When Wesley started kindergarten in September, I made the heartbreaking (for me) decision to go back to work, full-time, after 5 years. The ‘work’ part wasn’t so heartbreaking, it was the full schedule part that weighed the heaviest.
I feel lucky. Five years ago I was able to adjust my schedule to fit our needs. The first two and a half years were spent at home, every day, with my kids. The last two were spent working part-time in the office, where I could maintain a bit of my sanity, get prettied up twice a week, have adult conversations and uninterrupted coffees but still spend most of my days at home.
But this full-time work business is no joke. How have my mommy friends been keeping up this ridiculous schedule for all these years?
The last few months have been hard for me. Being back at work means missing out on breakfast every single day with the kids. Every single day.
I miss them.
Evenings are spent running the kids to swim practice, soccer practice, swim lessons, and activities galore. In between we are making lunches, making dinners, tidying, trying to squeeze in a load of laundry now and then. And with a 7:30 bedtime, I have almost no time to actually be with my kids – the exact thing I stayed home from work to do in the first place.
I miss them.
Staying home was also no joke. Anyone, ANYONE who thinks being a stay-at-home parent is the bees knees ought to give it a try. It is HARD. It is thankless. The days can last weeks. But you are WITH your kids. You can snuggle, talk, feed, teach, play, read, chase, scold, laugh, nap, clean, love on, hug them any time you want.
I miss them so.
Last night, with dishes piled up in the sink, a red light flashing on my work Blackberry, a to-do list a mile long, I chose to slow down.
We didn’t rush after Jaia’s swim practice and Wes’ swim lesson. We took our time. Blow-dryed their hair instead of throwing a toque on. Walked to the car instead of running. Ate dinner together, sitting down, instead of standing to save time. At bedtime, I read to Wesley, and snuggled him for awhile instead of tucking him in and ducking out quickly. I turned off Jaia’s light and crawled in with her for awhile to talk about her day and get excited about the upcoming weekend.
I left their rooms and walked downstairs, continuing to ignore the now angrily flashing red light, and spent some time hanging out with Dan.
I did not prepare in advance for today. Messages were left unanswered. Tasks were not completed. Laundry sat untouched. Plans to go to the gym were changed.
Yesterday I slowed down. And the world just kept on turning. But instead of collapsing at the end of the day feeling stressed and overwhelmed, I crawled into bed feeling happy. Mission accomplished.