It’s 6:30 at night. We’ve been home for about 10 minutes and I am running around like I usually am at this time. Trying to get dinner ready, attempting to put away the dishes, and bringing a fresh load of laundry to my daughter’s room so that I can make her bed.
That’s when she catches me. She’s sitting on the floor reading a book in the corner when she looks up and says, “Sit with me, Mommy.”
And my heart drops.
Somehow, in the next hour and a half I have to get her fed, bathed, and put to bed. As a single mother I can’t turn to my spouse and say, “Hey babe, can you finish dinner up so that I can play with the kiddo?”
If I don’t do these things, they simply won’t get done.
Don’t get me wrong — my girl and I get a lot of quality time together. I intentionally have her in part time day care so that our mornings can be spent just the two of us. I color with her, I read to her every night, and I try really hard to have some quality one-on-one time every single day.
But at least once a day, I also hear myself saying, “Not right now, sweetheart. Mommy’s busy.”
And it kind of breaks my heart a little.
Sure, I could avoid the household chores until nighttime when she’s finally in bed. But usually, I have work left over to complete during those hours. I’m also tired and I never go to sleep before midnight.
I love my little girl. She is absolutely the best thing to ever happen to me and I thoroughly enjoy spending time with her. But the dishes still need to be washed, the laundry still needs to be put away, and the trash still needs to be taken out. And there are never enough hours in the day.
So when my little girl grabs my hand while I’m in the middle of doing something, and tries to take me to her room to play, I find myself torn. I want nothing more than to cling to those chubby fingers and follow her wherever she might lead, but routinely hear myself say instead, “Just let mommy do this one thing first.”
Every single day and I hate it.
The message sent to mothers is often that we should just drop everything for our kids. In theory, I do agree with that — my girl will always be more important than any chore. But isn’t it also kind of my responsibility to teach her… responsibility?
I tell myself that my little girl could benefit from learning the patience that comes with me not dropping everything every time she wants to play. I remind myself that as an only child, knowing the world does not bend to her will is probably a good thing. And that learning to entertain herself during those times I am otherwise occupied certainly can’t hurt.
I tell myself these things and I do know them to be true, but still. When that kid looks up at me with sweetness in her eyes and says, “Sit with me, Mommy?”
All I really want to do is sit.More On