When my son turned 3, I had the opportunity to take the whole year off with him. It was a most magical year.
After he was born, I recall returning to work after my maternity leave dreading being away from him. Crying on the days I had to work into the evening when I would arrive home and he would already be asleep for the night.
It was planned for me to take time off with him after my contract ended but my job became utterly undesirable. It made it an easy choice to start my year off earlier than expected.
Our days were carefree. With our son being three, one of my favorite ages, it was all so enjoyable. We would wake, have breakfast and spend hours playing with Legos, painting and rolling out play doh. I remember telling my husband that I was pretty proficient in the types of “play doh” for sale in town and which worked best.
3 mornings a week, my son attended nursery from 9-12 or 1 pm. Then on alternate days we would hit the park or the zoo. The Doha zoo despite many referring to it as tragic (for the animals) is the perfect size for 1-5 year olds.
On one of our zoo trips, I encountered a group of moms with their children. The other moms commented on my energy as I chased my son through the grassy area while they spent the morning chatting and watching their children play.
I wanted my son to myself. I had had plenty of time to chat with my girlfriends in the past.
We had the occasional afternoon play date but that was it. I could do lunch anytime but my son would only “be little for so long” or so I had heard time and time again.
In the evenings after my son finished rough-housing with daddy, I spent an hour putting him to bed. I bathed him, read him stories and answered so many questions about the world.
I was pregnant at the time and he would ask: Would he have a baby brother or sister?” Did the baby move inside of me? How would she come out? What makes the clouds and rain? So many questions.
I had long since been telling him “stories out of my mouth” as he would call it. I spent bedtime telling him the most elaborate stories. Stories I wish I would have written down. The pregnancy hormones raging through my body added to my creativity. Since then, I have not been able to reproduce these stories.
I recall lying in bed with him and being utterly happy and content. Life could not have been better. For that one year, I was not a doctor or had to be defined. I was not distracted with email, texts and social media. I had business cards printed with “Liam’s mum” on them. That was it. It was/is my most important role.
What I would give to go back in time just to experience it all again. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity, to have been in the right mind frame to enjoy the moment and not to have to worry about what anyone thought. For that year, I was “just a mom” and it was magical.
What kind of balance do you need in life in regard to work and children? Have you had time off with your children but would have wanted to work but couldn’t? Have you had to work but wanted time off with your children?
By the term “just a mom”, I am not minimizing the importance or judging those who are SAHM. I have done a bit of everything: SAHM, WAHM as well as worked part time and full time outside of the home. I have and will always feel, that you should have the balance you need in your life that allows you to be the best mom whether you are SAHM, WAHM or work outside of the home. It goes without saying that I also respect women’s decisions to choose to live without children as well.