Today is the kind of day that made me want to be a stay-at-home mom.
I’d wager that most parents envision an ideal stay-at-home day involving hours at the playground, seeing who can swing the highest or a trip the zoo, mimicking the orangutans’ faces. My perfect day, by contrast, revolved around the dreary, grey sky kind of days that mean hours of puzzles, movies and snuggles on the couch.
While reality doesn’t usually live up to our ideals, I still get a sense of comfort on these heavy clouded days. Yes, it typically means more cries for movies and snacks. But it gives us a chance to slow down, stay in our pajamas and eat breakfast for lunch.
While the girls played dress up, I took advantage of my “free time” to go through the clothes at E has outgrown. I had gotten lazy and when something no longer fit, I threw it in a bin in her closet. That bin quickly filled and then evolved into a mountain of tutus and pajamas that can no longer contained.
Although E just turned 3 in June, she’s outrageously tall and is comfortably wearing 4T clothing. This pile was so big, most of the items were 3T and 2T – which B has almost grown into. I’m giving myself a pat on the back for procrastination; I saved myself a storage step and moved those clothes from E’s closet directly into B’s. Please, hold your applause. It’s the little things.
As I worked through them, sorting by size and season, I was amazed at how quickly I was taken back to the time when E was wearing those clothes. Although a few quick feelings of nostalgia, most of the emotions were surprisingly unpleasant.
E was about 18 months old and I was 5, maybe 6 months pregnant with B. I had such terrible morning sickness and today, my stomach actually turned at the scent-memory of our old laundry detergent. I spent most days laying on the couch, trying be a suitable parent while not losing my lunch. I spent so much time worried about E. What words she was saying, if she was developing the proper motor skills, if I was handling the temper tantrums properly. We had only been in Savannah a bit over 6 months and J was still getting settled into his new job and couldn’t be as helpful as I needed. I had a large circle of mommy-friends but as often happens in groups of women, the dynamics were stressful and sometimes competitive. I was sick, tired, and sick AND tired. And I didn’t know how I was going to handle having two kids in this environment.
I don’t mention all of this as a boo-hooey, my life was so miserable sort of thing. Not at all. In fact, at the time, I thought my life was pretty great.. But in hindsight, I realize how much of my life was motivated my fear and expectation. And I realize how far I’ve come since then.
I’ve realized that my kids are pretty great when they aren’t tearing down my curtains or climbing inside the fireplace. J and I have found a parenting system that works and focuses on teamwork, not division of labor. I am blessed by wonderful friendships with women who encourage me and, if needed, would be there (and have been there) at a moment’s notice to entertain my children when couch-ridden.
I still worry. I know in the back of my mind that B’s binky has got to go. E can still throw down a wicked tantrum that can make construction workers stop their jack hammering to observe (true story). But it’s good. There are sunny days and there are rainy ones. It’s comforting to embrace the grey days and recognize how beautiful they can be, and just how far you have come.
For today, I am content.