are we making the right choices? what more can we do? but then i look at maya, and all she wants is to be loved; for us to smile at her, roll the ball around for her, feed her, take her outside for a walk, and sing to her. and is that difficult? nope. just doing those things will probably help her to become a decent human being more than teaching her the alphabet, moving to a neighborhood with a good school district, or signing her up for tons of classes. i realize those things could help her future, but the fundamental thing about being a good parent is to be there for your child(ren).
so, for the next year, and the many years that follow, that's what i'll try to do for maya and ian. it took me six years of being a parent to figure this out. and i honestly believe that i may not have realized this if i hadn't had a second child. for that, i'm grateful to my children: to ian for putting up with me (and my mistakes) for the last six years, and to maya for teaching me to be a better parent.