I can honestly say I am grateful to pop culture for once. How is this possible? Well....because it led me to this song.
My husband has been searching for a job for a few months. He graduated with his degree just a few weeks ago and, being prior-service military, is ready to start his civilian career. Now this isn't just any career we're talking about here....this is his chance to do whatever he wants, wherever he wants, and with whichever company he pleases. There is no other time in his entire life where he will have the opportunity to literally choose his job as easily as he can now. He's fresh-faced, devout in his learned skills, and dedicated to doing what's best for his family. It is such a beautiful time in his life - in my life.
Except there's one minor problem. Me.
You see, I currently work full time out of the home. I started my own little freelancing business from my home last year, but that little business is, well, little. And it has no benefits. So I continue to work my full-time corporate job. Now I enjoy my job, for the most part. I like the adult interaction and I draw a ton of inspiration from the crazy things that happen at work every day. But all this time I spend in the office leaves me with very little time for the one thing I want to do more than anything in the world...be engaged in my kids' lives.
Now before you other working moms blow a gasket, hear me out - I understand a woman can be engaged in her childrens' lives while working. I understand for some people, a perfect work-life balance is achievable. I, however, was spoiled.
I had the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom with my oldest for a few years while my husband was deployed. It was the most challenging, exhausting, enriching time of my life. I will never forget how close she and I were - like little partners in crime, fighting evil dust bunnies together, taking long walks around the hills of Germany, and going to every community event ever.
She was my only companion to the store, the library, the gym, even the Eiffel Tower.
I woke to her voice every morning, picked her up and hugged her whenever I wanted, and made cupcakes with "pretty pretty" sprinkles on them.
I heard her the moment she read her first words. I was sitting on a cold tile floor the day she used the potty for the first time. I made mistakes. I lost my temper. I did things that to this day fill me with such a deep regret I can barely think about them without tearing up. But this is what being a stay-at-home mom is all about. It is a beautiful cycle of joy, struggle, but most importantly, love. I loved being with her. I loved watching her grow. I loved it.
Those precious years absolutely ruined my work-life balance perception...they consistently draw me into memories and comparisons between my relationships with my kids now and my relationship with my kid then. It's not the same. The resulting feeling of loss and sorrow is suffocating.
When I sit back and think, "what is life?" I don't see a corporate career, or professional success, or plaques filled with degrees and years of education. I see my kids, I see my man making a bonfire in the backyard, I see myself writing a book. Life, for me, is my children, my home, and my passions. Every day that passes feels like another day of missed moments I can never get back....for a paycheck. And I get it, I pay for the roof and the food and the school and blah blah blah those justifications don't ease my conscious anymore. I've repeated them to myself for so long with such force, such falseness, that they've worn out their welcome in my heart. I've found what I'm passionate about...and it lies at home.
So you see where this is going.
I cannot get home and fulfill those very deeply-rooted parts of me until my partner finds a job. No pressure, honey!
Stuck between self-centered motivations and being a supportive spouse, I often find myself feeling frustrated, guilty, and doubtful.
What if I never get this freelancing thing off the ground. What if I put too much pressure on him. What if I end up missing another year of my kids' lives. What if he finds a job and they lay him off. The what-if syndrome is coming out in full force these days. It's so easy for me to get down...much harder for me to sustain a positive attitude. That ain't good when you've got a partner looking for a job. My worries rub off on him and we both end up exhausted and feeling terrible about ourselves. There's gotta be a better way.
Which brings me back to that song at the beginning of this post.
The artists, Nico Sereba and Vincent Dery, are from Norway. They drew upon their African roots to create "Am I Wrong," an internationally-acclaimed single that rose to the top of European charts in a matter of days. Their song infuses African drumbeats and tempos with an addictive chorus that speaks to dreams, reaching for the sky, and living the way you want to. The music video (WATCH IT) offers a rare glimpse into the beauty and joy of Botswana, a South African country often depicted as war-torn and sick. They chose to film the video there because they wanted people to see the good in a place normally associated with bad. The song is by far the most positive, uplifting thing I've heard in years.
But the best part?
They released the song over a year ago, from Norway. The hit won over millions of fans in countries like Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Austria, and of course, Norway...yet it took the two artists over a year to break into the American market. They even underwent a name change - went from Envy to Nico and Vinz (because let's face it, Envy sounds dumb as hell). But the point is this: it didn't matter how many millions of people loved their music and bought their albums. They still had to line up with the other musical hopefuls and be patient. They had to drive on and endure to keep their dream alive.
And for this Momma, who's ambitions are little less radical, although just as passionate, finding this out was a huge wake up call.
My timeline needs to disappear and my positivity needs to reappear.
If these two dudes can do it, a couple of African-Norwegian singers who had to start from the ground up multiple times to build their dreams and become what they wanted to be, then heck...I can do it, right? I can be a bit more resilient. I can be a bit more patient, more supportive, and less influenced by those who bring me down. I can keep the dream alive - hold fast to it and work each day to make it real. I can do those things. Anybody can. You can.
I know it's hard to keep the faith. I lose the faith on a regular basis, despite the fact I believe in a Higher Being and know I'm not "supposed" to doubt. I'm a worrying, flaw-filled doubter. Like that kid on the Polar Express. I'm a doubbbbtteerrr!
But everyone has something they draw inspiration, luck, happiness, and magic from. Some people go to the Bible. Others rub rocks. Still others seek out the love of a spouse or friend. My inspirational device changes. This week, it came in the form of two Norwegian Africans.
I try to find a positive song, a positive book, a positive smell for crying out loud.....ANYthing that will remind me of my strength....and I grab it with both hands. I bear hug that shit. I lean on it and remember the abilities of those who have gone before me - and when my talisman of motivation ceases to bring those feeling of joy and renewal, I find another one. This song will prolly annoy the piss out of me in a few months. But until then, I'm gonna hold fast to the message and let it wash over me and convert my impatience into faith and hope again.
Any of you have strength talismans? A certain quote, picture, or movie that pumps you up? I'd love to hear about it in the comments down below!
I hope you each have a beautiful weekend and as always, thank you so, so much for reading :)