So, I was at Target this morning. And that, believe it or not, is a fairly rare occurrence. As much as I love it, I know better. We have been credit card/credit card debt free for at least a few years--and my distance from Target is one of the reasons we have managed to remain so.
...but that wasn't my point. sorry.... ;-)
Anyway, it occurred to me, while I was at Target this morning: kidless (three in school, and one in preschool) that most of the Wednesday morning regular clientele was made up of women with young children. Children being pushed in carts, children munching on popcorn eaten out of red bullseye print bags, children prancing down the aisles with their mothers, their pigtails flopping, full of life. And it was a regular thing. I get the feeling that some of these moms go shopping at Target with their toddlers and preschoolers regularly.
and I can't remember the last time I went shopping at Target, just a regular day, with my kids in tow. Not that shopping at Target is the stuff dreams are made of (not the children's dreams anyway...mine are a whole 'nother story). But it's just that since I've been a stay at home mom, which has been--let me think--over 7 years--really? Wow---I have never, ever made a habit of going shopping--or anywhere other than the grocery store--and then only because we had to. With the kids.
It's all too easy when your parents live 5 minutes from your house and are retired--to just drop off the kids whenever it's easier to go alone. Or just drop them off for the day so you can get stuff done at home. It is easier, right? And I know plenty of moms who would if they could, but their parents are working, or live too far away, or generally are just busy. So I guess it's a blessing to have close-by, ready, available and willing parents to watch the kiddies.
But also, sort of a curse. It's too easy. I haven't stepped up to the plate to be the stay at home that I should have been. Especially these last 2 school years--it has just been me and Bea. The others all in school all day long. Why hasn't she become my little buddy? Why haven't I made her play dough from scratch? Why haven't we made a tradition of baking cookies every Tuesday, or visiting the library every Friday? or making crafts? or having tea parties? or meeting friends for playdates at the park to play and eat lunch?
I know it's too late to go back and fix it. And the truth is, I tried. She didn't like the library story time--it was too loud--and she would prefer to just stay home. And tea parties? Well I guess we sort of have them every time she brings me piles of play food when I'm at my computer and I pretend to eat them. ("yum, yum" I tell her, pretending to take a bite, and she smiles, knowing I "tried" it). And play dough? Well I don't know if there's a reason for why I didn't make homemade playdough. I seem to be the only mom on the blog block who hasn't.
The truth is, I feel inadequate. I feel like I haven't done a very good job. And to be fair, when I quit my teaching job when my now-8 year old was 18 months--I did so with the promise that I would still bring in my share fair of income by selling on ebay. Which I did. For many years. And still do, to some extent.
But as a result, I've always felt like that was what I needed to be doing. Deal with the kids then get back to listing. I know that regular, non work at home moms don't do crafts and bake cookies and have tea parties and shop at Target all day long. But that's part of the package right? And I admittedly have felt guilty while being bored playing Dora Candyland on those many occasions I tried to be the good mom and play.
So why is it plaguing me today? I guess now that I am in the midst of looking for a job (the one I interviewed for didn't pan out, needless to say), and that Bea might go to kindergarten next year (still not sure though), I feel time is slipping through my fingers. I feel saddened and overwhelmed.
The everyday-ness of being an at-home mom, whether it's a strictly nonworking (for money I mean--please don't misread the phrase "nonworking"), an ebay selling mom, a crafty etsy mom, a blogging mom...or whatever--the everyday-ness of it all--I've let slip by.
doing this better
doing that better
and now where am I?
Probably feeling a little sorry for myself, sadly, but still, sorry and saddened enough to hopefully do something about it. Still looking for a job, still working on the house, the weight loss, the all of the above. But determined to do something about it.