As with most things parenting, B and I were flying by the seat of our pants when it came to prepping C for the move we made last week to Memphis. She’s at an age now where she understands so much more of what is going on than we give her credit for, and it’s our job to present the events that populate her life to her in a way that she can process them. We talked about Memphis a lot, how we’d go there and it would be a home and not just a place where we were visiting and how we wouldn’t go back to our apartment in North Carolina because we’d be living with Bubby, my mother-in-law. We made the move sound fun but tried not to pander to her because we knew there would be moments when she missed the way things used to be in North Carolina, and we didn’t want her to feel like those feelings of sadness were wrong or mislead.
She seemed to understand.
Go to Mippis. New home. Tigers in Mippis.
She got it.
There was then the whole issue of explaining to her that I would be going to work like Daddy does and that she would not see me for large chunks of time during the day. The fact that this was a life change I would even have to vet her for was a little bizarre to me. Stay-at-home parenthood is just so thick: time has a tendency to solidify and you don’t actually believe that there will ever be a moment when your skills outside of filling a sippy cup or monitoring the time that elapses between diaper changes will ever be truly utilized. But I guess I’m learning that I am indeed useful because I’m writing this very post at my desk, during my lunch break. My desk at a place that needs me not because of my ability to fold a cloth diaper like a ninja but because I am, apparently, employable.
Really, B and I both knew that while she could regurgitate the script of Mommy-going-to-work back to us with only minor pronunciation slip-ups, it would be one of those things that she’d have to learn as she goes. And that’s her life, really. She’s two years old and every day she is presented with new lessons that aren’t framed as neatly as they will be one day when she goes to school.
But the real dig is that it’s not just her learning. It’s me, too. So often as a parent I busy myself with preparing C for whatever the next step is and am pretty vocal about that busywork, but I’m just as preoccupied with figuring out who I am during those steps. Not surprisingly, I’ve felt a few prickles of guilt for going back to work. This is mostly because I enjoy it so much. I’ll admit it: I like working more than I like reading the same board book seven times in a row. I just do. I like coming up with solutions to problems at work more than I do diffusing tantrums. The results are quicker, and I’m not as emotionally invested. And that makes me feel like a bad mom sometimes, which I know is kind of ridiculous. When did I start to believe in this June Cleaver ideal that if you’re not smiling and whistling when you’re changing a diaper, you’re doing something wrong?
But my inner struggles go completely over C’s head. She loves it here, and that’s all that really matters. Every day when we pull up into our driveway, she smiles and says “Good new home.” We may be flying by the seat of our pants, but Someone is looking out for us.