Monday, October 19, 2009

The Balance of 1.2 mile

To some 1.2 miles is nothing but a little warm up mile before you take off and run about 6 other miles to get your heart rate going. For others, the thought of even walking that mile, can seem a bit overwhelming because it just isn't' your thing.

However, I do not speak about running or walking. I simply speak about driving 1.2 miles. Now. everyone can agree in whole, that isn't far at all. In fact, 99.9 % of you probably drive more than that daily to your jobs and back, times 25 miles.

However, this 1.2 mile to me and many stay-at-home moms, with a baby under 5 years old, or with multiple kids, is a very tough 1.2 mile to take on.

We as moms will look at that 1.2 mile drive and we will heavily weigh out our options and see which wins, staying at home, or loading up and taking on that 1.2 mile down the road, if it be to the gym, to a friends home or doctors appointment.

If its the doctors we all will most likely drive that 1.2 miles, just get it out of the way. After all, we have to or we may be considered neglectful moms to our offspring.

If it is the gym, hmmm, then there is a little hesitation, a little groan and moaning, and even a little flip a coin kind of attitude to either go or stay home. After all, its our choice, although we may hate the way we look later.



All of this isn't because stay-at-home-moms are lazy.

Its quite the opposite.

Today, I drove 1.2 miles down the road to visit my BFF, Lisa. When I had originally moved into this home that I was so blessed to get as a single mom with just my son. Lisa and I giggled in gratitude and in fun that we were now living 1.2 miles away from each other. We spoke about the walks we would do to and from each others home. We even made up our half way point to meet in the middle to go on walks, or even bikes rides one day we we both got bikes. That 1.2 mile seemed like the closest 1.2 miles any two BFF's could wish to live from one another. In fact, any closer you may as well put my home on top of hers, it was the perfect little set up....

So we thought.

Never did we imagine a few years later, that we would both have new babies in our lives. Well we did imagine it, but we didn't know what the future held for either of us. We already had our older kids (my 1, her 2). They were in school, out of diapers and independent children now, our lives then were very flexible, easy and stress free for the most part.

Fast forward to about 29 months ago, I was pregnant. Lisa found out she too was expecting and was probably only a couple of weeks behind me. How excited we both were to think that we were going to be pregnant together, living 1.2 miles apart and raising kids together again.

Lisa, sadly, miscarried at 13 weeks. It was a very hard day for all of us. After seeing the babies heart beating on the sonogram, and carrying him/her to the 3 month mark, to have lost that little one, was very emotional.

That 1.2 miles was so easy for me to hop in my car, go hang out with Lisa and spend hours chatting with her, reading our favorite magazines together and talking life. It was perfect.

She'd sometimes show up at my door, and before I knew it, we were hanging out on my couch for an hour catching up until one or both of us had to go pick up the kids from school.

As I continued my extremely difficult pregnancy to full term. Lisa later found out she was expecting again. Only this time our little ones would be about 14 months apart.

Fast forward more.

Today, Lisa now has a very sweet and handsome little man named Zane. You may remember the pictures I posted of his birth on my blog? As I photographed his birth, cut his cord and was one to give him his first kiss (after daddy of course) on his sweet little face and hands.

While I now have my princess.

We both are just two stay-at-home-moms, living 1.2 miles apart.....

It sounds blissful doesn't it?

Well, not exactly... here is the reality.

That 1.2 miles is a very LONG ways to almost any stay-at-home mother. The time, effort and detail it takes to load up one child, let alone multiple children to go anywhere for any period of time, is a very exhausting task.

Some days are not as bad as others, and to save our sanity, we must take on the force of getting ourselves out of the house with the children. However, most of the time we as moms opt to just stay put and only leaving when we have to, if that get dinner or pick up older siblings at school or doctor appointments.

Here is why...

For me to drive 1.2 miles down the road to hang with my BFF and her little man Zane, I have to get Morgan fed, pack her snacks, wipes, change of clothes, sippy cup, and get myself out of pj's, eat and get in the car. Already that has taken a good 20 minutes or so. Then I drive that 1.2 miles and arrive at my BFF's house. She is in the middle of feeding her little one, while I am running around and chasing my active toddler. She is trying to hear what I am saying from the other room. She now has to change Z's diaper and put him down for his morning nap. I sit out and wait on her, trying to keep my little one quiet and entertained. By the time she gets Z down for his nap, I now have to go change Morgan's dirty diaper. As we both sit down on the couch and try to breath and catch up, 20 seconds I am hopping off the couch running across the room to get my daughter off the 7th step of the stairs.

Now its time for Morgan's nap, but I try to hold off for as long as possible so I can visit with my friend just a few more minutes, for crying out loud. Morgan is fussy and its clearly her nap time, and I must go. Besides, I do only have a specific window frame to get Morgan down for her nap, so she gets in her full 2 hour nap. So, I then load the bag, the bottle, the snacks, cell phone, sunglasses, keys .... all that I drug into Lisa's house, all back out to the car. All to drive that 1.2 miles down the street back home, to put Morgan down for her nap. I then grab a bite to eat myself, make the beds (if I wasn't able to before I left), take a quick shower, clean up her toys across the house, clean up the breakfast dishes, take out the trash, feed the cats and pay a bill or two online.

Then she wakes.

I change her diaper, I make her lunch, in which feeding a baby or toddler at any age isn't a quick task. Now its time to get her in the car to race the clock of the the pick-up line at school. If I am not there on time, I have to then park my car, get baby out, walk in school (looking like the slob I am at the moment) and sign my kid out, just to walk back to the car, put baby back in her car seat, which is often not always the quickest of things either and drive home.

Get home, get son a snack, review his homework, sign slips, get Morgan out of things, clean up her mess for the 83rd time of the day. Check the mail. Start thinking and or getting dinner started.

Hubby walks in.

Now we set up dinner, we try to catch up on each others day as I am answering Hunters 100th question of the night, and Mark is getting Morgan out of the toilet in our bathroom.

We feed the family. I get kids in bed, while he cleans up the toys for the 84th time that day, and cleans dishes from dinner.

I walk out of the kids rooms spending at least 15-20 minutes with each kid. Husband is now on computer finishing up some work, while I take time to catch up on email and just wind myself down.

I'm wiped, completely and totally exhausted and want nothing more than to hit the pillow.

In February Zane will (choke) turn one year old.

As I sat here tonight thinking ..... and after speaking with Lisa about it.

It's not the 1.2 miles that matters or makes or breaks anything. If Lisa and I lived 15 miles apart, I would drive it to see her and spend time catching up with her.

Its the schedules, the never ending amount of "stuff" that it takes to load up a child to go anywhere.... its getting to that place and it being MORE work and less enjoyable, than if you had just stayed home. Its work for her to come here, me to go there. Sometimes you just have to meet in the middle, if it be a park or lunch some place.... even then it's MORE work, time consuming and exhausting.

Simply put, its a hassle.

Not that my friend, my BFF, isn't worth the hassle, nor am I to her. We both know that isn't it.

No matter if you are swimming at the community pool, at the park, at her house, at my house or eating out. Those moments, those times, although needed to stay sane sometimes, are also the same things to avoid to stay sane at other times.

Baby raising is a lot of hard work. Its none stop. Never ending.

At the park, pool, house or lunch, you aren't really getting to enjoy your child, your company or yourself. You are time pressed for your schedule for this or that, you are chasing your own child around and before you know it, its just not worth it all so much.

Being a stay at home mom is like this....

Your wake up time is your 1.2 mile warm up mile of the day.... that's probably the first 3 minutes you have your eyes open in bed or make it to the bathroom to do your morning pee.

After that.....

Its like the Chipmunks after drinking their first latte from Starbucks...... its bouncing off the walls none-stop motion, if its mentally, emotionally or physically.

Yet, sort of like men and women say about each other "you can't live with them, and you can't live with out them."

We stay-at-home moms, can't live with those 1.2 mile days and we can't live without them at times.

When those days do come (far and very few) that one or both of us makes that 1.2 mile.... its SO worth it.

Like I said, Zane will be 1 year old in February. I think I can count maybe a total of five (5) times, in which Lisa or I have actually done the work to make that 1.2 mile..... and that is so very little in number.

However, the good thing about this.... she is my BFF and when we do get to have a moment or an afternoon like those few days, its like we never are apart. We get it, we understand it and although the "talk" before having Morgan or Zane sounded so fabulous and so Housewives like a couple of years ago in theory. In reality, that 1.2 mile, or those five far and few days out of the year we actually meet up is like training for a triathlon.

Its really hard work!!!

So to all my friends, especially mommy friends, just know that I love you and I hope you understand me, as I understand you. Being a mom is a a FULL-TIME, double shift, under paid and never ending career/job. Although, I don't see you as much as I like to, I am still always here for you. I still miss you, love you and care deeply about you.

You girls are my sisters. I'll do anything for YOU.

But this girl isn't training for a walk, a run, a marathon or a triathlon. I am simply a devoted mother and wife to my kids and husband. My time is stretched, my days are often long or too short.

And truth be said, most of the days.... almost all of the days....

I rather flip a double-headed coin when choosing that 1.2 mile to ANY place, or staying home.

But tonight, I am glade it wasn't a double-headed coin. Instead it was a night I got to go visit Lisa at her house, along with some other friends. Then after giving a hubby a couple of hours alone at home watching his Yankees, I dropped the kids off to him and I had dinner with two other girlfriends. That was probably the 2nd or 3rd time I have gotten to do that since Morgan was born 18 months ago.

Tonight was about balance.

If it be weekly, monthly, or many months out, find a balance that works for you and your friends. Although, this balancing rope isnt' nearly as balanced as I saw it in my mind a couple of years ago, it works for me and my friends, just the same.

And boy when days or nights like today do happen. Unplanned, not rushed and totally spontaneous... it is so beautifully refreshing to go back home just to get back to the daily grind tomorrow.

So thanks girlfriends for a fun evening. Lets not wait another 8 months before we do this again, okay?

Love you girls.

For a little fun, a blog I read, baby Jonah. His mom wrote this post:

You know you are a stay-at-home when: Click Here.
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