Today I drank an extra-large coffee, warm to the last drop! Simple, yes, but it is no small feat for a mom of three young children. For a year straight, I have been a milk maid (dairy cow), snack b*tch, entertainment coordinator, referee, housekeeper, the list goes on... but today, I drank a hot coffee.
I went back to work this week after maternity leave with my third baby. While I am eternally grateful to live in a country that allows us a year off with our babies, a stay-at-home mom I am not. For a year I have had someone in my space — physically, mentally and audibly! Yet, I have been so lonely and isolated. I have to say, it is a breath of fresh air to sit in silence and reflect.
It is exciting to begin thinking about ME again! I got to get dressed without thinking about anyone else's needs. No more "Can I easily flop my boob out of this?," "Will this hide spit up and mushed Cheerios?," or "Can I lean over, kneel on the ground and chase chaos in this?" Instead, I asked: "Does this outfit make me feel fabulous?," "Can I tackle my dreams in this?" and "Do these glasses make me look like a bad 1950s yearbook photo?"
I spent some time considering my own needs and wants. I had my own thoughts. I had a day-date with myself, and I developed an instant girl crush, love at long last.
"I missed you," I said to myself.
I am not sorry I am a working mom. I am not sorry I do not get to spend 24/7 with you for 18 years. I am not sorry I get to go chase my dreams, nurture myself and feed my own interests exclusive of you. I love you, and you are my greatest masterpieces! But there is so much in this world for us all to experience.
I know you can survive, and thrive, without me there every moment. I know you will learn things I cannot teach you, and have experiences I cannot give you. You will learn independence, resilience and adaptation. I will share you and your gifts with others; and more people loving you and supporting you is never a bad thing! You will learn to communicate and bond with new people, be better judges of character and be more open to the unknown.
We will value the quality of our time together over quantity.
You will see your mother setting goals and achieving them. You will learn that we are not bound by traditional gender roles: women can have corporate success, and men can change diapers. Women can be educated, lead companies and have financial independence; and men can cheer them on every step of the way!
And when I get home, I will scoop you up in my arms and love you fiercely! I will ask you about your day, and tell you about mine. I will revel in the pictures you've drawn and the stories you have to tell — and there will be many! I will listen to you excitedly tell me about the dragonfly you found squished on the driveway and admire that you moved him to the grass to get better. I will comfort you and discipline you when I hear of your squabbles with your siblings. I will still do all the things I have always done, in smaller, more concentrated doses. We will value the quality of our time together over quantity.
There will be many moments that I miss you, and moments that I miss. I will worry about you and cry in my car on the days you beg me not to leave, staring at the empty car seats behind me. But today, I am drinking hot coffee at last.
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