“So what do you with all your free time, now that your boys are in school?”
* looks at my two year old, who hasn’t let me put her down in weeks.*
* looks at my list of deadlines.
* looks at stack of laundry and wonder how many hours it will take to fold it all.*
* thinks about what I’m going to do with the kids when they get out of school mid-afternoon.*
* looks at near-empty fridge and debate what I’m going to have for dinner.*
“Oh, I don’t know!” I answer. “Probably join a book club or something.”
The truth is, I want a day off.
I want it more than anything. I fantasize about it. I dream about it. I plot it and plan it and do everything except execute it.
I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the labor rights movement of the 19th century and how we all decided that it would be pretty inhumane to work more than five days in a row (unless, you know, you were compensated with extra money).
But then society was still like, “LOL except moms they can work like every hour of every day forever.”
Okay, I know! I know. I’m a stay-at-home mom. Everything I do is pure joy. I flit around my house cleaning every surface with tea-tree oil and vinegar, fueled only by the love of my children and organic, homemade Larabars. I haven’t worked a moment since my oldest child was born seven years ago.
It’s not work at all. It’s a privilege to provide people with everything they need to survive every minute of every day. And every night. Cause it turns out, they need a whole bunch of stuff at night too.
But let’s say, for a minute, that I wasn’t a “mom.” Let’s pretend that I was a “nanny.”
Yeah, let’s say I was a nanny and I casually mentioned to you that I hadn’t had a day off in about two and a half years.
I’m pretty sure that would raise an eyebrow.
Now of course – like everything motherhood-related – this is all my fault.
I could hire a babysitter and go to a spa for a day. I could disappear to a hotel and sleep for an afternoon. I could go back in time, strongly suggest to God that he give men the breasts and come back to find my husband nursing instead.
I could’ve done any of those things, but no, I have not.
(In part, because in my fantasy I get the house to myself to do the things I want to do when I want to do them. AND I do not want to come home to a very messy house that I would then have to clean).
But, in truth, I know what I would do if I actually did have a day off.
I’d start on that big pile of laundry. I’d read a book on parenting to get an even better idea of what exactly I’m doing wrong here. I’d reorganize the freezer. Maybe I’d even sort out all the clothes that don’t fit anyone anymore.
Not that any of that is what I fantasize about. My fantasy looks a lot more like reading in bed, binge-watching Younger while I knit, and then power-hiking up a mountain without 30 extra pounds of baby on my back.
But I wouldn’t do any of that – because of the list.
You see, it’s not my children that I want a break from. It’s the responsibility. The never-ending list that begins the day you are first become a parent and never gets any shorter.
Because what I really fantasize about isn’t waking up and drinking a cup of (hot!) coffee in silence. It’s waking up and thinking “What do I want to do today?”
Instead of, “What does everybody else need me to do for them today?”
So yeah. I want to be selfish.
Moms aren’t supposed to be selfish. Moms are supposed to be never-ending fountains of generosity. I am supposed to gush about how lucky I am that I get to stay-at-home. I’m not supposed to want anything for myself other than the reward of my children’s smiles.
But sometimes, I just want a day off.
And listen up – wanting to escape from all your responsibilities occasionally doesn’t make you a bad mom. It just means that you are taking them seriously.
Which makes you a pretty good mom indeed.