My husband works from home. This is a wonderful thing for our family because it means he’s there when the girls’ school calls a two-hour delay due to fog, or like last week when the fog was so bad that they cancelled school altogether. He’s there, he can care for the girls while I brave the fog and head off to work.
But even though I am the one who works outside the house, I am the mom. I’m the one they want the minute I walk in the door each day, the one they both want to sit with, read with, watch television with, snuggle with and eventually fall asleep on.
I wouldn’t change that for anything. I don’t think my husband would trade places with me either. I think he’s glad he can be there as needed but he prefers being the supporting parent, not the star parent.
The hart part is when I try to juggle it all.
We need my income. More than that, we need the benefits my job brings, most specifically, the insurance. We’re so, so lucky that I work for a company that provides excellent insurance. Even if we don’t use it very often, knowing it’s there is a big relief.
So even if I wanted to stay home and be a homemaker, I couldn’t. Not if we want to continue to enjoy decent healthcare.
So I go to work every day, Monday through Friday. I get the girls up and dressed each morning and then my husband feeds them breakfast while I finish getting myself ready for the day. Then I go down to join them as they’re finishing eating and it’s time for me to put Olivia’s shoes and socks on her (a chore that can take from ten seconds to five minutes, depending on how sensitive her feet are that day and how much her socks annoy her.) I brush her teeth and hair, have her go pee because she has a forty minute bus ride and no one wants to be the kid who peed her pants on the bus.
Then we wait for the bus. These days we wait outside because the weather has continued to be mild, thank goodness. As it gets colder, I might leave this task to Tom, he’s just not as wussy as I am when it comes to cold. Why? Why did we settle in northwestern Ohio? Oh, yes, because that’s where family is and what are we without extended family?
Then I go to work.
When I get home, I check homework, take O’s hair down from whatever ‘do we’d done that morning. I might sit and tickle Olivia for up to ten minutes before I start dinner. After dinner is eaten (or fed to Olivia as the case may be) I wash the dinner dishes and if it’s Tuesday or Thursday, Olivia and I go upstairs for bath time. While she bathes, I fold laundry and put it away. It has to get done at some point, right?
After bath, it’s time for dessert and books. Then we sit and she falls asleep on my lap as I rub her back, or her legs, or her arms, or, yes sometimes, even the web at the base of her thumb.
Once O’s asleep, Alyssa will call from the couch, “I miss you.”
At that point, we spend about forty-five minutes together, laughing, talking, or sometimes just sitting. More often than not, she falls asleep with her head in my lap. I wouldn’t change that for anything. How lucky am I that my eleven year old wants to sit near/on me, spend time with me.
I admit that being the mom, in my case, the mom who also works outside the home, is tough sometimes but it is so, so worth it. My girls are amazing. They make me laugh every single day. They make my life so much better just by being a part of it.
Olivia asked me last night, “Why do you love me?”
Oh, baby. Let me count the ways.