This morning when I dropped Molly off at the daycare center, I asked her to give me a kiss and a hug before I left.
She gave me a big kiss and biiiig hug and before I could say anything else, she jumped back into playing with the other kids.
What more could a mother want? I've got a kid who is happy to play all day at daycare, where she is well taken care of and has "friends" her own age to play with (one of her favorites is a little girl named Gabbie), and then I am able to work all day at a job you like where it's quiet and things can get done and phone calls made, etc.
A few weeks ago Molly went though a spell of crying when I left the daycare, which is hard. It tugged at my heart to have to leave, even though this display was over within 30 seconds of me leaving the room. It was a phase and how she's happy again to kiss me and say "Bye Bye." When I get there at 5:20 to pick her up, she squeals and runs over to say hi.
I like the caregivers there and the way they post each day's activities on the whiteboard (Today we read [insert title of books], we played outside and we sang [insert song titles]). Sometimes the kids make art projects and they are there waiting to be picked up when I get there. For mother's day, they took pictures of each kid and attached it to a poem "from Molly" that made me cry. They give them healthy snacks (watermelon,grilled cheese, etc) and I just need to provide her lunch. They even provide all the milk she can drink.
I really like this daycare--small, non-corporate, and they follow state regulations carefully. Molly is thriving there. It's really a pre-school, not just a babysitting set-up.
Would I like to be a stay-at-home full time mom? No way. Not right now. Part-time is ideal and maybe I will be able to do that in the future. If I was home all day, i'd be struggling to keep her busy and trying to get things done and I'd be dying for Ed to get home so I could relax a little. Of course, I would be forced to be creative and resourceful and I would do it beautifully the way that millions of other mothers do it with more than one kid. I don't look down on stay-at-home moms, I admire them and their stamina and creativity.
I do miss out on fun times during the day, but when I pick Molly up at 5:20, we spend an hour and half together before Ed gets home. Sometimes we run errands, but I make sure that we also have time to just be together, too, and play.
Then when Ed gets home, he has some one-on-one time with her while I make dinner and he gives her a bath and sometimes reads stories before bed, or I do the stories sometimes. All 3 of us are pretty happy with this routine.
On the weekends, we are learning more to take advantage of family-friends activities available around the city. I really enjoy the time I spend with Molly in the mornings, evenings and weekends because I'm not tired and worn out from taking care of her needs all day, too.
Ed stayed home with Molly full-time last summer and part time until a few months ago. It was hard work, but he forged a unique relationship with her by doing that. He was happy to go back to work full-time, though.
All this is to say, after hearing about why parent's make the choices to work or stay home, that parenting is hard work whether you decide to work at home, work full-time or part-time. My office job complements my parenting job by providing balance to my world and my psyche and spirit. I'm a happier person by having this job and that makes me a better parent.
Someday I'd like to try the work-at-home routine and enjoy the benefits of that lifestyle. Until then, I'll kiss and hug Molly and Ed goodbye in the morning and I arrive at work knowing we are where we need to be.
The Little Things
Why do I let the little things get to me? Yesterday morning I couldn't find Molly's shoes (the certain pair she needs to wear to daycare so the playground woodchips won't get into her shoes) before we left the house and I was swearing up a storm (in front of her, I'm sorry to say) as I tore through all the usual places and couldn't find her shoes.
Anyway, she did fine for one day with her sandals.
But then, coming home, I get overwhelmed by all the clutter and stuff that lays about unless I'm tackling it--it seems--almost every hour. Arrgh! Ed seems immune to clutter, which makes it worse since I'm always asking him to help pick up the newspaper, the shoes on the floor, the three-day old mail, etc.
I've got to find a better system to deal with all this and not get aggravated. Ed and I always take time after Molly goes to bed at 8pm to wind down and spend some time relaxing. One of my favorite things has been to read on the porch as it gets dark and water the garden before I go to bed.
Ed has been taking a 3-mile run almost every night. I don't know how he does it. I've been squeezing in some exercise with Molly in the jogging stroller after work once or twice a week and early on Saturday mornings, but I just don't have the discipline he does to exercise almost every day.
The point is that I feel torn between relaxing and getting stuff done in the evenings and on the weekend. It's a balance that Ed and I are still trying to get right.
We've got so many little and big house projects that we want to tackle over time. However, one major accomplishment was getting the carpets professionally cleaned on Friday. They look new. It's wonderful.
Of course then I accidentally spilled a plant in the corner of the living room the day after the cleaners came!
Oh well, life happens...
Life Isn't Fair
Last weekend I saw "Thirteen Conversations About One Thing"
Just the title alone sounded really interesting, but I had a read a few film reviews and wanted to check it out.
We put Molly to bed on Saturday night, Ed's sister came over and hung out at our house, and Ed and I took offer to see the movie. It was a date!
The movie is really very interesting. The "One Thing" in the title refers to happiness (according to one reviewer), but I would even say that the conversations all revolve around how we create our lives--for good or bad--inside our own heads.
How we define and handle success, jealousy, desire, happiness, being "unlucky," and all of life's central emotions are the themes of the movie.
One of the most interesting things that the movie tackles is the idea of "Life isn't fair" and how individuals decide to deal with that fact of life. I guess it hit home because I remember growing up and hearing my mom gently explain that "life isn't fair" as a way to help me and my siblings cope with particular dramas in our lives.
I don't mean she said "life isn't fair" in an offhand way that would basically be the G-rated version of saying "Life sucks."
Rather, what I learned when my mother would selectively use that phrase is that life events sometimes don't make sense, the world doesn't always play fair, and that all we can do is accept that fact and do the best we can with what we have in front of us.
Maybe that helps explain why I've always been a "glass is half full" person.
Now the lesson that "life isn't fair" may seem like a given--something that all kids learn, but yet from looking at some of the adults around me, it's not true. This movie addresses these issues in a really nice way--that how we look at the world and our place in it is everything. Attitude, acceptance, self-awareness are the most important things in life because they are ultimately the only things over which we have any control.
It's good to get that reminder amid the drama of everyday life when I work so hard to keep everything around me in balance, when really the other thing that needs to be "balanced" or "right" is me.
"Thirteen Conversations" is a provocative movie and Ed and I both enjoyed it. Check it out.