Friday, September 13, 2013
The switch from extremely part-time working mom to full time working mom has been nothing short of a challenge and I'm only a week into it (Lord, help me!). I come home from work exhausted most nights, because I was up late the night before doing homework. I am trying to figure out how to juggle cooking dinner on the nights Emma is with me (even though every fiber of my being wants to eat out), homework, bath time, and quality time. Add laundry, keeping my house semi-presentable, after work errands, our "parenting plan", and finding time to pay my bills to the list, and I feel like I'm am being pulled 1,000 different ways. You working moms a.k.a professional ring masters who have done it from day #1 or who have mastered it with multiple kids get my deepest respect. Seriously. <insert standing ovation here>. I'm sure I'll eventually get it figured out, but we have definitely struggled this first week. When every fiber of my being wants to go home, and lie down, I try to remind myself to take a minute and just focus on her. I try to given in to her eager question to play with her or read her a book. I remind myself to listen to her stories, because there's always a quiz later. I don't always do the things I should. I fail everyday. And sometimes, like yesterday, on a particularly distracted evening, life has a funny way of reminding me to take a time out.
After work, I went and picked Emma up from the babysitter. We ran to Wal-Mart to get her passport picture made, and ended up spending WAY to long in a store that gives me WAY too much anxiety right now. We got the pictures and a birthday gift for my cousin's little girl, and we also purchased one of those Roku players to stream our Netflix over our wifi. I have been wanting one all summer, and I finally broke down and bought one (Happy birthday to me!). Once we finally checked out and went home, I decided to simultaneously set up the Roku player, make dinner (bad idea!), and dodge Emma's requests to play doctor with her. I got the Roku player set up, got Emma to play doctor with one of her babies, and burned dinner...yep. Two out of three, right?! Anyway, all through dinner, Emma was still asking me to play doctor and all I could think about was taking a shower and washing my hair which was a dirty, oily mess because I didn't have time to wash it yesterday morning. My mind was not interested in playing doctor. I cleaned up the dinner dishes and managed to appease Emma by telling her I'd paint her nails ONCE I got out of the shower. She agreed and went to play in her room. I went in my room and proceeded to remove my toe nail polish so I could paint my nails too after I got out of the shower. And that's when it happened:
"Mom...", Emma says from her bedroom.
"Yes, Emma...", I said distractedly as I was taking off my nail polish.
She came around the corner into my room, "I cut my hair".
Well, THAT got my attention!
"What?!" I said as I search her head for missing pieces. Then I see it.
A chunk next to her right ear had been cut to right below her chin. My mouth fell open.
For those of you who don't know. Emma has beautiful red-blonde hair that falls to right about the middle of her back. It is the same length all over, even in the front. We do our best to keep it out of her face, but for months I have been trying to get Emma to let me cut it to get rid of the stringy baby hair on the bottom, and allow her thicker hair to grow in. She has ardently refused, because she is currently locked in a power struggle with Rapunzel for the longest hair. I have tried to talk her into it. My sisters have tried to talk her into it. But she always says no, and doesn't seem to pay much attention to us. Riiiiiight.
It literally took every fiber of my being in that initial moment to NOT turn into a raving lunatic. She was crying, because she felt so bad, and she kept saying, "But Mom, Faith said if I cut my hair it will grow longer. Faith wouldn't lie to me." and "Mom, why isn't it growing?". Ugh. I realized I was not allowed to be mad in that moment. So, I called my mom, sent pictures to my sister, Randi and together we assessed the situation. All the while Emma held on tightly to me while little tears ran down her face. After a few minutes, I regrouped and realized it could of been A LOT worse. No, I did not need to chop all her hair off to same length RIGHT THIS MINUTE, and I really didn't need to punish her because she already felt so bad. So, we put the scissors up high, talked about how only grown ups are allowed to cut our hair, and changed into our PJ's. I cuddled her on my lap through her snack and read her a few books, and after I put her to bed...I looked at the pictures and I laughed. It's just hair. Beautiful hair. And it would grow back...eventually.
It's funny the things life throws at us to put things into perspective. That make us take a time out and a deep breath. In the middle of my mess, motherhood never ceases to do just that for me. Watching Emma swing, excitedly tell a story, or play with her stuffed animals reminds me how simple life is to them. She doesn't have any worries or cares, and she is content to simply be in my presence. When, I'm with her I need to just let the struggles of this life go and allow her to remind me what''s truly important.
I know these days are fleeting. Because soon she'll be a teenage girl who WANTS to cut her hair, and maybe we'll argue about dying it purple. And when I'm weary from arguing with my stubborn teenage daughter, I'll pull out her keepsake box and grab the little baggy of hair from the hair cut she gave herself at age 4, and I'll smile. I'll smile at how incredibly difficult these days of parenting an independent preschooler were, but how in hindsight, they were so incredibly simple. Full of just her and I making a go of it all on our own. And how no matter how far away the cares of this life carried me, she was always able to bring back down from whatever cloud I was sitting on...right back to where I needed to be.