I have to confess that I spend more moments of weakness than I’d like to admit feeling resentful toward the people in my life who don’t stay home with their kids all day. There are mornings when I sit, still in my pajamas, hair a mess, chai latte dripping down the front of my shirt because the baby has a death wish, the three year old shouting at the top of his lungs about planets or dinosaurs or trains or dinosaur trains in space, and thinking I’ve only been up for 10 minutes. How did I get here?
On those mornings, I can’t help shooting mental daggers at my husband who looks at me in my disheveled state, kids crawling all over me like ants on sugar, and says “Well, gotta go to work. I’ll miss you.” I imagine my daggers piercing through his crisp, clean suit and pinning him to the wall. Now, try to leave! I dare you.
Then the three year old tackles me back into reality.
Of course I know that getting up every morning and working a full day is not quite the luxury that I imagine it to be, but I can’t help but fantasize about day care and business lunches. What must it be like to have eight full hours, five days a week, to sit in a quiet room without peanut butter or snot smeared on you, and just think? To a stay at home mom, moments like that are as rare and mystical as unicorns. Who doesn’t love unicorns?
Today, I’m living my dream: I scheduled an entire afternoon just for me. I have hours unfolding slowly and deliciously in front of me like the petals of some rare orchid. There are no children screaming in the background, no lunches needing to be made, no dogs stealing those lunches, and no babies needing a hug after learning the hard way that you can’t crawl through a glass door. There is no chaos. I can finally sit and gather my thoughts. Unfortunately, all I can think about are my kids.
Aye, there’s the rub.
As decadent as working outside the home seems to me in my moments of weakness, it turns out I’d miss those little hellions. I sat down this morning in front of the endless potential of a blank screen, my fingers poised over my keyboard, ready to take full advantage of my newfound freedom. As the swirl of ideas that’s always flying around in my brain like a tornado finally came into focus, all I could see were my babies’ chubby little faces. Were they happy? Did they miss me? Did they even know I was gone?
My thoughts were consumed by them and suddenly they were the mythical unicorns and I was, once again, left wanting something I couldn’t have.
I spend so much of my time green with envy over the privilege of getting to leave the house every day that I forget just how lucky I am to get to share every day with the two most incredible people I’ve ever met. Sure, sometimes they poop on the floor, lick the dogs, eat dirt, and find endless ways to almost kill themselves on a daily basis, but nobody’s perfect. I love them and I love that I get to be part of their lives from the moment they wake up until the moment they go to sleep. I am their world, at least for a little while longer.
The three year old is starting preschool in the fall, and suddenly his world will be so much bigger than me. He’ll have jokes and stories that I won’t understand, friends I’ve never met, and learn new things that I didn’t teach him. No longer will I be wishing for time away from him and his endless conversation. I’m going to miss him. The house will be quiet, at least until the baby learns to talk.
As nice as it is to have the occasional morning to myself to collect my thoughts and write without the pressures of childcare, it’s something I’ve realized that I can only enjoy in moderation. Like a fine wine or a piece of really dark chocolate, my free time is something I crave in small doses. It’s too rich for me to indulge in every day. I guess I’m more of a chicken strips and juice boxes kind of girl at heart, as much as I’ve tried to fight it. And I have that in droves right now.
Someday, when my kids are older I look forward to the hours of solitude I will have to write, exercise, cook, and all the other things I feel jealous that I can’t do now. But I know I will miss them. I will look back fondly on the days when I had to write during the baby’s nap while playing Play Doh with one hand and cooking dinner with the other. I will go back and reread these early posts and smile when I remember the madness and the beauty of my boys when all they wanted from me was my attention, my love, and the occasional piggyback ride.
They will always be my inspiration and my muses, but their stories will soon become their own rather than mine to share.
The grass may always seem greener on the other side, but that doesn’t mean we can’t stop to smell the roses whichever side we’re on.