Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Paid My Dues

photo credit: heather designs

After  my husband put the girls on the bus at 8:00 am the house fell quiet. With Rella sleeping in, I grabbed the moment, made a quick cup of coffee and curled up in the oversized chair in the sunroom to read.  Minutes later, my husband popped back home instead of heading straight to the office as usual.  I can't remember what it was - he forgot his phone or he had a few minutes to spare and was hoping to see Rella.  As he laid eyes on me curled like a cat by the picture window with my Kindle in one hand and a red mug of coffee warming my other his look said it all.

"I'm workin' hard here!" I said, speaking his mind.

"I can see that" he laughed in reply.

"And I don't feel one bit guilty.  I paid my dues."

He gave some snarky but lighthearted retort and the truth is, I now have interludes of 'down time' during my day. At long last.  I can't deny this.  With just one single five-year-old home in the morning and then three hours alone every afternoon I feel like I've hit the emotional-rejuvination lottery.

I catch myself out at the coffee shop watching other moms juggling a conversation with a three year old clawing up their body like a cat on a scratching post and an infant in the car seat carrier fussing next to them.  I sit at an activity with other moms of little ones and don't have to pop up every 5 minutes for supervised potty breaks or a tearful meltdown or spilled cheerios.

Now that the Stay At Home Mom gig has become easier in many ways I almost feel the pull to apologize for it, not just to my husband but to the world.  That they need to know the road I traveled to get here - three under three and a 13 year old pre-teen with multiple disabilities plus a husband working 80 hours a week and no family and no regular babysitting.

At my Moonwriters group I told my friend Julie, balancing a three-year old boy on her lap during our meeting, that she reminded me of me four years ago - having such a passion for writing but struggling to find the time between the cracks in the chaos.  Four years ago, I had three children at home, ages 4, 3, and 18 months, all day, every day and it was an entirely different ball game yet here I am now sipping lattes, freelancing, writing a book. Sure, my house is a pig sty and I'm the only woman within a hundred mile radius of my neighborhood NOT training for a blessed triathlon, but I can't do it all. Yet, part of me still feels the need to sneak out a little apology as I dance in the streets.

I just want to walk around with a T-shirt that reads


so the world knows I'm just not going out for mid-day jogs and eating bon bons.

Dr Fabulous continued to lightly tease to which I only answered, eyes still trained on the Kindle

"Paid 'em.  Paid my dues.  No guilt here buddy."

But by my third sip of coffee Rella's little footsteps could be heard padding down the stairs.

And while the day was un-stressful with a morning socializing at a friend's house exchanging ideas for a home organization binder then an afternoon shopping at Target for Tink's birthday party supplies ALONE, then about an hour of writing, the crap hit the fan when the girls disembarked the buses.

Tink missed the toilet and while I was cleaning up the puddle on the floor Rella was in the upstairs bathroom yelling that she pooped and I needed to wipe her hieney as the phone was ringing and CB was banging on the table non-stop and spilling a glass of water.  So I'm cleaning piss off the floor and talking to a parent RSVP'ing for Tink's party.  After that we began making Rice Krispie treats and mid-way through CB walked into the kitchen dripping of diarrhea so it was a floor clean-up and bath while all the kids bickered and the phone rang AGAIN two more times with other parents RSVP'ing and then dinner had to be made while homework was getting finished and it was like the longest 3 hours of the day and I thought to myself - I freakin' deserved that 4 minutes of quiet and coffee and that entire 3 paragraphs I read in my book.  I freakin' deserved it.

But because of those little reprieves during the day, I don't feel like I'm going to lose it 24-7 like I used to.  I really don't know how I did it before, but I suppose none of us do.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel and I'm looking at it right now.  Motherhood never gets easy, but it gets easier.  It does, and I for one am loving it.


Heather said...

Amen. I have two kids who are 6 and 4 and the Hubs is lobbying for a 3rd in the worst way. I just don't know if I can go back to that- the diapers, the neediness, the 2 hours stretches of sleep at a time, the constant touching. I love my kids madly and I adored them as babies, but now that I can see how awesome they are as Big Kids, frankly a new baby doesn't sound like that much fun.

So I say good for you for taking those moments whenever you can. There is no better feeling in the world then a hot drink in your hand and a wonderful book in your lap.

Cristie Ritz King, M. Ed said...

I love reading this! I haven't been here in a while but after seeing you in real life I thought I'd come by and check out what's new. Last time I was here you were thick in it and just trying to hang on. So, I'm thrilled to read about 4 quiet minutes and a hot cup of coffee. No apologies allowed. :)

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