I've spent the past two months home with my children, just like many families all over the country. It's been a time of mixed emotions for me. On the one hand, I am thankful that my husband and I have jobs that allow us to work safely at home. I also realize I'm getting a lot of precious time with my children that I wouldn't have otherwise gotten. On the other hand, the truth is this has been really hard. All day we are doing this chaotic dance of working, exercising, cooking, cleaning, playing, and e-learning, all while watching my toddler systematically trash every unlocked drawer and cabinet in my house. My husband is on calls all day long and not available to help much with the kids during the day. He uses the breaks he does have to cover for me so I can join meetings. But I am staying up every night after the kids go to bed for hours to write and sift through unanswered emails.
It got me thinking about quality over quantity. As a working mom, I rationalize my time away from my children with the idea that I am fresh for them when I walk through the door. I've missed them all day and when I do get home I'm present and focused. Now that I'm home with them all day, it's had the reverse effect. They're always nearby, but I'm more distracted and less patient.
Compounding this problem is the fact that I never seem to get any one-on-one time with them these days. In our normal routine, I regularly get moments alone with them, whether it's dropping them off at an activity or hanging out at home while the others are out. When you have multiple kids, they are constantly competing for your attention. Right now, it's multiple kids 24 hours a day, and I still have my job to think about when I'm with them.
Last night, my 7-year-old said, "I didn't get any time with you today, mommy." In my head I was thinking, "We've been together all day — and month!" but what he meant was he didn't get any focused time with me. This Mother's Day, I'm asking for some solo time with each kid.
I asked them to write down what they wanted to do with me, and here's what they said:
Nash, Age 9
"I want to take a walk with you to the pond."
Carter, Age 7
"I want to go to George's Field with you." (To catch Pokémon on Pokémon Go)
Sage, 20 Months
She can't talk BUT her favorite thing is to run free down our street. She makes this noise like she is laughing and charging into battle at the same time — it's so funny to watch. She never makes it far before I need to rush back to get the boys on a Zoom class or whatever else is happening. But on Mother's Day, this girl is going to get her steps in!