I recently quit my job as a corporate lawyer and am “staying home” with my kids. (That is the worst phrase ever.) I wrote this on my second day on the “job”. Happy to say that a month in, things are a bit easier.
Day One was good. Good and weird and boring and amazing and ordinary. Drove carpool with Tigerlily in the car, for the first time. Went to the park twice. Made lunch, made dinner. Played Legos. Ordinary, but awesome. Still, I feel a bit untethered. I thought I would be unabashedly gleeful, excited. Instead it feels a bit more like I’m tip toeing into a very cold, very vast ocean. The water is beautiful, but scary. I want to be in it, but I’m afraid of it’s depths. Anxious that I can’t see the other side. I’m cautiously in awe. It is so strange to wake up one day after years and years of work, and to know that I won’t be working today, next month, anytime soon. Unlike breaks in between jobs where there is a undercurrent of time expiration, this break is possibly, a forever break. It is strange.
Day Two was a bit rougher. Morning seemed to be on track, though I didn’t have time to feed Tigerlily before carpool (the little things I don’t think of that need to be planned out better). But I just figured keep her in her jams, throw her a croissant for the drive, and feed her breakfast when we got home. Except my car was dead. Wouldn’t start. Which starts a mild panic as I have to pick up another little boy and am supposed to pick up woodworking carpool at 2 pm and nanny isn’t due until noon. My husband M is the kind of guy that always plans ahead, so these things never happen to him. Even though he doesn’t blame me, it sort of feels like he does. He assumes it is because I didn’t turn the car completely off. I also left my keys in our backdoor all night, which doesn’t make me look any better. He stays home with TL while I take carpool. After I pick up my other charge, realize we’d left O’s lunchbox in the other car. Detour back home. Get close to school (and manage not to scream at the kids because they are pretending to shoot guns and are SO LOUD) but miss the turn because I am brooding over the fact that I can’t get any of this right. Extra 5 minutes to get where I need to get. Thankfully we are not the LAST car in carpool, but close. Drop kids off and call M to tell him I’m calling the dealership, but of course he already has. Hang up and burst into tears. I know this is silly, but at that moment, all I feel is a failure. Day Two and it feels like things run much smoother when I’m NOT there. I know this is just something that happens but still. On Day Two, I am feeling very unsure of myself, and this decision. Not if it was right, but if it will become glaringly apparent that I am no good at so many things. Get home, Tigerlily is eating popcorn for breakfast. Mom FAIL.
Car gets jumped. It’s actually NOT my fault as there is a faulty charge thing. I manage to get Tigerlily to eat some banana and toast with peanut butter (though she is mostly just eating the PB with her fingers, but whatever). I busy myself unloading the dishwasher and cutting and arranging the flowers I bought, because I can’t just sit and drink coffee while M is dealing with the car guy and late to work.
Get Tigerlily dressed in leggings and a dress- which she then accessorizes with pink ruffled bloomers (over the leggings, under the dress) and a turquoise and red romper which she pulls up over the dress like a skirt and O’s plastic Native shoes. Coax her into tennis shoes and and the stroller and make it to the park.
By now, I’m accepting that these things just happen, and it doesn’t mean I’m a TOTAL failure. Yes, I need to plan better. Yes, I need to get into a routine and learn how to do this. Because despite knowing very well how to be a mother to my two little ones, I don’t actually know how to be a full-time mom that doesn’t work outside of the home. (Can I just say SAHM?) It is a job like any other, and has it’s tricks. I’m still learning.
And today at the park with Tigerlily? It was a glorious day, warm and shiny and not hot or humid, perfection. And she was swinging and swinging and swinging. And I just sat there in front of her, pushing her when she reached me, but not doing anything other than just watching her. Not on my phone, not thinking about when I needed to get back to work, or squeeze in the grocery store, or what to feed her for lunch, or where O was. And I spent minutes just memorizing her face and all of her funny expressions. And realized- this is such a privilege. A huge privilege to be her mom and to just spend time with her, time that wasn’t planned and squeezed in and plotted. A huge privilege to just sit in a park with her, on a sunny day, and just be her mom. So whatever this has been so far, that is my take-away for the day. I feel lucky to just get to be a mom today. And when I picked O up from his wood-working class, you would have thought it was Christmas, he was so excited. It was a privilege to pick him up. I’m very grateful to have this time with them. No matter how ill-prepared for it I am, I will find my way.