Summer 2011 is officially over. Well, it is if the school year dictates that the last short 2 months counts as summer. I decided to take the day off work to be the dutiful mother and join my daughter for breakfast, do her hair and walk her to and from school on the first day of Grade 3. What you have to understand is I’m not, and never have been that mother who posts on Facebook about how hard that first day is, how I came home and cried for hours because my “baby” is growing up and I’m left wondering how I will possibly fill my days now AJ is gone for 6 hours. I am by no means mocking those parents who have those genuine feelings because my Mum stayed at home and was always there when we came home for lunch and I can’t imagine my childhood being any other way. It may have been the “norm” when I grew up to always come home knowing Mum would be there, but I am a mother in a very different generation and truly admire those women (and some men) who have made the conscious decision to be at home and make their family and career one in the same.
Most of my friends (as well as myself) had children much later in life than our parents and all of us had careers long before we even got married, never mind thought about pro-creating. Now I find myself with a career, a husband AND an 8-year-old and from time to time, wonder if the grass really is greener on the other side? I considered not returning to the working world outside my home after my maternity leave. It sounded like an easy decision as my family means more to me than anything but once I really started weighing the pros and cons, it wasn’t so easy. I now find myself still with the role of “Mum”, but it looks a lot different now than it did for my Mum.
I took a step back from what my role has looked like for the past 8 years and although I am still left wondering which side of the fence has the greenest grass, I know my daughter had the biggest smile in the school on that first day. She doesn’t know a parent that stays home, walks her to and from school everyday, volunteers at her school more days than not and is at home making her lunch as she walks home for a quick hour in the middle of the day. What she does know is Dad waking her up every morning, Mum picking her up every afternoon and both parents who, at the end of each day, are home and curious to hear about what she learned.
I suppose what I do during my days really isn’t on the mind of an 8-year-old, but it remains on the mind of this 38-year-old. For just one day, I “pretended” I didn’t have a career which takes me away from home 11 hours a day, and tried to see myself as a “stay-at-home Mum” albeit still not in the fashion of my Mum. I doubt I would live quite as grand as I do since we have in a house likely larger than we need, take multiple vacations each year, own two vehicles and allow AJ to play soccer, dance, and say no to her not because we can’t afford it but rather because we want to teach her appreciation not gluttony. Although I enjoyed my day at home, I know I can balance my choices. I love my family, and have no doubt I could easily fill my days without my career but for the moment, I am content with the shade of green my grass happens to be.