Two years ago, I posted the following on my Facebook page:
I find myself sitting at an 8-year-olds birthday party, where I don’t know the kid, don’t know the parents, and only recognize half of the kids that all know my kid.
Is this how “working moms” always feel?
It sure is different on this side of the fence from where I was a few short years ago…
The child of mine in attendance was my last child. I sat at that party and thought through the countless numbers of parties I have sat through for each of the older kids. The parties where I knew all of the children by name, the result of being a classroom volunteer. The parties where I knew all of the parent’s names, the result of having the luxury to remain on the playground and play/talk after school on nice days.
The luxury of being able to have been a stay-at-home mom for the majority of my children’s early years was never lost on me, or so I thought. I was always grateful, or at least I always said that I was.
Sitting next to the hotel swimming pool, it came crashing down on me just how much my life, my kids’ lives, OUR lives have changed in the past few years.
No longer the stay at home mom, with cookies ready when the kids come home from school. I am now the working mom who tries to cram in “special time” every other weekend.
I know that I am not alone in this plight. I know that many other divorced/widowed/separated/single parents know exactly what I am talking about. I love them. They love me.
Our life now is not bad, it is different. Different than it was before. It can’t be changed, and we can’t go back, so we go forward.
I will forever treasure the weekday lunches in the park, the lazy walks around area trails, the summer we visited every school playground in town. They are precious memories that can never be taken away, and they were the foundation. They were the foundation of who my kids are today, and who they will become as they continue to grow.
Like many parents, I wonder if it was enough. Is that foundation strong enough? Did we play enough, was there enough play-doh, did we read and cuddle enough, do they feel the love for them like a blanket that is always with them?
Time moves on. Kids grow. Marital relationships sometimes change. But the love for the kids never changes.
I now have such an empathy for those who were not afforded that time, and I will be forever grateful to my children’s father that we were able to make it work. Through whatever else we had going on, we made that part work, for them.
For some families, it is not possible for a parent to stay home. For some families, it is not the desire of either parent to stay home. That’s fine. I am in no way saying the path my family took was the “right” one for everyone, but it was the right one for us.
As my kids continue to grow, I see parts of that foundation in them every now and then. It gives me hope for us moving forward that even though I have made my fair share of mistakes, hopefully, that love and that foundation are still buried deep in them and that the foundation is enough to sustain them as they continue on.
You have been very fortunate and it sounds like you’re a great mom! We all do the best we can do at the time and hope it’s enough. I was lucky enough to stay home with my kids for 8 months (they were 4 & 5 at the time) and it was a time I would never trade for anything. But, as you say, life changes and we need to change too. We just have to remain grateful for whatever opportunities we have!