Who am I if I’m not a Crazed Mama experiencing utter chaos and misery when my husband goes away on business and leaves me home alone with two small children and early morning wakes ups, late afternoon whining and bedtime drudgery?
Mike has been in New York City since Monday. Even though I was up at 5am that morning (Mike caught a very early flight), the boys slept until 7am. Having two cups of coffee (maybe three) and checking my email before they woke up made it feel like I slept in. That night, they went to sleep without torturing me.
On Tuesday, Riley slept until 7am again, and I stayed in bed until I heard him. Can you imagine? I felt like a kid sleeping until noon on a Saturday. When Dylan woke up around 7:15, I discovered he had pinkeye. I had to change all of my plans and take him to the doctor instead of camp, and do you know what I thought to myself? No big deal. I can handle this. (Yes, this positive take on the situation surprised me, too.)
Dylan was a trooper with the wait at the doctor’s office and receiving eye drops, and despite his unexpected day off, I got a blog posted and I even did some work. I took the boys to the park in the afternoon (major good mommy points…it was hot as hell outside), and I had no desire to strangle anyone with dental floss at bedtime. In fact, the boys were down right adorable and no expletives were necessary.
Now, it’s Wednesday morning and the boys both slept until 7am again. They (and their clear eyes) are at camp, and I’m thinking about how I assumed this was going to be a long and exhausting week, but instead, it’s already hump day and I haven’t slept this much in weeks. I feel like an ex-smoker whose habits are harder to break than the actual nicotine addiction. I’m supposed to complain a lot and wish I had more help, but instead I’m having a great week. Am I looking forward to Friday when Mike comes home? Yes. Am I wondering if maybe he should travel for work more often? A little bit.
How’s your week going?
Mike took Dylan to Costco over the weekend, and on the way, Dylan asked Mike what his job was. Mike explained that he was a reporter and a project manager. Dylan’s priceless response was, “Do you fix things?” Next, Dylan asked what my job was? Mike said, “Mommy’s job is taking care of you, your brother and the household.” (Why does it always sting a little bit to hear this basically true statement out loud?) Dylan’s response was, “Mommy’s job is cooking.” (By the way, I’m so glad he said cooking instead of doing laundry. I actually enjoy cooking.) And then this was the best part. Dylan said, “Mommy’s job is everything.” This is quite possibly the best job description for a mother that I’ve ever heard.
I don’t actually do everything, but it often feels like it, and it’s one of the reasons I haven’t rushed back into the (paid) workforce yet. I feel like I’ve been living inside an episode of the Wonder Pets for nearly three years, so it’s hard to imagine having the capacity to be responsible for or accountable to anyone besides my two children (and husband and dog). On top of that, I don’t want to become a Caught in the Middle Mama again. Been there. Done that. And then there’s the fear – fear of failure, fear of taking on too much and fear of, well, everything. It’s one thing to want everything, but it’s another thing to have it all on one plate.
Even with all of this apprehension, I’ve been very discreetly doing something totally and completely HUGE. I’ve started working. I’m doing freelance public relations (what I used to do), and I’m getting paid (gasp!). This is what I was referring to in my blog birthday post when I said I was taking baby steps outside of my cozy mommy bubble.
As I’ve stated (and demonstrated) before, stay-at-home mamahood can be a nerve-racking, hair-raising experience, but no matter how crazy it gets, it’s still a different animal than work. Combining the two takes courage and patience (and good friends and plenty of Pino Grigio), and balancing them must be done delicately. Baby steps, indeed. I’m working from home, making my own hours, earning some money and still “cooking.” I’m a Fortunate Mama tiptoeing very slowly toward…everything.