Superwoman I Am Not
Have you ever had the feeling as if something just clicked and you instantly had the answer to a question you didn't know you were asking yourself? Sort of an "A HA!" lightbulb moment...
I love my children more than anything on the planet. They make me laugh each day, they make my heart feel warmer, and they truly are the loves of our life. When I was pregnant with my oldest son, now 4, I stopped working because I was having some complications. My last day of work was around Memorial Day of 2003. So much has happened since then: the birth of our boys, a near-death tragedy for a close and dear relative, moving to a new home in a new suburb, the illness and death of my dad...
In that time I never "missed" work. I didn't miss the idea of pointy toed shoes and dressing to the nines to stand on my feet for 10 hours. I didn't miss working on weekends and holidays...dinners missed with my hubby...new goals from corporate each day. In that time, though, I really did not think of myself at all. All of my energies were focused on getting through one thing to the next and plugging by day by day. One night in July 2006 I was sitting on the sofa with my hubby watching the Yankees play (I am a huge Yankees fan, and an even bigger Andy Pettitte fan).
It dawned on me that I had become so focused on everything else that I was no longer doing things I enjoyed. I had been making soap since 2000. The last bar I had made until 2006 was in December 2001--I made bars of soap with dried rose petals from a bouquet my husband had given to me and I included those in the favor bags at our reception. I missed that. I also missed studying up on ingredients, drawing, painting, and doing altered art with papers and photos. I quickly thought of my business plan mentally while eating some Ben & Jerry's watching a baseball game. I do not always think things out. I do not really hold a logical thought in my head when I need it the most--I am a "fly by the seat of my pants" kind of woman.
I think that is why my very logical, numerical husband and I mesh so well. We are complete opposites. Right away he had graphs and charts up on the computer. I was supposed to keep track of things. I am not good at this! I can tell you that a woman named Karen in another state likes baby powder candles and the smell of lavender and lemon. I can remember to add a little less cinnamon in my Signature scent for Fran in Dallas...those things are fine. My husband asked me if I thought of everything. He was the one helping with all of the legalities and "boring" loose ends. I was the one asking him which color of pink in a dye looked better in a cupcake scented tart. He asked me if I could handle growing as fast as my business was while remaining firm in my commitment to working only when the boys were in bed.
He asked me so many questions and I assumed I could handle everything. By December I was working until 2 or 3 in the morning 5 nights a week and being SuperMom all day. You see, as a stay at home mom, I am blessed. I am blessed to be able to be home with the boys. Being SuperMom is not about plunking the kids in front of a tape while I sit in pjs. I continued to be up before the roosters crowed (OK, maybe that is an exaggeration...there are no roosters in this neighborhood), all dressed and made up before my husband left for work. I continued to bake cookies from scratch with the boys, do arts and crafts, play tag and sing nursery rhymes.
Somewhere between feeling so run down I was getting ill and realizing I could not keep up anymore is the time I realized that something had to give. In June, after holding another successful fundraiser for the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research in my dad's memory (it was the weekend of Father's Day), I closed up shop. All of a sudden I could SLEEP. I could sit on the sofa again with my husband and speak to him. And then I started, 2 weeks later, to miss the daily chats with some of my customers via the internet. I thought I'd just sell 5 or 10 things on Etsy...my facial products (which rock, by the way). I did it to myself again...I thought I'd introduce my mineral makeup...and more. Before I knew it, I was spending more time in my workshop making up different recipes than I was with my wonderful husband.
Just before my birthday in August, I took a vacation from Etsy. I spent lots of time with my hubby and tons of time making up greeting cards while my oldest son colored and my youngest son napped. I hadn't made cards in so long! I also made up my favorite fall tarts to get ready for a great smelling autumn in our house. I though, "Hmmm, it doesn't take much more time to pour out 10 tarts than 2" and started making more. I was set to re-open my Facial Care Boutique on Etsy Sunday. Friday night while we were enjoying a drink together, I mentioned a thought that had come into my head. I told him how much fun it was just walking Nick to preschool and talking to the other moms along the way. There will be plays, classroom parties and so many more things I want to fully participate in. I would not be able to keep up the SuperMom pace of being everything for my boys, the wife my husband deserves AND keeping up my scaled back skincare business.
I asked for his advice. I told him how I wanted to still be on Etsy and have a hobby for myself that will give me a bit more of "my own" spending money for shoes, handbags, etc...I asked his opinion, and he said that I already knew the answer. And I did. The answer isn't about making more money, having another product featured in a magazine or another cool review. The answer is to look within yourself and discover what really makes you happy and brings you peace. Ten years ago, I was a working woman who spent her checks on dinners out, new shoes and great handbags...I really didn't have a care in the world.
My life was really just beginning, and everything that followed has been a learning experience. Last night I felt true happiness again, which many may find laughable when they hear why. At parents' night at Nick's school I became the "room mother". You know--the one who comes to school and bakes cupcakes, plans the parties, organizes all of the events, etc. Being a makeup artist or a cosmetics account manager or being an entrepreneur are not the keys to my happiness. Having the time to sing "Baa Baa Black Sheep" for the 14th time in a row to Ben is my contentment.
Walking Nick home from school as he tells me about the pictures he painted with apples in true happiness. Planning his preschool Halloween party is a project I will tackle as though I am holding a soiree in the Hamptons. Today the boys and I made snickerdoodles and played with our mammoth dog.
Moments like these--the everyday moments--are really, truly what matter the most.