There are days where I rail at being home. The days where I am worried that this is what my kids will see, the laundry lady, the cleaner, and the cook. Where I fear they won't see me, but rather this temporary version of myself I have become. The one who can't always get in to take a shower until night-time, because Rose refuses to take a nap that day. Who doesn't have the energy to bother with makeup and contacts. They won't realize that there's a writer in there, an educated woman, someone who loves deeply and takes chances by trusting people that don't always deserve it, by believing in people who are destined to fail, by giving my heart not in hopes that it won't be crushed but in the certainty that it will be fulfilled.
They won't see the optimist, only the suck-at-home mom. They won't remember the woman who got up every day and worked hard at her job as a childcare administrator, but only the one who they come home to, who worked equally hard but doesn't have the pen and fingerpaint stains and folded up latex gloves with tissues from the playground in it (because I don't use gloves to wipe Rose's nose, and most times we don't even get to the playground) to prove it.
Then there are days like today, when I think about my childhood. Before my parents divorced, my mother didn't work--my father never wanted her to. (No it wasn't Macchiavellian...it was that old fashioned mentality that a man is a man because he provides.) So my mom stayed home. Some of my greatest memories are going to Woolworth's with Ma. Visiting Grandma and Grampa with her. Sitting under the table at her feet while she played cards on Sundays. The pretty dresses she loved to put me in (though they were damned itchy, back then, with those puffy, scratchy petticoats.) My mother was the cook, the cleaner, the laundry-woman. She was the nurse and the teacher. I never thought of her as any of those things, but only as my mom. When my parents divorced, she worked long hard hours, and I missed her, but I was still closer to no one.
I think about those days, and I think I have it pretty great--I have the chance to make my kids look at me the way I always looked at my mom. And I can live with that.