i walked past a mirror this afternoon and was surprised for a second at what i saw. no make up, a men's jcrew button down shirt on, hair on top of my head in a bun, carrying a laundry basket on my hip and dark circles under my eyes. is this my job? is this my life? is this the role of a stay- at-home- mom? i thought for a second.
being a mom is all i've ever wanted. when i was four i would walk around with my doll up to my chest pretending to nurse my baby. when i was in new york city nannying a four month old i told my mom that this is was what i wanted to do... except i wanted it to be my own child. i wanted to stay at home, and raise my child. for as long as i could. making whatever sacrifice i had to.
when i was pregnant, james and i had a goal that i would stay at home with finn for at least the first year. whatever that meant we had to do to make that happen. and we did. and it's been two years that i have gotten to stay at home with our son. and i am really, really thankful for that.
besides a few classes that i am teaching, which i really enjoy and feel passionate about, i've started a handful of side projects and then stopped them. james tells me i have so many good ideas. i just need to act on them. and i'm going to. right after i get done playing on the floor with finn and his cars. today i was the firetruck and finn's car kept getting hurt. "help me mama firetruck!" he kept yelling over and over. and i put my pretend lights on and zoomed over to his car. i checked his tires and opened and closed his doors. "you're all fixed! lets go!" i yelled.
isn't that more important than those projects? to me, right now, it is.
i know some women might not understand that. and they don't have to. having a very part-time job is okay with me right now. and i know that i will work again one day. but i also know the feeling that rises inside me when i think about my childhood and my mom being at home with me and my brothers. and i can remember her happiness about it. and her contentment about it. and she made our days really, really fun. and we were happy.
and that is not to say that another mom who went to work 9-5 every day of the week didn't make her children as happy as mine. and that's not to say that she wasn't every bit as amazing as my mom. and i really truly look up to working mothers with admiration and praise- they're juggling a career and their children at once. and there's something to be said about that. and i hope they feel accomplished and satisfied.
right now in my life, i don't think i could do it. and maybe it's because i've become spoiled with waking up with finn every morning, or almost every morning, and getting to spend the day with him. teaching him new lessons, and exploring new spaces, and going on our own adventures that i hope one day he will look back and something with rise inside of him. and he will remember me being with him throughout his days. and the feeling of satisfaction i had by just being with him. not feeling like i was falling behind, or worrying about what everyone else was doing. i was exactly where i wanted to be.
the other day i had a fellow mom who works three days a week, ask me if i stayed at home with finn all day. and when i told her yes, she looked puzzled for a second and then said "what do you guys do all day?" on the way home thinking about her words, i thought to myself, "did she want our entire rundown?" i could have told her everything i did that day.... well i woke up at seven before finn to pay bills, clean the kitchen and drink a hot cup of coffee, one that usually takes me all morning to finish and that i warm up in the microwave a handful of times, finn woke up and we made pancakes, i cleaned the kitchen and then we went for a bike ride, after i did three loads of laundry and cleaned the living room. we stopped to see his cousin. we stopped at the park for story time and had lunch by the fountain "the water comes out of that nozzle" finn told me. drove home, stopped at the bank, put finn down for a nap, folded laundry, switched loads, cleaned up the basement, cleaned out my car, (if we were ever stranded in our car we would survive for days on just the crumbs in between our seats), emptied the dishwasher, paid a bill online i forgot to pay earlier, ate lunch standing in the kitchen staring out the window, finn woke up and wanted pancakes again, pissed him off by saying no- we made grilled cheese instead, cleaned the kitchen, put away the laundry, looked for something to start making for dinner, it's only 5 o'clock. where is james?
i could have told her that. i could have went through my every day. one of my days. but i didn't. i just responded with, "the same thing you do when you're at home with your son". and i felt that was good enough.
its a topic that has been dissected over and over. It's a debate that I find pointless and ineffective but part of me wishes we would support each other more. whether you go to work every day, or you work three days a week, or you work one day a week, or you don't work any days of the week- (i think we can all agree as moms, or as parents rather, that it is some type of work staying at home with your children- although we don't call it that). i think that we can agree on the one concept that binds us and can make us all relate to each other and encourage each other and that is the mission of giving our children as much love as we possibly have. and in the end, however you choose to do it, doesn't that trump all else?