This past week, we had Martin Luther King Jr. Day and THREE snow days, which meant that I only went to school on Tuesday. I spent the other four days at home with my little man, mainly staying cooped up inside the house on account of the weather. The first snow day was GREAT!
When the second was announced, it was more like an unenthusiastic, “Ehh.”
When they announced the third, it was more like, “COME ON!” I was strangely ready to go back to school.
The thing is, I’d forgotten how HARD it is to be a stay-at-home mom. I know people who have never tried on that role for size may think it’s easy–some sort of permanent leisurely vacation. I’ve heard people scoff that it’s not a “real” job. But personally, after spending the week at home with my toddler, I am ready (read: begging) to go back to work and spend some time with adults.
Please don’t get me wrong. Jake is my most favorite little guy in the world. I love spending time with him. But for me personally, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and we both get along with each other a little better after spending independent time in other places (me=work, him=daycare or grandma’s house). I love that reunion at the end of the day, when he drops his toys and runs over and yells, “Mama!!” and gives me a hug. (And I get disappointed on the days when he seems perfectly happy to remain at daycare, only briefly acknowledging my existence and then going right back to playing with his friends.) Stay-at-home-mom or not, he is still very much a mama’s boy, and I don’t feel like my work schedule has watered down our relationship or attachment to each other at all.
But my goodness, it is hard work keeping up with him! Our snow days went something like this:
Me: turning on the TV, thinking I might watch the Today Show
Jake: (as soon as he sees the remote in my hand) “ELMO!!!”
Me: indulging Jake in an hour of Sesame Street, while I look at social media on my phone instead.
Me: taking my fifteenth bathroom break of the day (pregnancy bladder)
Jake: sounds of things crashing and breaking on the other side of the house
Me: running around frantically trying to figure out which room he’s in (he NEVER answers me when I call his name)
Me: (finding him) “Jakey, let’s play with something else,” and prying the forbidden object out of his hand
Jake: throwing himself on the floor, screaming and writhing in apparent agony
…and so on.
Not to sound overly preachy, but during church this morning I was thinking about how God loves us no matter what, even at our worst…and he asks me to do the same for Jake. (And trust me, Jake is full-on terrible twos right now–even though he’s not quite two yet– and it is the WORST). In fact, by giving us parent-child relationships, God is mirroring our relationship to him and helping us understand it a little bit better. In many ways, I am like Jake–I can be toddler-minded in my walk with God. I’m really good at feeling independent and making my own plans, getting upset when God has a different plan for me and calls me in a different direction. Often times when that happens, I drag my feet, kicking and screaming and resisting change, not even acknowledging that the new season of life he is bringing me to may be BETTER than the last. I tend to want sinful things that aren’t good/healthy for me, and I can even get fixated on them simply because God has forbidden me from having them. I sometimes flatter myself as being pretty wise about life, and about who God is in general–not realizing that I have only a very basic (toddler-sized) understanding of what this life and God’s creation are really all about.
So basically, in my effort to figure out WHY I have been blessed with such a temperamental and highly determined toddler, I figured out that God is just teaching me more about who he is and who I am. God loves me in the midst of my “toddler-ness” (which, in the long run, is a much more permanent condition for me than Jake’s will be), and he has called me to love Jake in the midst of his “toddler-ness” too (and his adolescence, and his teens, and his adulthood). I have been given quite a challenge with Jake, but I’ve also been given insight into my own short-sightedness and complete (and TOTAL) dependence on my loving heavenly Father.
And if that wasn’t enough, I DO get to return to work tomorrow. 😉