I am pretty sure that he thinks his shoes are on correctly, because every single time he puts them on the wrong feet.
Alex asks me nearly every day, “Mommy, do you want to stay home with me for all of the time?” “Is today a no school day?” “Do you want to stay with me all the day?” He often asks me why I have to go to work, why I can’t just stay home with him, why I am not there every night to put him to bed. It’s the “do you want…?” that really hits me. Of course I want to, I tell him, but then how do I explain that I have to work? And that I also want to work (most of the time, anyway)?
Quite frankly, it breaks my heart.
He is learning so much these days, and I don’t want to miss a minute of it, let alone an entire day (or three) while I work crazy night shifts and don’t get to see him because I leave in the evening before he’s home from school and am not home in the morning before he leaves for the day.
Every other weekend I’m home, which is great. I cherish those weekends, even though one of those weekends my body is on night shift schedule and I really need to be sleeping the day away.
I knew it would be hard. I understood that my schedule would be tough on the three days that I work a week, but I didn’t realize that those three days would end up feeling more like 6 days a week. I don’t know why, or how, but three days a week feels like more than the five days a week I was at school for long, long, days. I don’t miss the guilt I felt taking a day off from homework to spend time with my family, though. Now, when I’m home? I’m home and that is a wonderful feeling.
But my goodness how time is flying by. Alex is over three and a half. Three and a half. How did that happen? Where did my toddler my go? He’s very quickly navigating his way into preschoolhood, kidhood, so-far-away-from-being-my-babyhood.
He uses the toilet. He uses prepositions, and accurately most of the time. He tells stories. He has a chore (putting away silverware). He gets dressed and undressed with minimal help. He is beginning to comprehend addition. I see his little brain churning away, and I find myself wondering what I’ve missed.
I didn’t want to be a stay at home mom when I made the decision to go back to school, to get a job, to work. But the guilt I feel missing milestones, sending him off to school, not tucking him in up to three times a week, makes me wonder why the grass must be so much greener on the other side.