I've always considered myself a stay at home mom. Yes, I've "worked" on writing and editing, and pumped out a lot of material over the years, but as it wasn't really a paying gig, I prioritized spending time with my children over most of my projects. And my kids got very used to that.
The downside is that they are pretty entitled when it comes to my attention or what I'm doing for them. We spent their first two years here in Florida (2-4) with me taking them out on adventures two to three times a day. Because I could. Because I needed to so we all didn't kill each other. Before they grasped the English language fully "what kind go outside, mama" was a phrase I heard round the clock.
In short, my babies are used to my eyes on them.
And to be honest, right about now, they are totally sick of my bullshit.
Since the explosion of the Washington Post essay (and even a little before that, as I'd been branching out into paid work starting at the beginning of the summer), I haven't been staring dotingly upon them every minute of the day. They're almost six, I figured. They should be able to keep themselves entertained, play with each other, whatever. I mean, I remember growing up. My brother and sister and I freaking had to play together. My parents didn't often engage in our games.
But somehow that feels like a different time?
I am totally feeling some mama guilt right now.
We had a rough day yesterday because I'm trying desperately to catch up in the whole "act like a human being and use words instead of freaking out at every little thing" department. And it's a rough lesson for them. But it's compounded by the fact that I haven't been playing with them hardly at all these past few weeks, which is an abrupt change. My kids don't do well with change. Add to that the constant headaches and neck pain I'm living with due to a herniated disc, and the mid-end of summer vacation where it's 100 degrees every day in Florida so everyone is bored, and we've got a recipe for cranky.
Would it kill me to play with them for a few hours a day? No.
It's just that I'm also not used to the change, not used to constant deadlines for publications in addition to being a supermom (albeit a FAILING supermom).
I vow today to cut them some slack. Not in the crying/whining department, but in the "mama, look at me being an elephant" department. In the "Be the cheerleader while we play pretend volleyball with a balloon" department. In the "I really need to be a better mom" department.
I've always been really good at spinning plates, but this freelance work took me by storm, and my kids aren't plates to spin.
I'll find a balance, I know it. But the transition has not been an easy one.
Here's to today being a better day.