Once upon a time, there was a mommy. She loved being a mommy, but she was also a teacher and she loved that too.
Some times during her life she was just a mommy. She stayed at home with her children, showing them how much she cared for them with hugs and kisses and by making nutritious lunches and squatting down to talk with them at their eye level. When they woke up in the morning she would bundle up in blankets with them on the couch and drink her coffee, stroking their soft hair as they sat contentedly reading stories. She sang lullabies at nap time to send them off to sleep. Her children loved having their mommy with them, On sunny days they would all go to the park, and on cold days they would stay in and color and watch movies. Those days were filled with little giggles and learning new things together.
There were other times when, very early in the morning, the mommy would quietly slip out of the house and go to work. When she was working, she was so busy that she often didn’t have time to eat lunch. She was hurried along all day by loud bells clamoring a constant reminder to “Hurry up!” The mommy bustled here and there, sending important messages and doing important things. Everything is very important at work. But when she had a moment to herself, she would think about her children and their soft hair and squeaky voices. When those moments came, she just might cry.
When work was over she would come home and hug her happy children, hang up her purse and start making dinner. The house was loud and busy. Her children would pat the couch cushion next to them and plead their mommy to “Sit! Sit!”, which sometimes she did. But other times she knew that dinner had to be made or everyone would be hungry and grouchy, so she would kiss them on the cheek and invite them into the kitchen with her.
After dinner the family would visit for a little while. They would tell stories from their day and laugh at the funny things the little ones did. All too soon, it was time for baths and jammies. When the mommy tucked her young children in to bed they would sob, begging for their mommy to sing a lullaby, which sometimes she did. But other times she knew that if she was asleep in 20 minutes, she would get 6 hours of sleep that night. And she was just so tired from being a teacher and a mommy. So, with tears softly running down her cheek, she sang one short lullaby. Her darling children’s voices called out to her in the dark as she walked from the room,
“I love you, mommy”
And she cried a little bit more. She loved her children so very much and , even though she liked work, there were times when she didn’t want to do it anymore.
My maternity leave is over, I’m going back to work today, and I’m pretty sad to leave my babies all day. I keep telling myself that things could be worse. I could have a longer commute, I could have longer hours, I could have a child with special needs… The list of worse situations goes on and on. Unfortunately, thinking of those things doesn’t make me feel any better. I choose to work, but if I had the option I would much rather be just a mommy.
I know there can be a lot of animosity between working vs. stay-at-home moms, and I’m a little too sad for any of that right now. If you have something to share, please leave a kindly worded comment.