A few days ago I was overcome by the rather disconcerting idea that pretty much my whole life, the basis of my stay-at-home motherhood, is about losing. And by “rather disconcerting” I mean, hit me like a freakin Mac truck.
If you know me well at all, you know I’m a winner. Or, I aim to be. I’ve got a competitive streak a mile wide. When I was a kiddo I’d quit Candyland if I didn’t get Queen Frostine. My parents made a rule that I could no longer do that so I marked the back of the cards and began to preemptively quit when I could see someone else was going to get my favorite (for strategic reasons, of course) card. As a mother I have to fight, bite, or bully this competitive tendency. Mostly I just prefer true games of chance 😉
And yet, I am losing all day.
Because I don’t make money, I lose it. I lose it to groceries; I lose it to the gas pump; I lose it on incidentals; I lose it to Crossfit. I lose it to whatever it is that costs so darn much at Target. I scrimp, I save, I splurge, I indulge. It doesn’t really matter, ultimately I am losing money.
I am also losing time.
There’s never enough to get everything done.
I’m losing my chance to tackle the dishes/laundry/floors/toys/junk piles/general chaos while baby is sleeping and sister is occupied (or better yet, helpful!). I’m losing the window in which I can cook a big meal with leftover for a few days because, you know, we’re busy the next three nights. I’m losing the day when I really planned to do x, y, z…and then relax (ha!). I’m losing the light and I really wanted to make the most of some more summer nights. I never get to cleaning the showers. I rarely make it over to visit my grandparents. I’m horrible about written correspondence. I’m old enough to be adding to a retirement fund, not piling on another helping of student loan debt. I pretend precious relationships are “maintained” through social media alone. We’ve only been to the splash pad like twice this summer. As soon as the fridge is full some can’t-live-without condiment or pantry item is empty. The weeds never stop growing.
I’m constantly losing control of my house. And soon there will be homework again.
Every day is another [dozen or more] lost opportunities.
But back to the time thing. I’ve written here before that it’s slipping through my fingers. It’s so much more than that though. I’m losing time. I’m losing time with my girls. I lose time when I’m gone. When they’re gone. When I’m busy. When we’re scrambling. Even when we’re sitting right next to each other. If being a parent is about making memories or imparting wisdom, then for every success there an infinite lost opportunities.
I’m losing my youth. I’m losing their youth. When life gets busy and we go into survival mode, we lose even when we win.
Not to mention the days where I’m damn near losing my mind. Losing my focus. Losing sleep. Losing patience. The moments where life loses some of its luster.
I guess this could be viewed as a glass half empty kind of post. And maybe it is. But I mean it to be an eyes wide open observation. I’m not saying I’m not gaining each day, each month. Of course I wouldn’t trade my place in the here and now. I’m just recognizing that the gains come with losses and sometimes it can feel like losing is the bane of my existence.
Maybe it’s something about this month. This final stretch of reprieve. I can almost hear the summer days thudding as they come to a close, filling up some metaphorical bucket with time passed. It doesn’t seem like it’s about losing days or weeks anymore. I’m losing years. I have a four-year-old who talks to my like she’s fourteen. I have (had?) a newborn that is suddenly anything but. There are new things on the horizon (internships, degrees, jobs, kindergarten) that, while bigger and better (maybe), require a trade-off of freedom, flexibility, autonomy, and more.
We’re losing now.
That’s nothing new (and nothing unique) but it feels heavy in this season. It can venture into desperate and even become tinged with melancholy.
If I could pick I’d just like to win on the patience thing. And maybe sleep. Though I think those two are related, don’t you?
Not to mention the lost pacifiers.