Suffice to say, the summer didn’t go as planned and I ended up spending 95% of it as Sara’s personal social director, instead of spending any time on my own career. Away with my husband at a sleep away camp in CT while he did a consulting project, we got to do some great things: swimming nearly every day, sailing, tennis, and Sara’s new fave, bungee trampolining. But work on this blog? Solicit new marketing clients? Network? Forget about it.
At first, it was beyond challenging. With our babysitter back at home in Brooklyn I knew I’d be spending more hours as “mom,” but we had anticipated being able to leave Sara in a special camp program for kids of camp staff in the mornings while I powered through my to-do lists. But for various reasons, that didn’t work out, and I was left holding the proverbial childcare bag.
I cried at least once a day for the first two weeks. Nothing was going as expected, I was too tired at night to get much work done, there was no cell service and did I mention our rental house had mice?! It’s not that I didn’t like spending time with Sara, I love it, but I was meant to be working, like I did at home, and I spent those first stressful days trying to do everything.
A few weeks later Sara and I left camp for a few days for a prearranged visit to some friends at the beach. My friend, who is a great mom and great at her job was pulling her hair out. After being at the beach alone with her two young kids for several days she felt totally undone, and was commenting that there was no way she could be a stay at home mom. I told that of course she could, but that in order to do so, she needed to let go of her professional self in a way that vacations didn’t have enough time to allow.
That’s when the light bulb went on about my summer. I needed to embrace MOMhood in a different way. I was being handed a gift of sorts, the chance to spend the summer hanging out with my daughter and husband in a way that doesn’t happen back in the “real world.” So I put my work down, knowing that it might suffer but that keeping myself sane was more important than attempting to work and provide full time care in the woods of CT.
And you know what? I had a great rest of the summer, and certainly so did Sara. We did tons of fun things at camp, visited some friends who had vacation homes near by, and just enjoyed spending time with each other. Gary was working, but since he was working at camp, we got to spend time with him during the days including eating lunch with him every day! Even though there were stresses (um, bats in our rooms necessitating rabies shots for all three of us! yes, if you are keeping score that’s mice and bats!) it was less stressful than being at home.
I’m not sure that I would want to be a stay at home mom, but I know I could, and as I sit here working, while Sara is off with the sitter and we get back to our routine I’m filled with mixed emotions. I’m thrilled to be engaged professionally again, but I have to admit, I miss her, and miss our days together.