Parenting

I miss missing my children

Just once, our Run-at-home mom blogger would love to miss her children

Quiet time on the river with our children reminds me they won't be this little or loud forever

As any working parent knows, dropping your children off at day care is a very hard part of the day. OK, there were some days where I was just giddy to drop off my grouchy baby. This can be made worse if you are working late hours (this post by Ali Martell broke my heart and reminded me of my own career days). As a working parent I was dropping our son off at 7:30 a.m. and picking him up at 5:00 p.m. I was missing this huge chunk of his life and it was so sad to me. Two moments from my working days stick with me:

Our care provider called me on a sunny August afternoon to let me know they were having the best water gun fight ever and our son was covered with orange Popsicle. I could hear all of the kids squealing and laughing in the background.

After Isaac’s final day of daycare before I started my second maternity leave, I was unpacking the blankets he used at nap time. His favourite blanket that I sent with him on his first day as a 20-month-old baby now seemed so small. I remember sitting on the floor and crying, trying to wrap his tiny blanket around my tremendously pregnant belly wishing that he could be that small again.

So when Gillian was four months old I quit my job so that I wouldn’t miss a moment of our children growing up.

Ask most stay-at-home moms and I bet their chief reason for leaving their careers to raise their children is because they want to watch them grow up. To be sure, I have witnessed many more of Gillian’s milestones than Isaac’s and almost daily I see her do things that I don’t remember Isaac doing. Even on the days filled with bickering and tears, my worst days where I want to cry with them, I can’t imagine being anywhere else than at home with our children. But the one side effect of being a stay-at-home parent that no one warned me about is that because you are ALWAYS with your children, you never get a chance to miss them. A feeling almost worse than missing our children is that some days, I no longer appreciate the small things they do — the very reason I gave up my job. On those days the constant chatter and commotion of wee bodies in motion is enough to send me around the bend and I need to tune them out to save my sanity.

Ironically, it’s when I’ve tuned them out that the wonderful things happen. I’ll give Gillian crayons and I’ll peek at her trying to master the pincer grasp while trying to mimic Isaac colouring. Or Isaac will emerge from his room with a detailed Lego machine that I would be challenged to recreate. Sometimes in the rush to shush them while going about their day, I forget they need their quiet time too.

Our quiet time lately has been in the woods on our property. The fall weather has been perfect for being outdoors, collecting leaves and acorns or playing along the riverfront. On Friday we spent the entire afternoon outside, for the most part, keeping to ourselves. Gillian played in the mud, Isaac built a racetrack and I caught up on gardening. I know they won’t be this little (or loud!) forever. I think I need to give myself permission embrace the crazy (just like SAHP Secret #7) so that I can appreciate the quiet.