Oh mamas. You all were on my mind all day yesterday. I was running into so many of you all over the place- the school parking lot, in hallways, inside classrooms, and all over Facebook. We made it through another first day of school. That in itself deserves a congratulations, but I’ve been walking around all day with it on my heart to celebrate something else in a much bigger way. It’s you all. Well, it is me too, but it’s mostly you. Okay, wait. Actually, it’s us- this community of mothers. All of us- the working ones, the stay at home ones, all of us. I was in awe yesterday.
I know there are a lot of people out there who don’t understand what we do. Just recently I was talking to someone who was complaining about a coworker who didn’t volunteer overtime. She was upset because his excuse was that he had to get home to help his wife with their twins. Then she said “And she’s a stay at home mom! It’s not like she does anything!!”
Nope. We don’t do anything.
That mom, the one with the young twins, how selfish that she would want her husband home after his 9 hour workday to help her! (And what a terrible dad, to want to spend time with his children before they’re put to bed.) All moms know-the working ones too- that when you are home with your child, it is not a day off. Even if you stay in your pajamas, even if you don’t leave the house, even when you are having a blast together, it is still work. Sometimes it is fun work. Other times it is mind numbing work. However, unless your kids know how to make their own meals, entertain themselves, educate themselves, drive themselves places, and keep house, it is still work.
Forget about those people. Maybe someday they’ll be lucky enough to understand what parents do.
So, can we take a moment and talk about what it is we actually do do?
I feel like I’ve finished a season of my life. I’ve got 3 kids in school now 8 hours and one that’s gone for half of a day. The long, long days of being home and outnumbered with 3 little kids in various stages under the age of 5 are behind me. No more diapers, no more sippy cups, no more high chairs, naps, playgroups, and no more 24 hour coverage of Nick Jr. cartoons (Thank God. As I once saw someone write about Dora The Explorer: “Girl needs charm school.” Yes. Yes she does.)
In fact, I should probably change the name of this blog. It’s rare these days for me to have “mean mom moments.” I mean, of course, I still get frustrated with the kids. I still yell more than I’d like to. Ain’t no shame. A lot of us do. But those moments that inspired this blog, this post… when things would spin out of control and utter chaos would ensue, and I would lose it for a sec? Rare. Hardly ever happens anymore. My kids mostly do for themselves now and I no longer have to juggle 3 different sets of needs or demands all at once. I’ve switched out the physical exhaustion of taking care of babies for the mental tightrope of navigating “big kid” issues: friend relationships and hurt feelings, after school activities, homework, preparing 9 for college, etc. I’m ready. I’m excited. I’m also really proud of myself for getting through the first season- cuz that was hard yo! Really, really hard. But I don’t have to explain it to you, because you all know. You’ve been there.
The common theme yesterday, all over Facebook and in the conversations at school, was how did they (our children) get so big? Did you notice it too? Even if we weren’t saying it, it showed in our faces- the marvel of how did this happen? How did we get here so fast? Are they going to be okay? Am I?
The answer is yes. You are going to be okay. I am going to be okay, and they are going to be okay. They’ve all gotten so big because we’ve done our jobs well. Time goes fast because time always goes faster where love is present. Isn’t that true? And while it’s hard to watch your child walk off into a sea of a hundred other children without you by their side, it is what is supposed to happen. It’s why we all work so hard at this parenting gig- so our kids can grow and be successfully independent.
So well done, you. Well done, me.
One more thing.
Have your kids ever said anything to you that was so incredibly honest or true or sweet without really realizing that they’re shattering your heart to pieces? Yesterday PG was getting ready for school. She looked in the mirror at her reflection and saw herself with her new haircut, cute little Capri jeans, black ballet flats and said “I feel so mature!”