This past week, my son got a concussion at school. It was a Monday. We didn’t get to the hospital until Wednesday. It just wasn’t, I’ll admit, convenient for me.
Now I don’t condone ignoring your kids’ injuries because you’re too busy—several people examined and questioned him, and his symptoms seemed mild, even non-existent. We didn’t think he had a concussion at all, but the chance that he did made me increasingly nervous until a window appeared in my schedule that I saw we could skip out to the hospital with minimal fuss and find out for sure. Of course, I brought my laptop with me.
I’m sure that makes me sound selfish. And guess what? I am.
You see, my whole family's life revolves around me. The kids have an early bedtime, because I need to get back to work. They sleep in late, because that means more writing time for me. I try to give my family the best of both worlds—a mom who works and brings in money, with the convenience of a stay-at-home mom.
They can forget their hats and gloves, knowing I’m just around the corner for a drop-off. We host after school playdates and the kids can make all their extra-curricular commitments. The flip side, though, is that I run the show. We do what I say, when I say it. The neighbourhood kids might be out on the street, playing after dark, but my office hours start at 8pm, which means my kids need to be in their rooms, and out of my sight, by then. And because I work while my daughter naps in the afternoon, on weekends the whole show gets shut down for those few hours, and the guys just have to put up with it.
Selfish and mom of four don’t really go together. Being a mom entails a great degree of selflessness. And it’s assumed the more kids, the more mom’s needs disappear. For me, though, it’s been the opposite. I think with each child, I’ve been even more intentional with my time and what I do with it. Every minute with my kids, and without, is precious, and I am super choosy about what I do with it, and who I spend it with.
Motherhood has its cycles. There’s the all-consuming pregnancy. The split personality of having a newborn for the first time, as you try to reconcile who you were with who you are now. Maybe it’s just a case of getting older, but each child has brought me closer to me, firming up what I want for my family, and for myself.
So if my daughter goes to daycare only two mornings a week, it’s not about the money. It’s because I’m trying to squeeze every last minute out of her days at home with me before she starts Junior Kindergarten, while also using those mornings to catch up on work and maybe squeeze in a workout so my body can keep up with her.
At three years old, she’s still a good napper, and that might just be her. Or that might just be because I need her to be, in order to get work done so I can continue to stay at home.
I don’t cook dinner Friday to Sunday. I try to make wholesome meals the rest of the week, but on those days, we make do with leftovers, takeout and frozen food. It’s how I keep myself from turning into a super naggy, resentful wife and mom, and it’s a chance for me to get to the million and one other things on my to-do list.
My calendar is a rainbow-coloured grid of appointments and deadlines, but somehow I still manage to squeeze in some alone time for me, even if it’s just for a coffee and five-minute daydream before it’s time to pick up the kids
As the saying goes, happy wife, happy life, and it’s the same with most moms, I feel. It would seem tempting to make everything about my family (I love them so darn much!), but by flipping the script, and putting my needs first, I'm better able to look after everyone else's.
Even if that means getting to the hospital two days late.