By NATHALIE HARDY | May, 2014
Published in the Yamhill Valley News-Register
I’m fielding a lot of questions these days about how things are going for my stay-at-home mom redux.
It’s a fair question. I usually come back with something flippant about missing bathroom doors that lock and luxuries like uninterrupted conversations and driving in the car with the radio turned up. Oh, and my co-workers, I miss them a lot. Not that my 4- and 6-year-olds aren’t super conversationalists, but it’s not quite the same.
So, truth be told, three weeks into this transition, I’m still figuring out the answer to how it’s going, except to say: We are still adjusting. Some things are awesome, but others, not so much.
Shortly after I left my job, I got a package in the mail with a coffee cup and a note from a friend saying she “missed my mug.”
My husband eyed the gift suspiciously. That’s because the mug was inscribed, “World’s Okayest Mom.”
You see, not just anyone can give a gift like that. But it came from the right person. I love it because it reminds me that being a good mom is all relative, so to speak.
Bottom line, we are really doing just fine, even if the contents of my desk are still in the living room, and I haven’t even started any of the sewing projects I planned to do once I was back home.
First, there’s the fact that I don’t sew. Then there’s the troubling reality that I don’t have the time I thought I would.
In my head, I figured the boys were two years older than the last time I was home, so there wouldn’t be any diapers to wash, they would be able to get a drink of water for themselves and I wouldn’t have to watch them every single second to keep them from choking or sticking something into a socket.
Alas, it turns out they are also two years more clever. Though they prefer I don’t watch them so closely, I probably should.
Also, there’s a lot of blood that comes with doing tricks on bikes and playing with sticks. Yes, they can get their own water and snacks, but it’s amazing how messy independence can be.
But I hesitate to complain, because that would be like getting to go on vacation somewhere awesome, then complaining about the view from the room. Except not exactly.
This is more like a staycation, and it doesn’t feel very vacation-y — not between the whole not really sitting down much thing and the not having a moment to myself thing.
Also, being a stay-at-home mom is a total misnomer. You guys know that, right? There’s actually not a lot of staying home at all. But that’s a topic for another column.
Who referred to this as a vacation again? Oh, right. Me. My bad.
Shortly before I went on my final paid vacation as an employed person, I told my editor I would be willing to write a story from Palm Springs while I was visiting my parents there.
“Are you sure? I mean, it’s your vacation,” she said.
And then, as if I didn’t know better, I followed up by saying I would basically be on vacation once I was back home with the boys. It came out wrong, but still there it hung in the air, perhaps the dumbest thing I’ve ever said.
There was an awkward pause as we let that set in, followed by laughter. “I look forward to hearing more about that vacation,” she said.
Okay, so there’s not exactly an umbrella in my drink and no time for postcards, but I am mostly loving having more time with my little ninja wannabes. Plus, I do get to read for fun now. Actually, it’s really just paragraphs at a time while the boys set up a track and practice their tricks before asking me to “Watch, Mom! Watch! No, with your eyes!”
Fine, fine. I’ll watch. I am aware that their childhood has already been a blur, and if I blink, “Look at me, Mom!” will just be an echo in my memory.
In honor of Mother’s Day this weekend, I raise my mug to all the other “okay” moms out there, who are keeping things real by maintaining a sense of humor and remembering to count their blessings instead of their burdens.
Also, just as kind of a public service announcement, I would not recommend that awesome mug as a Mother’s Day gift from, say, husbands.
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