Yesterday in the grocery check out I stood with a cart of items and both kiddos. I stood behind a woman whom I won't describe for the fear of passing a judgement myself or encouraging you to pass a judgement, but for the sake of this particular post, I will only say that she was alone.
I just had my wisdom teeth taken out last Thursday, and the bruising at the point of this grocery trip looked like something worked up in a bad domestic violence episode of COPS, so I was out to make little eye contact, grab what we needed and get out conversation free.
I would have hit the self check out, but the line for that was full of carts loaded beyond capacity, so I chose the shortest line possible.
As I approached, the previously mentioned woman was loading ten or so items on the conveyer, finished rather quickly, and was waiting her turn.
I was talking to B, the oldest of my two. That's when the conversation started.
"Skippin' school today, huh?" She grinned.
I'm no truant so I smiled and responded, "Only preschool right now, he doesn't start Kindergarten until the fall."
The conversation flowed rather easily from there. She asked B if he was ready, which, of course, he can't hardly contain his excitement, and she said, "Momma will be glad, too."
And the smooth flowing conversation stopped. I couldn't decide which to address first: my son, and assure him that his starting Kindergarten will be a very sad day for me, as I'll miss him greatly, or her, as his starting Kindergarten will be a very sad day for me, and I'll miss him greatly.
I quickly blanketed the statement together.
She stood looking somewhat surprised and somewhat like, "yeah, sure," and that's when I realized it... maybe I'm not the norm.
When you thrive on mom blogs and frugal living websites where people are cutting corners, clipping coupons and skimping on family vacations and outings to be able to be at home with their children as long as they can... you begin to think you are the majority. More and more of these conversations, though, have shown me I'm not.
I'm not passing judgement on women who want to work, have to work, or feel the need to be away from their kids from time to time. I am one of them. I've been in this funk of trying to figure where I fit amongst the mom world. I'm not really a SAHM anymore, except from mid-May to mid-August, and a couple days a week. This time of year, I'm more of a full time working mom, clocking in around 36 hours a week. So do I feel both sides? Yes. Do I need a mental break during naptime? Yes.
I'm beginning to think - however - I was made for a different generation. Maybe I belonged in the 40's or 50's when it was still the norm for a housewife to put on a dress, fix a good meat and tater meal, and raise the children during the day. When they went to school full time, she was there to send them off, and had a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies when they reached the door in the afternoon. June Cleaver? Maybe. I'm okay with that.
I think the hardest part for me to grasp in the whole grand scheme of things, are the women like the one I met in the grocery aisle. She's not the single mom working her rear off to get food on the table. She's not the 9-5 working while her kids are at school and longing to be with them. She's the "I'm free and I'm so glad someone else has them 5 days a week, 8 hours a day mom," and I. Don't. Get. That.
I would be June Cleaver. I'd bake cookies, I'd clean house, I'd serve and love every blasted minute of it. I'd expect no plaque on the wall, no trophy, no promotion or applause, because I feel at the end of the road, when they leave the house and are on their own, I'd have the one thing that would really matter most --- years and years of memories that I won't be able to get back, tattered roughly to a promise to love them well...
At that - I'll go back to my job(s), because it's hard to survive on one income in this day and time, and I'll work hard at work, and I will love them and miss them fiercely while I'm away. I'm sure there will be tears at kindergarten drop off, probably more than once, and all from me. There may come a time where I may work and they may beat me home, or I a time that I may be able to greet them with warm cookies and hugs, but one thing is sure, you won't hear me breathing relief that they aren't with me... even when a day is hard.