As a working mom, I always have thoughts about spending enough time with my children. Since they are 6 and 2, I know that this is the most impressionable time that they have, and I do want them to interact with Mommy and Daddy as often as possible. However, I have to work, and so does Daddy. I have the guilt every day when I drop my children off to their Grandma’s so that Grandma can do the drop off at the bus, and then watch my younger child while my older child is at school. This is the day and age where a good portion of families have two parents that must work in order to support the family. I often wonder what life would be like to not have to work, and to be able to stay home with my children, and drop off/pick up at the bus stop every day.
While I was growing up, my parents worked. I was a part of the infamous “latch key kid” generation, where I came straight home and let myself into the house every day. You know, I didn’t think anything of it. It was something in life that I was used to. Now, as a parent, I would love to be able to be home when my kids come home from school. At this vantage point, I know that this is something that I cannot do. I still long for and wish to be home, and not have to deal with the responsibilities of my place of employment as well as my responsibilities at home.
It looks so easy and peaceful. Wake up, scramble around the house to get the kids ready, send them off to school, and then care for/entertain my younger child, while getting some household items checked off before the school bus comes. Then, I’d be able to shuttle my children around to different activities in the afternoon until dinner time.
But then I think about the time that I have to myself: The time I have in the car during my commute to and from work (I currently work in the suburbs, but from time to time I do use mass transit to commute into the city for meetings). The time I get to interact with other adults and not have to censor my language or ask someone to complete a task multiple times (sometimes!). The time I get to eat my lunch without one of my children sitting on my lap and pleading with me to have some food, when it is EXACTLY the same thing that I served to them on their own plates, a plate which they refused to eat from. The time to go to the restroom alone. The time that I can be in another room without praying that I don’t hear a crash from some toy being thrown.
Life would be different if I stayed at home. Life would be different if I worked from home full time. Being home full time would mean I would spend a lot of time with my younger child, I would get to see all of his developmental milestones, as opposed to hearing about new things he is doing and saying from my mother-in-law. I would be able to wait with my older child for the bus in the morning and wait for her to get off the bus in the afternoon. I would be able to go to school events during the day. I would be able to participate in more after school activities. I would be able to cook more meals during the week. I would be able to have more down time with my children. These are the things that I feel I am missing out on because of the fact that I work outside the home full time.
After all of these thoughts circling around in my head, I have come to the conclusion that I do the best I can as a Mom every day and give my children all of me every single day. That is all that your children want. They want our love. They want our support. They want our comfort. They want our attention. They want to live their lives with their parents. That is it. Life is what you make it for your family. And the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.