I slumped in my seat, thinking
for a few moments. Then I brought my hands to the keyboard.
Me: You should come home now.
Michael: It's only 5:25!
Me: You leave this early sometimes. When are you leaving?
Michael: I'm working on something
Michael: I'll leave in a bit
me: When's a bit!?
What followed was a period of
time during which I scrolled through Twitter, shook a rattle at Em, read a book
to Em, responded to emails, helped Em practice standing ... all interspersed
with glances at Gchat to see if Michael had signed off yet.
Once he did, I did the math in my
head. It'll take him about a half hour to
walk to the Port Authority. Maybe 15 minutes to get on the bus. 45 minutes to
get to the Park n' Ride. And 10-15 minutes from there to get home.
I recently read a piece (I can't
remember where) by a mother who counted down the minutes until her husband came
home. Not because she didn't enjoy spending time with her baby. That wasn't it
at all. But she looked forward to the time when her husband could take over so
she could have some time to herself.
Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed by the responsibility I have to this tiny human who relies on me for everything. Everything.
My heart leapt with immediate
understanding when I started reading. I, too, counted down the minutes until
Michael was due home so I could pass him Em. Once the handover happened, he
would give Em her bath, give her the final feeding of the day and then put her
to bed. During that time, I would do something mindless, like catch up on
Twitter, or I would settle down with a good book. After that, my husband and I
would eat dinner together while watching one of our favorite shows, and then
It wasn't much of a reprieve. But it worked.
So I was thrilled to see I wasn't
the only mom who did the countdown. By the end of the piece, though, the author
had experienced a complete turnaround, having learned the lesson that she should
feel grateful for every moment she had with her child. And instead of counting
down the hours, the minutes, looking toward the future, she should just allow
herself to be present for every giggle and gurgle and poop.
I sighed and rolled my eyes.
Don't misunderstand me. I feel
guilty for every minute spent working at my computer, when I could instead be
engaging with Em. I take frequent breaks to read aloud to her, to do tummy time
with her, to swoop her up into the air and let her pretend she's Supergirl. My
heart explodes with every giggle. With every gurgle. With every poop. (OK,
Maybe not with every poop, but she does
make this hilarious croaking sound that alerts me to poop situations.)
But I still can't help counting
down the minutes to Daddy. And not just because I could use the help. Hell,
most days, Em is a saint, and juggling work stuff and house stuff and childcare
is a piece of cake. (Or at least not terrible.)
More than needing help, or even needing
time to myself, I look forward to my husband's arrival home because it means
that, at long last, I'm not the only one responsible for her well-being.
Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed by
the responsibility I have to this tiny human who relies on me for everything. Everything. Who trusts me implicitly.
Who smiles with delight whenever she sees me walk into a room. It's terrifying!
At least when my husband is home,
this responsibility doesn't lie so heavily upon my shoulders. At least when
he's home, she can look to us both.
Knowing this just makes me feel lighter. And I know it doesn't mean I
love her any less.
So that other mom's epiphany
aside, I think I'll continue counting down the minutes.