Yesterday afternoon I read a magazine "on the job." I guess that's one of the perks of Stay-at-Home-Mom-dom -- I can read a magazine while Henry's in the bath and I'm "on the clock"; I just have to be willing to be "on the john," too (lid down, of course, solely a place to sit,) while I do it. I was reading Martha Stewart Living, trying to find inspiration for a creative project that will help with my Sparkle Preservation efforts. But as I was flipping to the "Benches that Beckon" feature, the editor's letter diverted my attention. I didn't read a word of what she had to say to us domestically aspiring readers, I just got good 'n' carried away wondering what life as Margaret Roach, Editorial Director for Martha Stewart Living would be like. My thoughts:
I'll bet that's a prestigious life. I'll bet she gets recognized for the things she does. Recognized! And Paid!
She probably showers every day. And wears matching, pressed clothes.
She probably gets all kinds of insider benefits, as a "big-wig" in Martha's quasi-perfect home-grown, home-made, hand-painted world.
And thus, my curious wonder started to morph into covetous envy.
Sometimes I have a hard time not comparing my life with her kind of life and feeling like I'm overworked, under-recognized, and underpaid. The gimme girl inside wants recognition, glamour, compensation, so on my hypothetical tour of Ms. Roach's world, I found myself assigning a lot of value to tangible accomplishments that bring those rewards. And stereotypical manifestations of success, like owning nice suits and driving a clean, leather interior-ed, clean, luxurious (and did I mention clean?) car, having a staff of people who defer to you. The shallow consolation prize for my seemingly lesser existence was, (sigh!) "at least my last name's not Roach."
I'm sure I was too generous in my glamorization and romanticizing of her position, and by extension her existence, but that's neither here nor there. What is here and there is that I need to remember something that my friend, Anne pointed out to me, (that her husband, Taylor, pointed out to her,) that life is "all about what you value." Lest you feel your guard begin to creep up, please, make no mistake about the purpose of this post. The purpose of this post is not, not at all, to determine the right-ness or wrong-ness of anyone else's life choices about career and/or family. The point is to remind myself to value and love my choice, my life. Because sometimes I forget to.
With that in mind, one of the things that I value most about my full-time mom job, (the same job that I wanted to run away from Monday night,) is that Henry and I have mastered the art of a lazy morning. We wake up when our bodies tell us it's time. No, scratch that. Henry wakes up when his body tells him it's time and then that sprite little body comes and prods my comatose corpse into consciousness.
We eat a leisurely breakfast of our choosing. Henry usually chooses yogurt, sometimes "chee-yos." We share a protein shake or a fruit smoothie, and I usually have a piece of toast. We talk about how delicious our "smoovies" are, how "that's feels good to waked up," and how we "havva nice rest," the night before.
Then, most mornings, we have a little bit of story time in "mama bed" 'cause I like to think that by some stroke of Providential kindness we might be allowed a few more winks of sleep if we're in a snuggly bed. It never happens.
And then Henry either asks, "shu-we go inna backyard?" or "shu-we watcha show?" It's always too hot and mosquito infested to play in the backyard, so occasionally we go for a morning swim at our favorite Summertime destination on earth, Sarah's pool. Or we go for a little outing to our second favorite place on earth, the library. We get armfuls of books. And shows. And there is nothing more fun than feeling like you're shopping for free, which is exactly how I feel at the library. We can take home books and movies and CD's and (my personal favorite) magazines to read during bathtime, and pretend like they're ours for three whole weeks. FOR FREE! It lessens the pain of Uncle Sam's hands in our pockets just a titch.
On mornings that we're not up for an outing, we watch a show we "bought" from the library. Lately our show of choice has been Max and "Ruvie" (Ruby.) Sometimes I sit for the duration of the matinee, but more often than not, I use that precious time when Henry's attention is successfully captured, to do a few chores. This morning I vacuumed. When I was done, Henry came over and unzipped the cloth that covers our vacuum bag, touched the thick, crinkly, paper/cardboard bag and said, most delightedly, "Oh! Look, Mommy! It's a package fer usss!"
In that moment, I couldn't think of another job on this planet...in this galaxy, that I'd rather be doing. It was a no-brainer to value what I have and what I've chosen.
But when he messed his diaper for the third time this morning, (he's had a little stomach bug, bless his heart (and his bum,)) I really had to dig deep to convince myself that this is in fact what I'm supposed to/want to be doing. All day. Every day.