Recently a friend of mine posted a photo on Instagram of the summer bucket list she and her girls created. Each item was hand-written in colorful marker, with a square next to it, ready to be checked off after experienced. On the list were things like “ice cream” and “Six Flags” and “zoo”, but there was one word on it that really stood out to me – “Hugs”.
I used to be home with my children every day. However, last summer I re-entered the work force and by mid-July I was no longer enjoying lazy-ish days with them, at the pool or inside the air conditioned children’s museum or library. For various reasons, it was a must that I return to work and leave those days behind. When I started my new job, I felt ready to do so, at least from a practical standpoint. Since I would now be away from the kids all day, I hired a young lady to hang out with and chauffeur them around for the rest of the summer. Out of necessity, I did the same thing this summer and now, someone else is spending time with my kids, taking them to fun places and probably giving generous “hugs” when asked.
When I saw my friend’s post the other day, it almost made me cry. Even though my children are a bit older now, I know I am missing out on activities we enjoyed doing together before. I’m not saying our summers were perfect, or without some days of me thinking “omg, get me out of here.” That would be a lie. However, there were definitely many more wonderful moments, than not-so-wonderful. I so enjoyed playing in the pool with them or watching a silly movie while relaxing on the sofa, or helping them check out a book at the library. Because that was my life before, sometimes it is really difficult to know I will probably not have that again, and it makes me sad to miss out on those precious moments with them.
I know other mothers all over the country and the world do the same, every day too. They have to work, to provide for their families or because they are doing something that is very important to them, in their career or life in general. I think it is hard for me because I was never very career-driven. I am a creative and the things I love to do (write, decorating my home, photograph stuff, read) center more around the types of days that summer brings.
So, it’s a little hard to be stuck in an office all day, longing for the days past, when waking up late and snuggling them on the sofa before our days slowly began, was the norm. Walking around in our pajamas enjoying time to just be, without a pressing schedule, was a gift I didn’t fully appreciate back then.
I know many moms who do stay home are in the trenches and sometimes long for a break - I was there once too. It’s not always a picnic. And this is not some “you’ll miss these days” post (although I know it kind of feels like it). It’s more of a “try your best not to take these times for granted, enjoy the small moments, even if it’s really hard some days, because these summers do go by really fast”.
Yeah, it’s that kind of post.
So to the SAHMs out there... make your bucket list and enjoy the summer. And as you wade in the pool with your kiddos, or say “yes” to ice cream for dinner (at least once) and get all the hugs you can handle, think of me.
(Photo by my pal Leigh Ann Torres - Instagram @latorres)