Thursday I did something I’ve never done before. I dropped Elle off at daycare on my day off.
I mean I had an appointment that morning and we don’t live around a single family member, so regardless, she was going to end up there for at least an hour or two, but I did something I’ve never done.
I left her there all day on my day off.
There was a small period of time where I struggled with my mom guilt about it. The entire time I was driving there, I felt bad that I wasn’t going to get to spend one of my three days a week off with her. I really do relish our time together.
I also know how exhausted I am coming off working 3 straight days of 10 hours plus commute time. How I get home at 6:45 on those night and we barely collectively have the energy to throw something together for dinner and make it to bed time and onto the next day. Dishes barely get done. Nothing else does, that’s for sure. That’s just the beginning of our week together and it can be pretty brutal.
By the time Thursday rolls around, I have had maybe four seconds to myself and when I look around, the house is messy and unruly (even on a good day it seems to fit that description) and then I will typically struggle through trying to pay attention to my two year old in between trying to do dishes, do laundry, mop and sweep and maybe clean a toilet.
You know what normally happens? I toss a movie on and do that.
Now, that’s obviously not the worst thing ever, but I feel myself rushing around the entire time. We pay for 5 days of daycare, so I also asked myself where the harm in dropping her off there while I try to power through some of these activities at a less stressful rate really lies.
The harm lies in my head of course. I made it up. It’s my mom guilt kicking in and it sucks. But I really got thinking about it and honestly, this is the best thing – for her and for me.
I could spend my day paying some attention to her, but not all attention of course because we’re not really spending quality time together when I am trying to get our house situated and ready for another week. I could save those activities for the weekend, but we almost never get them completely done and if we do, it is my husband watching Elle or me watching Elle while the other person cleans something up – that’s not really quality family time. OR, I could just take her to daycare, knock that stuff out and pick her up at 3 or 4 after she’s refreshed from a nap and I am refreshed from no longer having a messy house.
Quality time is so much more important than quantity of time spent together. I have always, always told myself that but sometimes I don’t think I believe it. Once upon a time I did everything when she slept. I refused to clean anything or do anything but hang out with her and do kid related things or go places unless she was asleep. Fast forward a little bit and she of course sleeps less and my workload has not diminished. In fact, we added on more schooling, at one point had a home business plus school plus a kid plus a house plus full-time jobs and we’re just now getting into the swing of things sans extra job. It’s stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. A kid needs a clean-ish house, not an immaculate castle. We need clean clothes. Some things are obviously not avoidable and until I can get my husband to let me outsource, we’re doing it together and on our own.
So here I am now, planning to do the same thing next Thursday. Not because I want to be kid free. Not because I don’t miss her. Not because the feeling will wear off, I don’t anticipate that it will. But because a sane mommy is a much better mommy and I don’t want to spend our day off together with her chasing me around begging me to hold her while I am trying to juggle that and everything else. I want to take her to a place that makes her happy, that will further enrich her and will give her a chance to play with other kids (something she doesn’t get at home since she’s an only child currently) and I want my few hours to just knock everything out so I can pick her up and spend time with her – in the greatest sense of what that means.
Knowing that is more refreshing than even seeing vacuum lines on the carpet (and if you know me, you know I loveeee vacuum lines).