Friday, June 15, 2012

To see what I have missed

Today was a bittersweet day.  Our nanny had a death in the family and she needed to miss work today, so I got a surprise impromptu SAHM day.  For those of you out of the know in the so called "mommy wars", that stands for Stay at Home Mom.  

And I got to be one today, unexpectedly, and it was awesome.  Because it was not calendared as a day off with my kids, I didn't have any "plans".  No doctors or dentist or physical therapy appointments squeezed in, no grocery shopping or big chores to tackle.  Just step in and have the role of taking care of my children.  It's sad to admit how often I don't get to do that.  I spend a lot of time with them.  My working from home days, the weekends, vacation days, all the aforementioned appointments, I wake up with them, and go to sleep with them, I volunteer at school, and take them each on as many special outings as I can possibly squeeze in.  It's not exactly time that I'm missing, even though there is a fair amount of time I am at work.  It's something else.    

It was Lily's last day of first grade.  So first we took obligatory pictures.  Addie and Bryson even walked her to the bus with me since it was the last time this year.  Lily asked Addie to go, Bryson will always jump at the chance, but Addie usually rather hang back in the warm house with no shoes on and watch from the window.  To my surprise, she humored her sister and came along.  Addie has the best hair in the morning.  
Lily - last day of 1st grade - 4 baby teeth replace by bigs, a shoe size larger, and 3 inches taller
Lily's last day of first grade

Lily Addie Bryson (note to self- he'll sit if you don't put shoes on him when the ground is cold), Lily's last day of first grade.  
And for comparison's sake (because I must), here is the first day of First Grade: 
Lily first day of first grade 
Lily Addie Bryson - Lily first day of first grade
Lily's first day of first grade
The day today was just so great.  I finished my company's audit yesterday.  5 months of hard work was finished, my burden there was lifted.  So when Nanny asked for today off, it was a no brainer.    I was happy to have today with the kids.  Giddy actually.  It was the kind of day that, while I did check my work email on my phone to keep me off the computer, I didn't have to worry that there would be a pressing issue to address.  My boss is in Japan, my staff is competent.  I knew that there was not one thing that couldn't wait until tomorrow.  So I just got to be with kids.  I did go to the grocery store with them, at our leisure, I did get the dishes done and the house picked up, I did sit outside in the sun and watch them play for a few hours, I did pick Lily up from her last day of first grade, I did go through her school binder and decide what to save and what to toss, and I did turn the guest bedroom into a scrapbook room vs a homework room for the summer-together with Lily.  I did get to snap this picture with Lily and her teacher on their last day of school. 
Lily with Mrs M on the last day of First Grade - We LOVE you Mrs. M!!
There were so many parents there, you would have thought it was the first day of school.  We had to park blocks from the school.  I didn't have to worry about a stroller for Bryson, because we had all the time we needed, no rush, just walk at his pace all those blocks to the school.  Some moms had flowers, flowers, for their first graders last day of school.  Wow.  Flowers!  I was happy to just be there, but my hands were empty.  Or full, rather, of Addie and Bryson's hands.  I looked around at all the moms who were there, and I felt proud to be there, standing among them.  I couldn't help but look at all the moms who planned to be there, who knew they'd be there all week, who were not there due to a sad circumstance in their child care provider's life.  I was there, it shouldn't matter.  But it did a little.  It's just hard for me not to want that life.  

Today was a blessing, a wonderful amazing blessing.  Not because they didn't fight, and tattle, and make messes, and throw tantrums and get time outs.  Not because I never lost my patience repeatedly telling them to stay in or out of the hard to push car shaped shopping cart, not to climb in and out over and over and teach your little brother to do the same.  Not because I got a moment of time to myself.  Not because I didn't try to accomplish some organizing and other general cleaning, as they messed it up faster than I could beautify it.  Not because I'm not dead tired right now.  All of those things happened.  I don't pretend to think this life is easy or restful.  But I got to be there for it in a very relaxed, I have nothing else I need to be doing, this is my only job sort of way.  I never get that.  Not on vacation, not on the weekends.  This is not my only job.  It's hard to admit, because I'm afraid that mothers who read this and stay at home as their job, might pity me, or pity my kids, or think I'm less of a mother.  Maybe it's saying out loud that sometimes I think I'm less of a mother.    Especially today, when I see all the little things I miss.  While I'm living on the scraps of motherhood.

And the truth is, if they did, oh well.  I know I'm where I have to be right now.  I know that Lawrence and I have made the choice for our family that works.  We work together to make this work in a way that works for us.  We have an amazing young woman who fills in the gaps and takes care of our kids with incredible love and intention.  Maybe someday things will change, maybe they won't.  I pray that if it is God's will for me to have a different role in this family, that He will open doors for us to make that happen.  But as things stand right now, I am grateful, we are grateful.  Grateful for my late mornings and Lawrence's early ones, giving way to his early afternoons, which allows for home cooked meals and coaching opportunities and early bedtimes and lots of rest.  Grateful to have a daddy for my children that takes on his three blessings without wincing at how much work it will be.  Grateful for my work from home days that allow for even later mornings and volunteering in the class room during a lunch hour here and there and no commute time and putting kids down for naps and having lunch together.  

But a day like today leaves me aching for another full day with them, and another.  It's like I said, I get to see what I am missing.  And, even full of gratitude, when I'm completely honest with myself I do miss it.  I know staying at home with small children is not easy, but I hope that all the mamas who are living that life, enjoy the days that are given to them.  Because if I got to redo any day over and over again, it would be one like today.  

Today was a bittersweet day.  I can't believe some mothers get to wake up and be this kind of mother every day.  I hope they are able to see that amazing blessing for themselves.  Every day.  Even though I don't get to do today again tomorrow.  I did it well, today, and it gives me refocusing perspective that I needed after a season of hard.  I have a lifetime of good ahead of me.  


  1. So happy you got to enjoy one of those days. I understand the feeling of even though we do get good quality time with our kids, it's often weighed down with the stresses and deadlines of the life we have to live outside our home and family. Stress and deadlines are so often hovering over our home time. Glad you could let go of that for a day and breath easy. xoxo

  2. You deserve the day you got to have with your kids. You are one of the most aware Mom's who work full time that I know. I love that you got this day with your kids. I wish there were more of those for you. ~Lynnette

  3. What a busy, but fulfilling day ... Glad you had it. As a non-stay-at-home mother when you were, I also missed many of those days. Wish I'd taken more first day and last day of school photos! I thought I took a lot of photos of my children, but that was before the digital age!

  4. I enjoyed reading about your day! I had one of those days recently and it also made me want more. I also have 3 kids almost the same ages as yours. My oldest is finishing 1st grade, my middle just finished pre-k and my youngest is 28 months. Your posts have also inspired me to organize my beginning and end of year photos!

  5. Thank you for your wonderful post Jenny. I read it and think about my own insecurities about being a working mom who is sometimes missing time with my little ones. But like you we make the most of our time together and realize that it's quality not quantity that matters sometimes. I actually really look up to you for the balance that you work so hard to acquire for your family. I know I only see it on facebook and your blog, but you seem like the most amazing, loving, positive mom!