Reality kind of hit me today- Carys' due date is bearing down on us faster than I am ready for and I have to admit- I am petrified. She used to seem like an idea or a daydream, but she is real-THIS is real- and the time that she will be completely dependent on us for her every need is coming fast. My mind swirled with panic today... what if I get her home and I don't have what she needs? What if I don't know what to do? What if we can't provide for her? What if we're not enough?
I am also coming to terms with the fact that I may not be able to stay at home for part of the year- it may be necessary for me to work year round to help support our family. We're not in over our heads, financially, but without an additional income we're treading water. In order for us to move successfully towards getting out of debt, it may be necessary for me to work at least part time for the entire year.
This morning, staring at our budget, the realization that my plan may have to change started slowly sinking in. The other realization that sunk in- we cannot afford to go on our 'baby-moon' in a couple of weeks- the beach will have to wait. These two pieces of information combined with my swirling fears hit me like a sack of bricks and soon I was brewing up one doozy of a pity party.
I am ashamed to say that I spent a couple of hours wallowing in my self pity before a conversation with a close friend snapped me out of it. I felt sorry that we weren't going to get to go on vacation, sorry that I might have to work year round, sorry that Carys' nursery may not be exactly what I want it to be, sorry that the babyhood I imagined for Carys might not materialize precisely as planned, the list goes on. I was sitting in the foyer of the dining room at SP with Jeremy waiting for our lunch buddies to join us, when my friend walked by and saw me in tears. We chatted for a while (well, she chatted, I mostly blubbered for the first part) and she helped me see some truths (some she shared, and some I concluded after thinking about our conversation). I appreciate her friendship more than she knows, and the fact that she is willing to offer me sound advice in love without passing judgment. So, without further ado, what I learned today:
- Things are not as bad as I imagine them to be. Despite money being tight right now, we are so much better off than we were even a year ago. We may not have enough for extras, but God has provided for every one of our bills. There have occasions in the past where we didn't know how we would pay for food or utilities, and although we don't have everything we want right now, we have everything we need. I have a feeling that understanding the distinction between the two will be an important tool in the next few years.
- I am the one with the expectations, not Carys. She doesn't have any presumptions about her own childhood, or about my capabilities as a mother if I am not able to give her everything I think she wants or needs. The important things will be covered- food, shelter, and more love than she'll know what to do with. If I don't have the nursery of my dreams, she won't care, because she has no preference. She'll be just as happy sleeping in her crib whether it has the set I fell in love with or not. She has no such designs on her surroundings/clothes, etc. She'll eat, sleep, cry, poop, pee and spit up in a mismatched nursery just like she would in the one I've been fantasizing about.
- I am not the only mother that has ever had to work, nor will I be the last. It will not somehow be more difficult for me to return to the workplace than it has been for any other mother and in the grand scheme of things, Carys has it pretty good. Most of the days in the week that I'll be working she'll be able to stay home with daddy, and the days our schedules overlap, her Granna or Nanny will be there for her (which brings me to my next point). I'm sure it won't make it any easier to leave her in someone else's care, but making sure she has the things she needs is taking care of her, too. Jeremy and I are better husband and wife to each other when we're not desperately struggling to keep the lights on, and I bet we'll be better parents, too, without the added stress of constantly being behind on bills.
- I have an amazing support system. There are a plethora of family members/friends that have offered to watch her throughout the week and she won't ever have to be put in daycare. Staying with her grandparents or aunt/uncle (honorary and otherwise) one day a week while I work part-time will not in some way hurt her development or lessen her love for me. If anything, it might encourage her to be social and help foster a closeness with her extended family and that is something that is so very important to Jeremy and I. I was close to my grandparents and my dad's twin sister and I miss them all the time. One-on-one time with her grandparents and other trusted family members will help her form a bond with them and it's a precious gift to her, not a slight.
- Parenting means sacrificing my desires when it is for the good of my child. Part of the transition is understanding that our needs come second now. Would I have loved to go the beach? YES. I have been thinking about sinking my toes in the sand for months and the whiny dramatic side of me would say that a part of me died a little when I realized it wasn't going to be feasible. But would it be responsible for us to go anyway, knowing that we don't have the money to blow on the trip? No. As I've mentioned at least four million times since starting this blog, Carys is coming. We need to do everything we can to get ready and shelling out money we don't have to cater to my want to get away isn't in her best interest. There will be other opportunities for us to get away and relax, but this isn't it right now. And most importantly:
- God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. My life is largely out of my control. There are choices I make that will influence it, but ultimately there is one Architect of my future and He is far more capable than I could ever hope to be. He also said that the thoughts he thinks toward me are thoughts of peace and not evil. Allowing myself to be afraid will not change the fact that I am only a tiny drop in an endless sea and all my panic and worry will not change the course of our future. My saving grace is that He knows our names, and the name of our child and He loves us. It's a cliche', but the phrase 'let go and let God' keeps replaying in my mind. The best thing I can do for my baby is to let God have control in our lives and He can't take the helm while I have a death grip on it.