I get a taste each year of what it’s like to be a stay-at-home mom because I’m a teacher and I’m off in the summer. My kids’ school schedules are different from mine, so I always have several days at home myself before they are also home for the break. “Sounds heavenly,” you might say. “Two weeks all to yourself!”
Well, I hate it. I’ve always thought of myself as somewhat introverted. I got teased mercilessly as a kid for being quiet. But for the past seven years, I’ve worked in a career where I am with people from when I wake up until when I go to bed, and the abrupt shock of transitioning from that to a deadly quiet house is painful.
I used to think I was going to be a stay-at-home mom, but life circumstances proved me wrong. I’m not sure how I would have handled it, and now I can’t imagine not having my job, even though it means housework, cooking, shopping, and all of the other things that stay-at-home parents can do during the day are lumped on top of what I already do and have to be squeezed in on evenings and weekends.
Every morning during the school year is an organized blur as the kids and I have breakfast, make our lunches, get dressed, and pack the car by 7:18 a.m. Saying goodbye to them never feels like too much of a separation because I’m already thinking about work and they’re thinking about school and their friends. The day speeds by for all of us, and before we know it, I’m picking them up and we’re starting our equally busy evening routine.
This morning as I waved goodbye to the departing school bus and walked back home, I thought about how much easier it is to be the one leaving, rather than the one being left behind. Even though my kids are noisy and messy and we’re often doing our own separate things, it feels right when we’re all in the house together.
If you like to read about the choices moms make, please check out my novel, Giving Myself Away, available now in paperback and ebook.