I’ve never been “just a mom.” I’ve always been a mom + something else. Educator. Grad student. Wife. Business owner.
Not that I’m not a whiner. Much. (Feel free to beg to differ.) I sort of consider myself invincible. At least I used to. So this summer has been a really interesting journey for me. Since the accident in July, I’ve been forced not to work. When I say forced, I mean I’m not allowed to due to a little herniated disk and flattened spinal cord. It sounds worse than I think it is. At any rate, I am not allowed to return to work per doctor’s orders until she says so.
Consequently, this year as school resumed, I got to be “just a mom.” I was able to bring my youngest to her first day of kindergarten and chit chat with the other moms, without rushing off to my obligations for the first time ever. I was able to eat lunch with my daughter at school on her birthday (even though the school lunch was disgusting). For the first time in 10 years, I wasn't the teacher greeting the other parents who doted on their children and urged them off to school that first day. I wasn't the grad student shuffling out the door while Desi got Thing 1 ready for daycare. I wasn't the business owner who started work at 6:30 A.M. and didn't see her children again until 5 P.M. or later.
And you know what? It. Is. Amazing! I’m not kidding!
I never really knew what I was missing. It’s difficult for me to visualize myself as just a mom. I’ve always been so many other things as well. Mind you, being just a mom is a lot more important than I ever fully realized or gave credit for.
Thing 1 asked me last night, "Momma? Exactly what do you do all day now that you don't work?"
I scratched my head, looked around the house, and had no legitimate answer. I'm hoping I can master the art of making the house look like I scrubbed and cleaned all day by only working an hour or two. I'm kind of doubting it. And I feel a slight twinge of guilt. Why is that? Isn't being just a mom enough? I think so.
I’m not sure how long my non-elective unemployment will last this Fall. But I can tell you that I have a smile on my face every morning when I drop the girls off at school and a happy heart when they run to meet me in the lot after school. I sort of underestimated how much this meant to my children. And to me.
So I’m not taking this for granted. Not one single day. I feel so fortunate...
For now, at least.