Forgive me, child, but I just … can’t.
I’m jealous. The moms I know who don’t work have these super-fun plans every single summer weekend, according to the brightly colored photos they post to Facebook and Instagram. They’re going to a water park. Or the zoo. Or a farm. Or even just the playground. Me? I’m sitting on the couch with a PAW Patrol marathon on for my 3-year-old because I can’t bear to move. I’m counting opening the windows as outdoor time.
I’m not sure how they do it. Running around after children all day, all week sounds far more exhausting than sitting in my desk chair for just as long. And yet, commuting by train two-and-a-half hours a day, with 45 minutes of walking between home, the stations and my office each day, five days a week, takes its toll. As do the mentally exhausting, seemingly endless meetings and conference calls. And hitting aggressive deadlines and more-aggressive goals. And pleasing a manager (lovely as she is) and managing a team (lovely as they are). Come Saturday, walking from my bed to the bathroom is a chore.
And what about all the real chores I have to do on weekends because there’s zero time to complete them during the work week (if I want to eat dinner each night, that is)? I haven’t yet figured out how to schedule time for a simple park visit and get laundry, food shopping and cleaning done after I’ve mustered up the energy to hoist myself off the recliner. I’m flummoxed how anyone finishes it all and finds time for fun, without hired help anyway.
So I’m thankful my son doesn’t compare weekend activity notes with his nursery-school classmates. I imagine their moms, many of whom work just part-time and closer to home than I do, have back-to-back days of nonstop fun planned for their littles, or at least a singular activity that involves more excitement than sitting still in a dark room illuminated only by the glow of the cartoon on an endless loop. I’m thankful my son is too young to be on social media and experience the FOMO he doesn’t know exists, scrolling through photo after photo of children taking advantage of warm summer weather, faces smiling wide with the happiness of doing something, anything.
But my son smiles too, when a character on screen cracks a corny, kid-friendly joke, when my feet rub against the floor on the way to the kitchen and make a fart noise, when I surprise him by making a silly face right next to his little head or tickling his bare feet. And while every weekend may not be social media–worthy in my household, my son sees plenty of action during the week at school, and we’re forever schlepping to visit grandparents and aunts and uncles. As guilty as I feel for not doing nearly as much as my less-lazy counterparts, my son is going to be OK, as will all the children of exhausted but loving working moms. The happiest, most successful adults don’t wax poetic about their jam-packed summer weekends, but rather the support they had from their families throughout their lives.