I thought once school was out things would slow down. We wouldn’t have to worry about schedules, backpacks and no more lunches to pack! Summer is supposed to slow things down isn’t it? Then why hasn’t it slowed down yet?
Each and every evening I find myself running through the door and pulling out the pots and pans before I even change out of my work clothes.
My kids drape themselves across the couch, sun kissed and exhausted from a day spent running through sprinklers, swinging on swings and riding bikes as I grill them about their day. I chop vegetables and run back and forth between the kitchen and the barbecue as I listen to their summer adventures.
I can’t help but feel as though I’ve missed out.
While I was at work all day, they were out having fun. Playing in parks, trips to the library, splash pads and pools.
Being a working mother is never easy. It means a lot of multi-tasking, racing home to get dinner on the table before swimming lessons which means make ahead meals and late nights. Yet somehow summertime seems to be the hardest time of year to be a working mother.
Every morning during the school year I leave the house feeling at peace. I have packed lunches and made breakfast and kissed sweet little faces goodbye. I head to work and go about my day knowing that they are busy at school.
I come home from work every evening and as we sit around the dinner table I hear about the neat thing they learned in class today or the drama with friends on the playground or how someone was sent to the principal’s office. We are all in a routine that rolls on without friction.
Summer, however, is the anti-routine.
It’s all about play, freedom and spontaneity and I don’t get to be a part of it.
I don’t get to play catch in the park or stop for ice cream on the way home from the beach. I’m sitting at my desk working while they are out making sunny summertime memories.
Though summer is not as routine as the rest of the year we still have commitments that must be met.
Dance class has turned into soccer practice which doesn’t leave much time for long leisurely walks to the park where I can sit and watch my kids play. Something I am dying to do after spending long winter evenings cooped up in the house.
Homework and school projects are not even on the to-do list, but I find myself wondering if they are getting in enough reading or if they are going to forget what they learned in math.
Bedtime is a daily battle; the kids itching to stay up just a little later and me attempting to get them in bed at a decent time allowing myself just a few moments alone before it’s my bedtime. Though there is no school bus to rush for, my alarm doesn’t go off any later. Some mornings they are still tucked snuggly in their beds when I head out the door for work.
My heart hurts as I leave because all I want to do is stay and play.
It doesn’t make it any easier that I live on street filled with teachers and stay at home mothers. They get to play with their kids all summer why can’t I? I want to stomp my feet and clench my fists and whine that it’s not fair!
I have been at this motherhood game long enough to know that all is not what it seems. I am perfectly aware that my visions of put together moms modelling their bikini body at the beach while their little ones quietly play in the surf is just a figment of my imagination. I am confident that if I were actually able to take my kids to the beach every day the scene would probably involve a lot more yelling, a few tears and sand everywhere!
That doesn’t stop me from sulking as I watch the sun shine from my office window.
Motherhood is not easy. Whether you’re a working mom or stay at home mom. I have made my choice, I love what I do and I don’t regret being a working mother. As my kids continue to get older and their paths continue to lead them further away from me, I see the importance in continuing to invest in this aspect of my life. Yet as the sun sets on another day and I think about the how my kids are going to make the most of this heatwave we are having by hitting up the splash pad, I can’t help but feel a little sad that I won’t be there listening to them giggle.
As I pack up my laptop, grab my coffee and give my kids a cuddle and a kiss before I walk out the door tomorrow morning, I will already be counting down the hours until I can come home and enjoy a warm summer night with them squeezing in a day’s worth of fun into each and every evening.
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