A few weeks ago, a friend posted a status on Facebook which stopped me in my tracks. I was having one of those days when the only thing keeping me going was the hourly countdown to bedtime. My friend was, like me, preparing dinner and helping her son with his homework. Unlike me, she expressed gratitude for a rare afternoon which she could spend at home, cooking for her family and being there for her son instead of having to be at work while wishing she was at home.
I was in her shoes not so long ago, crying at the thought of not being able to pick up my daughter from school and not having the time or energy to cook us a meal at the end of the day. I dreamt of spending my days taking care of my family, making sure everyone was well-fed and had clean, ironed clothes to wear. I wanted to be able to play with my then only daughter, enjoy her company and take her out to play in the sun. I got more than I wished for. My day now revolves around the needs of my children and that of my husband. Most mornings are spent doing the laundry, vacuuming crumbs, cooking lunch and playing with Robin. The afternoons are consumed by Maia’s homework, Robin’s requests for snacks, dinner and bath time. This was exactly what I wanted to be doing. I am living my dream. And yet, I still complain.
After the ‘epiphany’ I had back in Rome, I started working slowly but consistently towards making my own dreams a reality. I now know when to stop and unroll the yoga mat. I know when to put on a DVD for the girls to watch while I sip a coffee in our bedroom, a locked door between us giving me some space and quiet. It doesn’t come as naturally as I hoped it would by now and some days I feel like I have nothing more to give, even before teatime. That’s why my friend’s status felt like a slap in the face. A good slap, if such a thing exists. I was reminded that not everyone has the possibility of preparing dinner. Many parents wish they could sit with their children as they make their way through two hours of homework. I know because I was there. I might be there again in the future. Who knows?
So, for now, I will continue reminding myself that I am living my dream and this is what that dream looks like: dishes to be washed, crumbs to be cleaned, a girl who would rather dance all day than finish her schoolwork and a toddler who never stops needing something, even when she’s busy picking her nose.