Probably the most insensitive thing one could say to a mom who works in an office is “Don’t you miss them during the day?”
My answer always is: Never, actually. The whole reason I go to work is to get away from them.
Not true, of course.
I don’t spend time at work in order to not be with my children. I work for my children.
During the eight hours in my office, I definitely don’t miss the whining or the fights over a Target t-shirt that is “too boring” to wear. I don’t miss my daughter screaming because her brother won’t give her a hug, or my son’s wicked two-year-old tantrums or him biting me while I put him in time out in his crib. I don’t miss him being hysterical over not being able to find the pacifier he threw into the bushes during a freak-out in the driveway over bubbles. I don’t miss my daughter’s meltdowns over having to put her laundry away, get her hair brushed or clear her plate. I don’t miss the dozens of poop diapers I never have to change. I don’t miss the arguments over toys or the shrieking over sharing markers. I don’t miss the eye rolling or the going-on-sixteen-year-old-attitude from my six-year-old. And it’s a relief sometimes to not have to figure out what to do during the endless hours of summer when it’s too hot or rainy to go outside.
There are even days when I am super busy or involved in a project, where I might go an hour or two without thinking of them. But that’s such a precious gift, to be able to forget them. I can forget them because I know without any worry whatsoever they are safe, loved and learning. My son’s wonderful teacher, who understands he’s a cuddle bug who is still working on his words and so out of frustration bites, hits and shoves the other five kids in her class – and loves him anyway. Or my daughter’s sweet teachers, who send us pictures during the day of her adventures during the butterfly release they did, or egg hunt, or who will email me if she’s had a bad day and explain what happened.
Of course I miss them.
I miss my son’s sweaty curls on my cheek, his chubby hands as he pats my face, his fierce hugs around my neck, his increasingly skinny, strong body as he grows out of his babyhood chunk and into a little boy. I miss lifting him onto my hip, and cuddling him before his nap, and I miss holding him on my lap while he watches Thomas and rests his head on me. I miss his lion roars and his devilish little look when he’s climbing on the kitchen table and him screaming “IT TICKLES MUMMY EEET TICKLEZ” when I put on his shoes or lotion on his dry skin.
I miss my daughter’s exuberance over something as small as seeing the neighbor’s red dog. I miss her quirky love for naming every animal we see, even mosquitoes (his name is Squeaky, Mama). I miss her sweet voice singing songs I didn’t know she knew. Her big brown eyes. I miss her determination to ride her new pink bike without the training wheels, and her excitement over a new library book. I miss hearing their giggles as they snuggle under the covers together, hiding from me.
When I need a brain break at work I’ll look at pictures or videos of them on my phone. It isn’t the same, of course, as being home with them. Being relieved of many of the tantrums, sibling fights and poop diapers will never be worth more to me than spending the day with them. But I really like my job and am thankful for it, I like who I am when I work, and this is in our best interest for our financial future, and that’s how things are right now.
Missing my babies means I am excited and happy to come home to them every day. I love when my arms are full again.