“Sad?” I asked. “Why, what’s up?”
“I feel like I don’t see you during the week. I miss you.”
I told him I loved him; I’d be home for dinner and gave him a big hug.
I left his room and sighed. Cue knife to the heart.
I’ve been a working mom for 10 years, and while I’m proud of my parenting choices, there will always be a small voice in the back of my head saying I should be doing more, better, different. I work fulltime and commute 35 miles each way. To beat the traffic, there are mornings I leave before my kids wake. In the evenings, I usually get home between 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., and I jump into dinner, homework and our evening routine. Occasionally, I work from home, which helps tremendously, but generally the days are long. By Thursday night, we’re all exhausted.
My kids know I love them. I tell them every day. But I often wish I could give them more time. The one thing I simply haven’t been able to find, despite my best efforts.
I wish I could pick my little guy up from school, take him to his practices, and just be with him. I want to cuddle on the couch, play a board game, get messy with an art project or bake a sweet treat. I want to devote one-on-one time with each of my three kids, since they all have unique needs. I want to soak in their emerging personalities. I want to have more time to laugh and play.
My three kids seem to be growing at lightning speed, and I often hear from older moms that the years from baby to teen fly. So how do I give my kids – and myself – more time to enjoy each other? How do I avoid hearing those words no working mom wants to hear … “I feel like I don’t see you.”
Sunday evenings are always a little blue. There is the pull of recovering from the weekend festivities and errands, while also prepping for a new workweek. In less than 12 hours, my husband and I will be waking in the dark, bustling to get everyone out the door. We are organized and work as a team. We ensure our kids are cared for and loved.
But I need to find a way to be more visible.
Perhaps this little comment was simply a cry for individual attention. With two other siblings, my attention is inevitably divided. But my son’s plea weighs on me. How do I give him more? How do I push away this guilt? How do I stop time to hold him a little longer?