I was SO ready for 2021. A new year with lots of positive change and forward progress. And then I woke up on January 1st, January 2nd, 3rd, and everything felt the same…because it was. I’m used to the post-holiday season doldrums, but in this pandemic era of parenthood, this new year fog felt heavier than usual.
I did a personal self-check to try to figure out exactly WHAT I was feeling so I could “fix” it; after all, that’s what we Mommies do best, right? Fixing things, making things better, cleaning up messes and finding better solutions for a happier, healthier, enriching, more fun, more educational, more positive day for our family…this is WHAT WE DO. I was determined to snap out of my – dare I say – sadness – and transform into the joyful, model citizen Bill Murray at the end of Groundhog Day (it you haven’t seen this one in a while, plan a movie night, sans kids). After a self-reflection, I realized I was literally doing all that I could in this current phase of life as a mother of three active children (ages 7, 5 and 2) and the wife of a trauma surgeon (yes, his work schedule is beyond insane and I’m often flying solo at home).
I had already implemented my usual outlets for helping myself feel happy, healthy and strong – daily exercise, good sleep routine, healthy meals, spiritual/prayer time, fun “adventures” with my kids, etc. When I posed my dilemma to my husband, saying, “I just feel like I need to do more,” he just laughed and said, “darling, you are amazing and you already do way too much. There’s no way you can fit anything else into your life right now.”
There were two major take aways from my husband’s comment: 1. It was quite reassuring to hear him acknowledge that I am managing quite a busy load for the family, and 2. The concept of “fitting” something else into my life.
As Moms, I feel like each day is a new challenge to see how much we can “fit” into one, single, 24-hour day…and yes, 24 hours is definitely not enough! Most days, my to-do list is never totally checked off and things carry over to tomorrow.
I know my husband is right, in that for the time being, in our family’s current state, I need to be a full-time, stay-at-home mom and house manager. And honestly, this job is immensely rewarding and fulfilling for me as I have always wanted to be this kind of mother. I know it’s not for everyone, but it fits me perfectly. I also understand that this phase of “all hands on deck” motherhood is fleeting, and that someday, in the not-so-distant future, there will be other hobbies, callings, passions, or even jobs that I may pursue. But, now is not that time.
So, there I was in the same emotional place, saying, but what CAN I do, what can I “fit” into my life to help myself feel more personal forward progress, right here, right now, without changing any other aspects of my life? Then it hit me. One of my favorite quotes that has given me so much comfort, guidance and inspiration throughout my life:
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” -Theodore Roosevelt
Like a lightbulb, I knew what I needed to do – bake. Yes, bake. Think about it, do you ever regret that 30 minutes you spent in the kitchen baking something? Nope. Do you feel an overwhelming sense of peace and satisfaction knowing you did bake something for the family, a neighbor, a friend or just a favorite treat for yourself? Heck yes! That’s when I started my ‘baking therapy’.
The next morning, I woke up just thirty minutes earlier than my earliest rising child, found one of my trusty Martha recipes and got my hands dirty in some flour. I settled on scones as the start of my new endeavor, mainly because I’ve been making muffins all my life and wanted to master something new. I’m a proud Starbucks addict and often order a blueberry scone any time of day. Plus, there’s something fancier about a scone, imagining smartly dressed British women in Kensington Garden, sipping tea, spreading beautiful cream and jam on their scone that just gives me all the feels. But, maybe that’s just me 🙂
So, I did it – I baked my first batch of homemade blueberry scones that came fresh out of the oven just as my blue-eyed, curly-haired second-born ran downstairs and wrapped his arms around my legs with the sweetest good morning hug anyone could ever want (I cherish this daily tradition). And at that very moment – it happened. I took a deep breath and felt a sense of inner calm, peace, fulfillment, accomplishment, happiness that I had been craving. All from a simple scone. Doing this seemingly ordinary task of baking, even just a basic scone, before my kids woke up, gave me this super power mommy feeling that is hard to express into words – you just feel good. I knew very soon the chaos of the day would ensue, and however beautiful the chaos is, it’s still chaos that is often out of my control. But this moment that I had created, from baking a scone, was in my control. It was a calming feeling that I was able to keep with me all day, well, almost all day…potty training a toddler is not my favorite stage haha!
Maybe waking up early is not your thing, or you couldn’t care less about scones, but for any other Mommy feeling low like I did, my humble little words of wisdom are to self-reflect on what you CAN do, like Teddy says, with what you have, where you are, right now in your phase of life. I hope you can find a little piece of that super power mommy happiness, like I did, in a sweet, little, imperfect, homemade scone.