There’s no pause button in the short years

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I am stunned by how life keeps on changing every time I turn around.

Life moves pretty fast. And right now I feel like mine is speeding up.

I feel like I just got the hang of this stay-at-home mom thing. I was at peace with spending my days puttering around the house, baking bread and soothing toddlers and reading stories. I was never alone, but I had no one to answer to but myself, either. And what I found so difficult to adjust to at first–the lack of any sort of external structure in my day–I was coming to cherish. Having complete freedom to do whatever seemed best to meet my own and my family’s needs? That, my friend, is a rare privilege.

And now, stay-at-home mom really doesn’t describe my life anymore. As my kids have gotten older, other things have been beckoning, so that I now have part-time work and free-lance work and volunteer work. I don’t have any single formal position that I have to report to every day; instead, I have a patchwork of responsibilities I’ve willingly taken on that have me here and there and everywhere. I used to get so tired of being at home all the time. I used to make up reasons to take the kids places. Now, when I have a day in which I actually don’t have any appointments or meetings or deadlines, I find myself rejoicing in the bliss of a day when I get to stay home and clean the house.

Whereas my most important tasks of the day used to be lactating and gestating, and every day looked very much the same as the one before it, now each day is has its own different set of places to be and things to do, depending on which hat I’m wearing at the time.

It’s one more way my youngest is getting a different upbringing from my oldest. When Beth was three, I had a one-year-old and I was pregnant. I wasn’t part of any mommy groups, I did writing and editing work but it was all from home, the kids weren’t in any schools or sports, and the only regular thing on my schedule was storytime at the library on Tuesday mornings. Naptime was rigidly and daily enforced. I could make home-made pasta for dinner on a whim, because I had nothing but time.

Now that Evie is three, I’ve got kids on three different school schedules. We have gymnastics and piano lessons and I’ve got a variety of work and personal commitments. Today I’m giving Evie a nap for the first time all week. We just don’t really have time on the other days. I’m looking up crockpot cookbooks and “on the table in 30 minutes” recipes, because I don’t have time to spend hours at the counter anymore.

I’m not whining about my overly-busy life. My life is as busy as I choose to let it be, just like everyone else’s. ¬†Everything I do, I’ve said yes to for a reason. I’m just blown away by how quickly I’ve come full circle. Just a few years ago I was wondering how I’d ever adjust to my new life…and now, just when I was getting good at it, things have gone and changed again.

The years may have been short, but my days did go slowly by…and now the days are passing at warp speed too. Can someone please tell me the trick to pressing the pause button once in awhile? I think I need that.