Kristen R: A working mom’s guilt, jealousy and Zen

I’ve had several tiny moments of Zen during the second week of our family’s change but, frankly, I’m not sure what to make of these moments. They come in waves: Pockets of peace and beauty, but they are conflicted with guilt and, yes, tinges of jealousy.

First, my mornings: They are no longer stressful. They are not rushed or dreaded. They are not spent coaxing kids to finish breakfast quickly or sit still while I try even out pigtails or put on socks.

My mornings are calm and quiet. I eat alone. I quietly brew coffee and drink nearly the entire mug while it’s still hot. I get to shower my girls with kisses, while they still have wild bedheads and sleepy eyes. They are wearing their nightgowns and have woken up by their own body clocks.

It’s a nice change of pace.

pink sunriseOn Tuesday, my commute downtown began at the same traffic light that it always has for the last five years — only I came at it from a new direction since I no longer drop off my kids at day care each morning. I also left the house just before 7 a.m., which hasn’t happened in years. The combination of this time and direction plopped me smack dab in front of the biggest, pinkest, most jaw-droppingly amazing sunrise I have seen in years.

This moment left me without words. I have known this beauty. I have witnessed such beauty. Sadly, I think I had forgotten about it — or maybe I was just in too big a hurry to appreciate it.

I wanted to share it. I wanted to call my husband, gush to my girls, and at the same time, I wanted keep this moment all to myself.

Other moments have left me feeling guilty, like when my 3-year-old acts out in new ways because, well, she’s three, and she’s undergoing change: She’s changed schools, schedules — and life as she has known it is no more.

It’s not bad and, let’s face it, she’s three. She doesn’t have the right words — or cognitive ability, for that matter — to comment, reflect, mourn and celebrate the changes made in our family’s day-to-day routine.

But the bigger thing happening, I guess, the thing that none of us know how to talk about, is the fact that change has occurred. My pink sunshine and three-year-old’s new pre-school drop-off routine — they are the products of a change that we haven’t really processed yet.

We have asked for this change, this newness. We have stripped down and jumped into the cold water — and I, at least, am ready to float with the current for a while. That pink sun is my new perspective and my new reality. For my 7-year-old, it’s waiting at the bus stop that’s now right next door. It’s my 3-year-old’s new pre-school schedule. It’s my husband’s new daily routine of packing lunches, doing hair, kissing mid-day boo-boos, and volunteering at school.

Real, substantive change is a choice, for the majority of us. When we go through it, there must be time built in to recover, to reflect and to reform.

Our current recovery is from the exhaustion of feeling rushed the last few years. Our reflection is happening every day as we sort out our new routine and our children’s emotions from this change. We’re working toward reform, I suppose. It’s there, in our acceptance of the changes — the pink sunrise; morning giggles; a hot cup of coffee all alone; or when the big yellow school bus sighs up to the curb at the end of the day with a smiling child waiting on each side of its door.

And that’s when it gets hard. For I can only imagine how that pales in comparison to my pink morning sunshine.

Gotta run,
Kristen R.

Screen Shot 2013-09-12 at 8.21.17 PM

KHP Art Below

Beautiful sky all over.

Beautiful sky all over.


About Kristen R.

Counting down to 40, while juggling motherhood, marriage, the corporate grind & middle-of-the-pack running. It's OK to point & laugh.
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5 Responses to Kristen R: A working mom’s guilt, jealousy and Zen

  1. cathyn61 says:

    A beautiful post. Loved it.

  2. wwwmama says:

    Changes! They ask us to grow and stretch and make us reflect and write wonderful things. Love the sunrise…it belongs to you

  3. khpixler says:

    The post and the photo are absolutely stunning. I am so happy you are getting to enjoy little moments of peace but I understand there are many times you will feel a twinge of jealousy. I know Matt did and I am feeling it now too.

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