|The Laughing Mom|
|Written by Susan Pfaltzgraff|
For a little while this summer I was working full-time hours between two jobs. It was an interesting experience, to say the least.
I would wake up at the crack of dawn and hastily turn off the alarm clock. Most mornings I would have to sneak out of bed from between my two children who somehow encroached upon my sleeping space in the night. I would tip-toe to the shower and, if lucky, they would both sleep while I cleaned and dressed myself.
Usually though, I would come out of the shower prematurely in response to the cries of one of my children and have to calm them while wrapped in a towel with dripping hair. Sadly, the television became my assistant each morning.
Two half-awake little girls would watch cartoons quietly while I finished dressing, drying my hair and putting on make-up.
The rest of the morning would be a blur of feeding, dressing and constantly negotiating with little children who do not understand the importance of being punctual. I believe they think that saying, “We’re late!” is just my way of saluting the house as we leave.
The 10-minute drive to work has been, and still is, my favorite part of the morning. That is the only time that I really get to connect with my kids before the day starts. Melise, my 3-year-old, loves to pretend to be characters from fairy tales and always assigns me a role in the story. More often than not, I get fired from my role with an emphatic, “You’re doing it wrong, Mommy!”
Alina, my 1-year-old, is also highly vocal, even though she doesn’t have much of a vocabulary. She cheers and laughs on our morning drives. On special days she even sings a happy, tuneless, mono-syllable song. Melise and I dance along until we arrive at daycare.
Every morning at daycare, Alina runs happily into the arms of her caregiver, and Melise asks me when I’m coming back. With hugs and kisses (and a big sigh) I wave good-bye.
At work I guzzle coffee and chat with other adults—how refreshing! I soak up their company with pleasure. At the end of one day, a coworker said, “Go home and relax with your kids!” I laughed and corrected her that work was far more relaxing than home.
However, as I punch out each day, I practically race back to daycare because I miss my kids so much! Melise and Alina both greet me with great relief—as if they think I was never going to return.
At home, the evening is another blur of feeding, bathing, undressing for bed and more negotiations about the TV and books and dessert.
Like I said before, there was a while in which I was working full-time hours. The time I was with my kids was too brief. Each day ended with me feeling like I was recovering from a natural disaster. One day, I realized that Melise, Alina and I were constantly grumpy (Mommy was more than grumpy, but the appropriate word would be distasteful here!).
I made a hard decision to cut back my hours by half. I could practically hear my checkbook choking and sputtering, but my heart sighed with relief. The first week after I cut my hours, I watched myself and my children become ourselves again.
So here I am. I still have absolutely no time to myself and life is still hectic, but we are happy. I may return to full hours in the future, but for now my family time is proving much more valuable!
Holyoke Enterprise July 26, 2012