When I became pregnant with my first child, I thought that it would be so lovely to quit my job and stay home full time. I wanted to be the one to raise my child. I didn’t want to expose her newborn immune system to all the germs of daycare and such. And the studies! Have you read all the studies about how kids who go to daycare turn into awful adolescents and adults? Fast-forward nine months to when she is actually born. Those first few days were blissful and exhausting. But then I started to get really bored. And I missed going to the bathroom alone. And eating with two hands. And adult conversation. It was right at this moment when I started to look forward to returning to work.
Don’t get me wrong. During my first maternity leave, I was able to get caught up on Breaking Bad, which was fun. I remember nursing a baby to sleep while falling into a relationship with Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. With the second, I was able to power watch all five seasons of The Wire. Omar was my hero. Season four was the best season of television I watched in a long time. But again, after the television watching was over, I still had children to care for and a house to deal with and two dogs to walk. Oh and jeez, didn’t I just feed these kids and already they want to eat again? Work sounded like a lovely oasis.
I started to realize that I am the type of person who needs to outsource the details of my life in order to maintain a level of sanity. I give a huge high five to the ladies who make it work, staying at home, with a smile on their face and dinner in the oven. But that is not me. I hired a cleaning lady. On the days the cleaning lady comes, I drop the dogs off for an overnight at dog daycare. My kids go to school. And I work. All of this keeps me sane.
I like the break that work provides and ya know what? That is okay. It’s alright to not like the drudgery caring for a child involves. I admire ladies who are cut out to do it 24/7, but that is not me. And I am alright with that. When I pick up the kids after work, we either take a trip to the park or play in the house. I feel that these few hours spent with them are important. I put the phone away (most days) and try to remain fully present. This is not something I could accomplish if I was with them all day long. I feel that I enjoy my time with them more because I know it is limited. Somedays I wish there were more hours but, like everyone else, there are days where I am counting down the minutes until bed time.
I admire the ladies who get in the trenches of parenthood and deal with the daily tedium. I thought that was the path for me. But I realized it wasn’t. Going back to work was my calling. I enjoy my adult time, where I get to eat with two hands and go to the bathroom in peace. I also enjoy the time I spend with my children, swinging at the park or rushing through Whole Foods in a race car cart, just trying to get enough food for dinner without someone having a break down. When I see my girls smile at me or my oldest tells me she loves me, I know I’m doing a good job even though I’m not there all day long.