I don’t have what it takes to be a stay-at-home mom. Not a good one anyway. It took two maternity leaves and ten sleepless months to know this for sure. Thank God for the leave. A chance to bond with my kids, then hand them over to professionals lest they be stunted by over-exposure to Dora and chicken nuggets. I bow down to homeschooling mothers everywhere. Offer my compassionate condolences to my American friends who are forced to quit their jobs due to the stunning absence of a proper mat leave.
With Deaglan, my first, the thought of separation sickened me. At six months I began the countdown to the descent back to work. Desperate, I devised ways to stay home and still bring in an income. I offered to set up a hotdog stand on our lawn, grow our own food, stop shopping, and sew our clothes instead. But my husband’s thorough knowledge of my strengths and weaknesses didn’t sell him on any of these schemes.
That first week I was forlorn. A part of me was missing. My breasts leaked through my business suit. I only caught fragments of what people said. I cried in a bathroom stall on the fourth floor. And my arms ached to hold my baby.
But into the second month, a new consciousness penetrated the one-way street of my thinking. I liked work. Needed work. Saw that I was a better mom with work. And felt gloriously liberated to be back in heels, relegating my comfy pants to weekends.
And today, in the twilight of my final leave, two beautiful boys under my belt, my body badly in need of constructive undergarments, the dread of leaving both kids in somebody else’s care is balanced with the knowing that they’ll be okay. The daycare will ensure they get at least 90 minutes of outside play every day, teach my boys to cooperate, paint and dance. Trained educators will provide routine. A paid cook will prepare meals and snacks mandated by the Canada Food Guide.
And although I’ll ache from the separation, I’ll bear in mind the guilt I felt every time my three year old asked me if I was finished doing my “computer work” (blogging) so I could play. I’ll recall how often I looked out at the snow outside and felt too lazy to bundle them up to play outdoors. I’ll remember putting on the fourth episode of Thomas and Friends so I could catch up on emails. And I will realize that knowing I wouldn’t be a good stay-at-home mom, well knowing that makes me a pretty good mom.
I'm joining Shell today and pouring my heart out.
Please ignore my insane get-up in the first picture. Deaglan painted dollar store bird houses for his relatives this Easter. They were a big hit I think. Naveen was irritated the entire holiday weekend. Aversion to mythical bunnies who deliver chocolate? Nah, no son of mine could dislike chocolate. I was lucky to capture a good shot with Papa (my Dad). This was not the case with Grampa (Shaune's Dad) who happens to be wearing Shaune's new hat to match those of the boys'.