I recently quit my job to freelance from home. Part of the decision was made to make days like today more possible: a morning spent helping get them dressed, figuring out who was having Oven Fried Chicken and who was having a home lunch, timing a math practice test, running a forgotten item out to the car; then, later picking them up early from school for soccer practice, carpooling, hosting an impromptu pizza party for friends. There was a moment during the delightful chaos in our house this evening, when the highest decibel of fun was being had by lovely children so thrilled to be running amuck with their lovely friends, bellies full of pizza dough, when I thought: OK, good decision this working from home thing, good call..
More time = happier children ran through my mind.
After everyone went home, Chris and I did our bedtime dance where he rubs one child’s back and I read the other a story, switch and repeat. It was now my four-year old son Finn’s turn. Reese, my seven-year old, was already asleep so Chris was free to venture into post-bedtime relaxation mode without me; my mind was already wandering off, thinking of what might be on TV when I walked into Finn’s room - he was sitting at his tiny blue “art” table working on a drawing. I sat down opposite him, he in his favorite Wall-E pants, me in my cloak of exhaustion.
“Will you watch me draw, Mama?” he asked, not looking up.
I wanted to say no. I don’t know why I didn’t.
“OK, for a few minutes,” I said from my tiny blue chair.
“So, Finn,” I said a moment or two later, making conversation, “what was your favorite part of your day?” I make bets in my mind: Pizza? Soccer? Friends coming over? Getting picked up early from school?
“Right now,” he answered quietly, “You watching me draw.”
I sat up a little straighter in my plastic chair. Really? Right now is your favorite part?
OK, new and revised thought:
More me = happier children.
I thought my decision to work from home would give me more time to be with my children and it has. But what it’s really given me is more happiness, which has given my children more of me, the good me, the me that will sit down and watch them draw or cuddle with them an extra few moments on the couch before dinner; it’s the me that’s more patient, the one that will listen more, that will snap at them less.
Tomorrow morning, bright and early, I get to work the waffle breakfast fundraiser – something that would’ve been harder to swing before. I will not make the mistake tomorrow, however, as I pour the batter for a bazillion waffles and I see my children’s delighted faces on the other side of the room, that they are happy simply because their mom can now do things like work the waffle breakfast. I will remember that they are happy, because I am happier.
Final, new and revised thought:
Happier me = happier children.