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Last night I had dinner with a friend I’ve known for maybe 8 years? Our first children, both boys, were born within four weeks of one another. Now we are both expecting girls who will be born within four weeks of one another. (We didn’t plan it.) We have a lot in common there, but one big difference: I’m a stay-at-home mom and she’s a working mom.

We were talking about how sad we are that our relationship with our sons will change so drastically and permanently once the girls are born (though of course we are happy about the new babies, yadda yadda), and I started talking about daily routines that I realized I will no longer be able to do with him once there’s a newborn around.

Like read to him for an unplanned hour after breakfast on a tuesday. Or cuddle with him for 30 minutes after he wakes up from a nap and is still groggy and warm. Or play “undies” (silly game where he plays with laundry) with him for as long as he wants to.

She listened politely and nodded. But as I was driving home well after saying all of that (I can have a massive delay sometimes), I had the obvious realization that most parents don’t have the chance to do these things on a daily basis with their kids. I get to do it for two years. And the end of those two years is really more of a transition into a time when I have to choose between cuddling two of my children or both at once.*

I’m so fucking lucky.

*I’m also going to want to run away after being home alone with a 2-year-old and a newborn for 11 hours every day, but you know. Benefit far outweighs the difficulty.

My friend is happily working and says often that she could never be home full time with kids, but she does miss the time with her son and you can’t get that back. I should have been more sensitive when I was talking about it. That’s how deeply buried in this life I have become – I see these things as my daily routine, very matter-of-fact. Lovely parts of my daily routine, but still. I mean, I worry about how I am going to manage cuddling him when I have an infant strapped to me, like will there be enough open surface area? I DON’T KNOW!

And I worry about how my son will handle the change, of course.

But it’s like-

I’ve got this perfect life full of mushy cuddles and snacks and playgrounds and “undies” and here I am fretting about what’s going to happen when I add more love and mushy cuddles and “who knows what she’ll think up.” Yeah, it’s going to be different and it’s going to be hard in a different way, but so very perfect and right.

Image credit: Klara Lindahl

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5 thoughts on “moms

  1. So. Annoyed. I had a really eloquent response written and then managed to click off the page and delete it all. TECHNOLOGY. What I had written about though, was that I work full time at a job I adore and which I can see how my influence actually changes the world for the better. This sounds totally hyped and obnoxious, but I had a school leader tell me tonight about how the project she is doing through the class/program I am leading has changed the entire school– teachers AND students. I feel so fucking lucky to have the opportunity to work in the world in this way. I would probably go to 70% if I had the option, but to give up this to stay home full time? Even if I could afford it, I wouldn’t. I love, love, love the work I do. I feel privileged to do it. I feel privileged to see the changes and be a part of the growth of so many amazing humans. There’s something about this response that felt a little…. not patronizing exactly, but something. And of course I love my child. I love her more than I could ever express, and yeah– I missed dinner with her tonight. And that’s something you can’t get back, but I also got to hear people actually growing and recognizing their own leadership in class tonight. I don’t know exactly what I’m trying to say but you don’t need to be THAT sensitive to everyone else.

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    • I guess *I* must have sounded patronizing in that post. I can see how it seemed as though I thought my life was better than a working mother’s life, or that I assumed that all working mothers envied it. I don’t. And I often envy working moms- I certainly don’t pity them. There’s no Best Life or Best Decision.

      It wasn’t so much the staying at home in general that I wished I had been more sensitive about, but the listing/fretting over some of the perks that come with it (cuddles, etc.). The perks my friend gets with her working life make me equally envious. But she didn’t start listing them and worrying about how she was going to manage scheduling more of those perks. You know? It was just that my focus and perspective were off at that moment.

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