By Tracy Managing Editor
We arrive home. Exhausted. Both of us.
I ask Abby what she wants for snack.
“Hummus and Chip.”
Abby sits on the floor of the kitchen, dipping pita chips into the hummus, saying, “Mmmmm, Good.”
I slip my shoes off, and place my slippers on. Some emails are checked, and realize it’s getting close to dinner time. The game of getting the snack away from Abby begins. Miraculously, I convince her that she is done with snack, with only a few complaints.
It’s time to work on the potty training thing before the hubs gets home.
“Abby, let’s sit on the potty.”
“I don’t want to sit on potty,” squeals Abby.
“Do you want to wear underwear?”
“No, I don’t want underwear,” she says with ferocity.
I’m too tired to fight this battle.
“Let’s change your diaper. You want to wear Pull Ups?”
“No change my diaper!!! I don’t need diaper!!!!!”
But she does need a diaper. And so it begins.
I manage to get her pants down, take her diaper off, and she squeals more and the tears begin. Like ugly cry tears, red face tears. Ugh.
“I don’t want new diaper!!!! I don’t need diaper!!!! I want my pants!!!!”
Abby tries so desperately to get her pants back on sans any type of diaper.
“I want my pants!!!!!!!!!!!!”
I manage to get a Pull Up on her. Pants are still on the floor. I turn, while the ugly cry is still happening, to put the diaper in the garbage. I take a long deep breath, turn back around. There Abby stands, tears streaming down her face, Pull Up around her ankles.
“I don’t want Pull Up!!!!!”
I scoop her up, and explain that she needs to have something on besides pants.
“Do you want underwear?”
“Do you want a Pull Up?”
“Do you want a diaper?”
She takes a break from the ugly cry.
The tantrum continues.
We make our way up the stairs, and I lay her on the floor. She thinks I’m trying to get her to wear underwear.
“I don’t want underwear, I want diaper!!!!”
“OK. Go get me a diaper.”
I feel my energy is zapped.
She begins to calm down, grabs a diaper, brings it to me, and the sobs subside. Once the diaper and pants are on, she crawls into my lap, and sheepishly says, “I want mommy.”
I dry her tears, stand up, and we make our way downstairs. I turn the television on, the day’s DVR’d Sesame Street is selected, Abby sits on my lap, and we watch, as she clings tightly to me.
It’s 5pm. Dinner needs to be thought about. I leave Abby as she continues to watch her Abby Elmo show.
I walk into the kitchen, see the mounds of dishes, and sigh. I take my phone out to check my email one more time. Waiting for that one email. The one that I’ve been waiting for all week. Nothing.
I return to the living room, the hubs comes home, and I watch as Abby gleefully greets him.
I contemplate dinner again. I view the piled up dishes again.
Then I sheepishly ask, “What do you want me to go get for dinner?” I have no energy for dishes, and can’t fathom cooking to add anymore rubbish to the already overflowing sink.
I grab my coat and keys, slip my shoes back on, and ask once again, “What do you want me to get for dinner?”
As I wait for a reply, I check my email one more time.
And then it comes.
All of these ideas sound great! I’d like to introduce you to our general manager, who would love to chat with you about some upcoming story ideas. Ladies, feel free to take it away!
Thanks again, Tracy — looking forward to seeing your work!
I perk up. A smile beams across my face. I run into the living room, read the email to my husband, and am bouncing around with excitement. I take my coat off, put the keys down, and begin making dinner. Chicken and cheese quesadillas it is. I think to myself that it was kind of crazy that I was about to leave the house to purchase food that I had all the fixings to make at home.
Three quesadillas are made. Rice is made. Dinner is had. We sit around the table giggling up a storm at the many faces of Abby, and the stories she spins. After dinner, I unload the dishwasher, and get the rest of the dishes loaded. The sink is empty.
I stand in the hallway, watching Abby and my husband dancing around and giggling. And tears well up in my eyes. And I begin to think about what keeps me going. Of course family and sweet moments with Abby are at the top of that list. But I need something else. I need something for me. When I’m exhausted and dealing with tantrums and potty training and piled up dishes and getting dinner together and I just want to lay on the couch and close my eyes and not think about teaching, I have something else that keeps me going. Writing. It’s that other thing for me. I’m happy because I realize how much that short email means to me. And that is what propels me to keep going at the end of a long day.
That email I got, well it’s from ParentMap. It’s a Puget Sound magazine, with both content in print form and online. And I pitched them a year ago and never heard back. But a few weeks ago, I pitched them again. This time I pitched myself. And this time I got a response. I sent writing samples and pitches for story ideas, and now, they want me. To work on writing projects. PROJECTS. BOOM!
This keeps me going. This makes me realize that late nights writing for pleasure alongside grading and prepping curriculum is so worth it. This makes me realize that all the hard work I’ve put in within the blogging world for the past two years is worth it. But most importantly, this makes me realize that as a working mom, I need to have things for me. It’s hard to fit it all in, but with that one email, my energy came back to me. I needed it. To make me feel whole. To make me feel complete.
Do you have something that keeps you going? Something just for you? If not, I challenge you to find that thing. Even if it’s just making time for some blog reading at Starbucks for an hour or getting a manicure. That thing is fuel for the soul, you know.