How One Formerly Organized Mom Is Learning to Find Comfort in the Chaos That Is Raising a Child

posted: 03/01/16
by: Kristina Wilson
Kris and Linc at Church.jpg
Kristina Wilson

From an early age I was fascinated by getting things in just the right order. There is a story that my parents like to tell (which has turned into family folklore in my opinion) about my 3rd grade parent- teacher conference. My parents were informed that my only problem in school was that I would not stop rearranging the books on the classroom shelves. As it is told, I would come into the empty classroom during recess and rearrange all the books in the class. Despite being told by my teacher that the books were fine and I was to leave them alone, I felt strongly that the education of the children was at risk if the books were not arranged properly, so I just kept ignoring her request.

Now, I can't actually verify any part of this story from my own memory but it is oft used in my family to accentuate the madness that is my brain. I find comfort in order. I feel pride in preparation. Since the birth of my child however, things have gone to a whole new level of crazy. I find myself completely bewildered by the never-ending running and organizing. Every morning, before we even get up, my husband or I roll over to the sound of Lincoln's cry and say, "what time is it?"

From that point on, we are always looking at the clock. We are always packing, wiping, cleaning, or running for something. No matter how hard I try, it seems that there is no chance to get ahead. Each morning seems to come to a climax with the big quandary: do we wipe the oatmeal off the high chair or do we get to work on time? I am ashamed to report we pick "leave for work" at least 50% of the time. Ten hours later, as we are scraping dried oatmeal off of everything, we regret that choice. These trades-offs happen all through the day.

In order to have a little time with my son each day, I try to leave the office by 4:30 p.m. As I was running out of the office at 4:45 last week, already fifteen minutes late, I started to cry. I couldn't get the thought out of my head that I have been running for the whole first year of my son's life. What is the point of even leaving early to have "quality time" together if I was going to feel the pressure of Mr. Clock? Is this what parenthood is really like? Running to and from work and childcare and parties and church and laundry and groceries? I was starting to understand what people really mean when they say, "enjoy it, it goes by so fast." I was overwhelmed and sad. I felt like I would and could never be enough; enough mother, enough wife, enough employer, enough daughter, sister, friend.

So this week I have started a self and family assessment. I am taking a look at all of the "books on the shelf" of our life and I am going to rearrange. It is fairly clear, though, that there is no simple solution. I not only like to work, the reality of America today is that I have to work in order to pay our bills and to cover college one day. And a lot of people depend on me for their livelihood and I can't let them down. I can't let my son down. I don't have the answer, but I am vowing to skip recess all year if I have to so that I can get my priorities rearranged.

Kristina Wilson of TLC's "Rattled" is also CEO of Sitters Studio, a New York-based childcare provider.

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