How would you spend your days if it was up to you?
No work. No kids. No responsibilities. Just fun.
Not long ago I used to dream of that. Almost daily when I was stuck in an office with no windows and no break. On spring days like today when it’s cool enough to comfortably wear jeans but sunny enough to wear a t-shirt and leave the sweater at home, I’d catch a glimpse out a window and feel regret that I’d chosen my career path. I was jealous of the mothers that were able to stay at home with their kids and spend days like this at the park. But I didn’t know something. I didn’t know some of them were jealous of me. Sure I was missing out on the sunshine but I was also skipping on out on the frustration.
Today I’m in their shoes. And I’m so grateful for it. But I just wanted to take my son to enjoy the spring weather over lunch at the park. We really needed to get out of the damn house. A year ago I just wanted to get home after a long day. After wrestling socks and shoes on, we drove up to McDonald’s. I’m sick of McDonald’s but it’s cheap and it’s one thing I know my four year old will eat without fail. It’s also right in front of the park we frequent. After waiting in line at the drive through for what seemed like an eternity, we got our food and landed a spot at one of the two benches at said park.
It’s an event to get set up. The bench is in the shade and on a day like this one it’s too chilly and my son doesn’t want to wear his jacket. So we move and opt for the sunny area on the side walk and set up again. Two minutes later, my son needs to go pee. At this park, there is one bathroom and it happens to be on the other side of the park. He can’t hold it. We pack up and at the speed of a sloth he is trailing behind me while I am loaded up with both our lunches, jackets, and sodas. I’m now sweating.
The restrooms look like something straight out of the movie, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the women’s restroom is locked. The men’s restroom stall is occupied. We know this because the man’s phone is ringing with a country song ringtone horror movies are made of. I grab my son and decide we are safer finding a tree. After about five minutes of wandering the park, we are back at the original horror scene, now unoccupied. Apparently this park is hopping today and I’d rather not get kicked out by security for allowing my son to pee on public property.
Finally we can eat. My son is pouting because in spite of the fifteen kids his age playing, he’s upset his big brother is still at school. Ten minutes later, he needs to go poop. We aren’t reliving the country song scene nor is he sitting on that nasty metal pot they call a toilet. So back to McDonald’s we go. Can I just say that whoever invented those hand dryers didn’t have kids?
When we get back in the car, I resolve that it’s time to go home. Except my son is upset because he hasn’t played yet. Fine. We’ll go back. It’s nice outside afterall. I start to pull out, promising myself to relax. Then I hear it. The sound of red soda pouring out into the back seat of my car. Another item invented by a non parent that I stupidly agreed to allow my child to have for a moment of peace. I lose it. He’s crying because his drink is gone.
Now here I am back at the park living to tell you mommas that we all get frustrated. Both at work and at home with our kids. We want it to be better on the other side because it gives us something to long for. But in reality we just need to be grateful. That’s annoying sometimes I know. Was I grateful while wiping bright red soda off my four year old’s legs? Hell no. Was I grateful in the past when my boss asked me to stay late and teach a class I wasn’t planning on? Not at all. But it’s all a season and God has a plan for it.
I’m blessed that I can make an income from home now. I don’t miss a thing I don’t want to in my children’s lives (and sometimes I don’t miss things I’d rather!)
Let me know in the comments what you are grateful today for, now matter how small. And if you are interested in learning more about what I do, feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
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Jillian McMullen, CSOWM, RDN, LDN