I have discovered the pleasure of driving aimlessly. And of sitting in McDonald’s, for two hours at a time, and dragging my feet a bit while I shop.
I am officially a stay-at-home mom.
It happened only a week ago, after I fired the babysitter. I told her I’d decided to stop working, which was true, though, secretly I had other reasons, too, namely, I wanted my baby to myself.
I wanted to be the one who held him when he cried, and saw his first smile. I wanted to be the one he admired the most, but mostly, I wanted him to feel as loved as he possibly could.
And the person for that job is me.
What’s surprised me most about this change so far: I love it like nothing else I’d ever done.
When I was working, I loved being a mom, too, of course. Not the sleepless nights or all the crying, but the waking up next to the baby’s sweet morning beauty, and the nursing, and the trust, and the love.
Motherhood rocks. I’ve loved every day of this job so far, and a good percentage of the minutes as well. Okay, okay–not the minutes in which my son is crying and I can’t calm him down, and not the ones where he’s not falling asleep. But the ones where I’m holding
him, singing to him, talking to him out loud like a crazy person in the grocery store. And nearly every time I stop the car and open his door to take him out of his seat, then once again see his beautiful baby face, I have to say it again: “You are perfect.”
And so. For the first time, life feels not only beautiful, as the saying goes, but it also feels like an adventure. Even if I’m just going to McDonald’s.
And yet. It took five months of motherhood for me to realize something that seems pretty obvious; being a stay-at-home mom is awesome.
I’m independent. I’m physical. I’m doing something with my hands and feet. I’m not trapped behind a computer, exercising only my tired brain and eyes. I’m getting out, seeing the world, living life.
I am getting in the car and going places. And if sometimes I don’t quite know where I’ll end up, that just makes it even more fun.
Here, a description of a typical day in the morning life so far: When Xavier and I wake up, he cries immediately, then every time I remove him from my nipple thereafter—except when in a moving vehicle or in a stimulating environment. For this reason, as soon as his diaper is changed in the morning, we are in the car on the way to McDonald’s.
It is not the first time we’ll go there today.
At McDonald’s I drink a large coffee and sit with him for over an hour at a booth by the window. With the help of the back of the bench he stands and stares at everyone else who’s there. People stop to say something to him, or to me about him. Everywhere I go I feel like a minor celebrity. Before long I change his diaper on the drop-down table in the bathroom and wonder if the last person to use it cleaned it off. In the car I check my phone for a moms’ group activity, and find one at a park 45 minutes away. I drive there slowly, considering whether or not I should get a bumper sticker that reads “Don’t rush me–baby’s happy.”
By the time we get to the park the baby’s almost ready for his first nap, but I decide to push it as this is the only social event I have scheduled for the day. I put X in the carrier and talk to the other moms while watching their children play, sincerely wondering if X will ever be
interested in these objects people attach so much importance to called “toys.”
When we start driving again, X almost immediately falls asleep. I’m driving in a suburban area but I’m lucky enough to spot a McDonald’s nearby. I park there and read, making absolutely no noise, for about an hour. By the end of the hour I have to pee really bad, but am determined not to leave the baby as he may wake up without me there.
After he wakes up we go in. This time I order a large soda, also caffeinated, and before we leave I refill it twice. (Did I mention that as we are cosleeping I wake up ten to twelve times a night, every night, to nurse?)
After this there’s an errand or two, then another aimless drive that ends in nap number two, again in a parking lot. Then there’s the car ride to pick up my husband from work. With him we eat dinner and immediately after we’re done we go to a meditation class. When we return home I put X in a stroller and we take a very long walk–about two hours. By the time we’re back home the baby is already asleep, but as soon as I move him he wakes up again and it is three hours before I’m able to leave the bed without him crying. I do so, and shower, brush my teeth and change into my pajamas. Then I go to bed.
And that is about how it’s been for the past seven days in a row, and will likely be for a pretty long time to come. I know that in some ways it sounds awful, but the truth is, I enjoy almost every second of the day. This is how it’s been for the past seven days, and will likely continue to be for a very long time.
At least – I hope it will be. As I sat in the parking lot today waiting for Xavier to wake up from his nap, I had a terrible thought. ‘My life won’t always be like this,’ I realized. ‘Someday I’ll go back to a regular job. Maybe even have a second kid.’
The sadness that I felt in that moment was absurd and premature, I know. And yet, even now I can’t get the thought out of my mind.
I want to be Xavier’s first and best love, and to take care of him, like this, forever.
I also never want a real job again. (Egad!)