Last night the kiddo started playing with a monkey puppet. He declared it to be his “baby brother” and spent the last 30 minutes before bedtime kissing and hugging it and reading it a story. At bedtime he demanded that it be tucked in next to him and that I give his baby brother a good night kiss too.
It was almost unbearably sweet and tender.
I have been just loving my time with the kid these days. He is at this perfect stage: funny and loving and verbal and curious about the world. I miss him, sometimes achingly so, in a way that I haven’t felt since I first went back to work after maternity leave.
I find myself sometimes wishing I could stay at home with him, feeling keenly aware of how quickly the time will fly and in just a few short years he’ll be in school. This time of his life is so precious and so fleeting.
The thing is, though, that I’ve never planned to be a stay at home mom.
I value the financial security of being a dual income family.
I value the intellectual and professional challenges of work. I like the recognition of accomplishing things. I like being around people all day.
I’m 32 years old and in charge of three departments and 30 staff people. I’m good at my job. I’m on a good path to being a college dean sometime, which has long been a goal of mine.
On days when I’m not daydreaming about being a stay at home mom, I day-dream about starting to work on my doctorate.
I suspect that if somehow it did work for me to stay home (which is nearly impossible for me to see happening from a financial stand point which out making some HUGE life changes that I don’t know that I want to make) I’d be lonely, bored and frustrated. I think we could probably make it work to have my husband be a stay at home dad but I worry that I’d be jealous and bitter if we did that, even as I am aware that in so many ways he’d be better at being a stay at home parent than me.
I get frustrated with myself sometimes about all this and I find it mentally exhausting to be toggling back and forth between these two daydreams. Add in my ongoing mental debate about whether we should try to have another child (which is a whole mess of issues, not the least of which is that I’m not especially fertile) and I’m lucky my brain doesn’t explode from the pressure of trying to decide but not being able to (a note to Mr. Monkey, who will certainly read this, I know we don’t have to decide right now. I do. I just hate not having a clear plan, even when the thing that stands in the way of the clear plan is my own damn indecision.)
* Seriously. There is no tidy way to wrap up this mess of navel gazing. So. The End!