My friend has a bar in her basement.*
One night, we were hanging around and talking, sipping on a few Kahlua Mudslides (as you do in a basement bar in the suburbs), and we talked about the challenges of being working mothers. And my friend said, “If I really let myself think about being away from my kids so much during their infancy, I probably wouldn’t be able to live with myself. So I don’t let myself think about it. Because it’s not an option.”
And I nodded in agreement while I took a sip of my delicious, delicious mudslide (seriously, those things are the bomb dot com). Because I think that same thought often— that I am making the wrong choice in life in regards to working — and then quickly block out the guilt, because it isn’t an option financially for my family as well.
But then, I have a snow day with my children, and I LOSE. MY. MIND. And I laugh and laugh at the thought I could be anything other than a working parent.
Because, for me, it’s sooooooo much easier to work while having kids than stay at home with them. I simply don’t have it in me to be home with my kids all day. It is so hard (seriously, SAHMs of the world, you have my deep admiration). As I’m writing this, I’m literally sore from chasing after the baby and Sam all day, not to mention the hour of clean up I had to do this evening because we destroyed the house during the course of the day.
Like, I would sweep, and then two hours later, I would sweep again. I would clean the breakfast dishes, and then it would be time to start making lunch. (I also worked in between doing all of this and while the baby napped.) It was a lot, and I’m so very thrilled daycare is open again tomorrow.
I love, love, love the time I get to spend with my children. I realish it. But I also think I’m a much better mom when I get a break from them.
I shouldn’t say this as I’ll jinx it but: We currently have a really good balance happening. Nat and I are both home by 5 so we get a few hours with the baby and a sit down dinner with Sam and then a nice bedtime routine. It’s calm and happy. We aren’t yelling at each other, I’m not exhausted from chasing after Kit all day or mad at Nat for not being around, the house is somewhat clean because both kids are out of the house, and I don’t have to organize playdates (the thought of which just broke me into a cold sweat). Plus, on the weekends, I wake up excited to spend time with the kids and am very present for them. [I feel like I need to insert the caveat here that Nat and I have totally changed careers and work locales to cut down on our commute-time and work stress in order to feel this way; there have been some huge trade-offs for us to get to this point. But, for me, it’s been worth it for us to not be so stressed.]
Anyway, I don’t know the point of this essay other than: 1. Snow days are hard. 2. I’m glad I work and when I’m 67 and am worried about the choices I made in my life, I will read this post from the Amazon chip implanted in my brain that pulls up all of my old writing (for a cost, which I will gladly pay) and feel better. 3. Kahlua mudslides are really tasty and we don’t give them enough credit in the cocktail cannon.
* Basement bars! Reason number 4,134 why the suburbs aren’t the death trap popular media has made them out to be.