mother time

by humanmama on February 22, 2015

I never thought I would stay home with my kids. Well, that’s not totally true. I had a stay-at-home mom, until my parents divorced at 10, and so through my formative years I didn’t really think of anything besides staying at home when I had kids (and yes, I always wanted kids). But as I grew, went to college, got my degree and moved way East to Pittsburgh, I had in my mind that I’d work if I had kids. And, by that time, I wasn’t even sure I’d find someone worth having kids with.

I did find that someone. But I didn’t really choose to stay at home with our baby. I got laid off due to grants funding, and even though I knew it was coming, I was stunned at first. Little by little did I realize this is my job now, and it was very difficult–at first I wasn’t sure how to navigate staying at home. I did it all, although I could just as easily have done nothing. Either way would lead to depression and loneliness and the feeling that no one understood me or the baby. Little by little, with time and a very good and helpful partner, I crawled out of the funk and postpartum and began embracing being a SAHM.

But, of course, every winter for the last nine winters I have missed work. So much.

In the summer staying at home is pretty awesome. Plans and schedules are just what you make them–nothing more. You can dismiss angry or irritable kids outside to play out their frustrations with chalk, or bikes, or swings or sand. You can get to the car in ten minutes flat with four kids, instead of forty with hats and boots and gloves and coats and MOMMY I HAFTAGOPOTTYYYYYYY!!! In the winter, you’re screwed. You survive, especially with little kids, by dreaming of having older kids, or beaches, or sunshine or wine or chocolate.

I’ve gotten really good at it–staying at home. I have recipes. I have crafts. The house is pretty clean mostly. Things progress. Walls get painted. Science fairs are even entered, and a few dance or art classes are signed up for. I’m pretty okay at it and every year I get better, which just makes me think about the time they won’t need me anymore. And it’s coming.

I bet the very best I’ll ever be at being a mom to my 8-year-old is probably the week after she ever really needs me again, in that way. I’ll suddenly get it, and when I’m totally comfortable and in my groove, the kids will effectively say “we’re downsizing,” and suddenly I’ll find my skill set isn’t needed anymore. What then, when I’ve finally absolutely perfected my performance of this, the very most comprehensive job description I’ve ever had?

I guess I’ll just adapt. Outsource some help. Go be something–a nurse, a nanny. Go back to school. Do therapy again. Help people who need it. Of course, my littles will always need me, but pretty soon the time will come when I need them just a little more. That’s a little scary. I don’t think I’m ready for that yet.

Ah, well. I’ve got time.

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