Back in June (when I had no clue), my husband and I were (my husband! I get to say that now!) both still working full-time from home and excitedly making our summer plans.
We had a wedding to plan, we had kids to take care of, and careers to manage. I’m not sure whether it was the scent of lilacs all up in my nose or the anticipation of my impending nuptials that caused my lapse of better judgement, but we decided to keep our kids home for the summer. And we’ll never do it again. Not with our set-up.
I was going to take long leisurely walks, hikes, and bike rides with my kids. (The dishes could wait!) I was going to undertake huge outdoor art projects, plan big outings, make all of the homemade everything to put in our mouths! We were going to go to the beach everyday! We were going to scrapbook! (As evidence of my intentions, there are a couple of forlorn looking scrapbooks, reminding me of all my super-mom failures, stashed on one of the arts and crafts shelves in our kitchen.)
I could go on and on … but what really happened was nothing short of keeping our heads above water. Survival. Sure, there was some of the above happening, but not nearly as much as I thought my kids deserved, no needed, in order to enjoy their summer of carefree, day-care-less, summer stay-cay.
Is there a name for this condition that I suffer from? One might call it “mom guilt,” the pull that I gravitate towards; the desire to be the one taking care of my kids at (most) all times. The one who creates their magic, their memories, their joy. Except it’s not mom guilt at all really. Perhaps there is a modicum of such, but in my heart of hearts, I know, that I wish I could have it both ways. (Because look at that FACE.)
I want to have a career and be a full-time mom. Whatever that means. Moms are full-time moms whether their kids are in school or daycare for a part of their day or not. BUT, as a mom who works from home, I get all too easily drawn to the very attractive (at the time) idea of juggling it all. To somehow accomplish in a work day what others don’t even imagine doing with children underfoot. With my husband working from home we somehow thought we could swing it. I’ll even swallow some crow and admit that we thought we could rock it.
There were many days spent in our backyard oasis, sweating buckets and heaving around slip mats and boat-long pools, in the hopes that I might crunch in at least an hour of work before the cries of, “Mama, we’re borrrrred,” started streaming in. And even if I did get in that hour, screaming was a very popular pastime.
All that this scream-y splash-y time afforded me was an even deeper will to toss off work and join them. Because again, LOOK AT THEM. Most of my work deadlines were in fact not foiled by my children, but my myself and my own desires.
We successfully ate lots of BBQ, but alas, my foodie inclinations had to be set aside. There were many burgers. Homemade burgers yes, but lots of burgers. Not that anyone was complaining, although my Instagram food pics surely suffered. (First world problems to be sure.) Oh, what I would have given for a few afternoons spent prepping, peeling, massaging, fluttering, and fretting over some new culinary masterpiece whilst sipping on something fine while Roberta Flack crackled in the background. Instead it was the Frozen soundtrack or Raffi. Or albums that I used to like, suffering the slow sweet death that comes from repetition.
Somehow we trudged along, with many a friend and colleague shaking their heads at us in disbelief. I’m lucky in that I do the type of work that allows me to bring my children along for certain events and/or meetings. It’s lucky too when Abby (who is in a heady stage of toddler freakiness) will pass out cold after an intense meltdown.
There was many a babysitter called in and many an hour spent in front of a screen.
We managed to fit in nuggets of frolic, sun and sand …
There were birthday parties planned, cupcakes made, camp outs and road trips tackled, all while constantly multitasking like a fiend. Pretty sure my brain is mush now that the summer has long gone.
Regret would be a strong word to describe our feelings at having kept our kids home for the summer. After all, they put on regular talent shows for us, the beginning of which pleased me right down to the tips of my toes. Some of my best childhood memories are of my own backyard talent shows.
In the end, I suppose we weren’t total failures given our fondness for bonfires and s’mores. At least we did that right. Even though, by the time dusk was nearing we were aching to tuck them into bed (horrible!) just so we could ourselves tuck back into work. Or waste the the night away watching something deviant and entirely grown-up on Netflix.
So was it worth it? To keep our kids home for the summer? Heck no. And I’ll never do it again unless I take the summer off of work, or at least go down to part-time work. My sanity and my heart, they just can’t take it. I’m officially admitting right here, right now: SUPERMOM, I am not. Somehow I have to be okay with that.
More Babbles From Selena …
- Do We Reveal Too Much About Our Kids Online?
- Less a Toddler, More a Boy – Everyday
- I Think My Child is a Hoarder
- 8 Things You Should Know Before Babysitting My Kids
- What I’m Really Saying When I Instagram My Family’s Meals
- The Magical Moments I Hope My Kids Always Remember From Their Childhood
Selena is a crafty, culinary mom. Part-time mischief maker, all-the-time geek. Find her elsewhere on the Internets, mastering in general mayhem.