Psst: it’s 2:00 p.m., but you are ready for bedtime? Being a mom has its perks, but let’s be real: it’s exhausting. How is the most rewarding job also the most underrated? I’m sure you can’t identify any profession that has no built-in sick days and would hire you immediately with zero work experience. It’s not for the faint of heart, but once you join the club, the membership rewards are endless.
If I could divide my life into three stages up until this very moment, I would call them “The Before,” “The Balance,” and “The Now”. The first, a young, carefree period—which seemed to be endless—and then an entry into the role of many hats: doctor, chef, referee (all alternating at a moment’s notice and otherwise known as motherhood). And the now, a compilation of lessons learned and a readiness for what’s next.
There are certain aromas you associate with joy—the air after it rains, movie theatre popcorn, your mother’s perfume, and yes, of course, a fresh brew of coffee. It’s amazing how a scent can trigger a memory and take us on a journey so far from where we are. As a child, I recall waking up on Sunday mornings to a home filled with music and freshly-brewed coffee wafting through the air. It was the rich smell that was so special to me. At the time, I had no idea how those notes of dark chocolate, nuts, and berries were going to be a staple in my very own home as an adult. Before I became a mom (or “mum,” said in a British accent for teatime with my daughter, Grey), I never appreciated a good cup of joe. It was my go-to for writing papers or long drives from New York to North Carolina to see my then-boyfriend, Johnnie (but now, my very lucky husband). It was simple. It was easy. It was a to-go cup.
Let’s fast-forward a decade. I’m at the height of the juggle, balancing my roles as mom, wife, educator, and friend. With two small girls, the phrase, “There aren’t enough hours in a day,” is an understatement. How do I make sure they are becoming well-rounded, insightful, kind, confident individuals all while maintaining the energy to squeeze in cuddles and freshly prepared meals? How?! It’s the balance. It’s getting up early and watching the sunrise. It’s an Americano before the girls wake up. It’s a midday almond milk latte while I FaceTime with my best friend. It’s encouraging them to dress up and pull out every art activity in the playroom. It’s a rare overnight getaway with my husband. It’s breakfast in bed. It’s structured and unstructured days. Deep breaths. Lots of hugs.
So now what? My kids eat vegetables without a problem. Grey says please and thank you. Roux delivers the sweetest, most delicious, early morning hugs. Dad is smiling. Did I master the balance? Ehhh, probably not. There are days I want four more kids, and then there are others when I question how I’m even responsible enough for two.
Because we’ve been spending more time at home, I’ve found myself becoming more creative when it comes to keeping my energy at an optimal level. Sometimes I don’t want to “nap when they nap”; I want to play tennis or read that book I’ve been trying to finish for the past two months. Or, most recently, become a barista! I know, let me explain—Johnnie thought it was quite comical at first too. One of the aspects of adulting that I enjoy most is being able to entertain people in our home. My mind is filled with so many ideas when I think about hosting: table spreads, good music, and planned games. Not too long ago, after a dinner party, my mother jokingly requested a cappuccino with a heart. What started off as a witty comment has sent me down a rabbit hole of coffee jargon and skills. But the thought of turning into the Jacob Lawrence of coffee quickly faded when my hearts appeared broken and my leaf designs looked like smudged fingerprints. However, there is light at the end of this tunnel and the next time I host a get-together—with Roux wrapped around one leg, Grey having a solo dance party, and Dad playing DJ, I will be able to confidently ask, “Can I offer you a Marocchino?”
And that’s just it. Motherhood is all about discovering your balance. It’s a special kind of art that resonates with mothers all over the world. I get it. It’s understanding that some days our kids will be beyond extraordinary, but also accepting the teachable moments. So, we champion the small wins. We appreciate the time. We stare at them long and give in to the occasional late-night movie. Because, at the end of the day, we all just want to have our coffee and drink it too.