We all survived my nanny's vacation! It was touch and go at times, and included one baby illness, one newly-implemented behavior system and lots and lots of laundry and &$@"&$? bottle washing... but we lived!
It may sound crazy to brag about surviving twelve days, but to me it was a daunting task and one that I'm proud of completing. Since the girls were born, I've been a working mom - thriving off of my professional life and accomplishments, adult activities and conversations without simultaneously keeping an eye on a baby, and recognizing that I am simply a better and more patient mother when I take that time for myself. I know women who are the exact opposite - they thrive off of being home with their children, can't get enough of planning classes, meals and playdates and would love to never set foot in an office setting again. And I know some that are a mix of both. I have always had Fridays with my girls and never hid the fact that they were my most difficult days. I attributed it to dipping in and out of being their primary caregiver, but now know that it's just a challenge for me no matter what!
Case in point: I'm not totally proud of how these weeks appeared to others at times. I certainly lost my temper, missed more than a day or two of showers, and let Lila sleep through music class, her only obligation for the week. I was the sole mother to show up to a "nanny birthday party" for a child in our building. I was dripping sweat when we arrived at the park, with a crying preschooler (sad because we were late) who barely listened to me while we were there, bullied me into giving her a cupcake AND pizza AND a lollipop AND JUUUUUICE, and who scooted around the park with reckless abandon. Not to mention a baby who thankfully fed herself her bottle in her stroller, parked strategically close to some of the nannies who I knew would keep an extra eye on her while I attempted to chase Rebecca down. And those nannies laughed openly at me, as I self-deprecatingly gave them the countdown until Dina was back (oh yeah, this was on Day 1). We lost a bottle, two other bottle caps and a lovey. We got dressed straight out of the (CLEAN!) laundry basket.
But... I also mastered getting both girls into the tub at the same time. I learned Lila's new mannerisms and cues and cries. I watched her crawl, feed herself and almost master holding her bottle. I watched Rebecca run carefree at three different playgrounds after school, remembered both of her extracurricular classes and got her there on time, and recruited her to be my special "Helper Buddy" with her little sister. And in stolen moments of Lila's naps while Rebecca was in school, I made connections with another site looking to feature my writing, planned a non-profit fundraising event, published an article on GoodHousekeeping's site and kicked off 5QFriday here (then I skipped the second. To be continued this week...).
Of course I don't doubt that I could be a stay-at-home mother all the time, but it has never been what I choose to do. Even now, piecing together freelance positions vs. my full-time previous job, I know that my personal fulfillment is greater if I have the time to dedicate myself to those other jobs as well as that of being a mother... and the past almost two weeks proved that. It also reinforced two other things that I have always known - choosing to stay home IS A JOB. A thankless one, an at times exhausting one and always such an important one. And? Neither is right, nor better than the other. Both have benefits, challenges, pros and cons. Both are vital roles in communities and societies and the fact that anyone would ever pit "Mommy Wars" against each other bewilders me. Each can and should help support the other. And every family, couple and woman can decide which suits her best.
Kudos to all my mommy friends who watched me stumble through the past two weeks, lending hands or eyes when needed, and to my back-up baby sitter who came on Tuesday to help a mama out. It takes a village...