Dear Dr. Laura,
I want to share an enlightening conversation I had over the summer while sitting on a bench watching my kids play in the water splash area at my neighborhood park. A woman sighed and turned towards me and said, “Whew aren’t you glad the summer is almost over and the kids go back to school?” I replied, “No actually, I’m sad summer is almost over.” She had a puzzled look on her face when she asked me, “Why would you be sad?” I smiled and said “I’m sad because I’m going to miss my son and daughter and all the fun we have had together.” She looked puzzled again and said, “Well my nanny has been sick for three weeks. My house is a noisy and messy. I can’t wait to have my life back!” “Get your life back, aren’t your kids the biggest part of your life along with your husband?”, I questioned. Again, the puzzled face appeared. “You at least put your kids in summer camps?”, she questioned. I replied, “Well if you count ‘mommy’ time as a camp, then yes.” “You mean you spent the entire summer with them? What did you do with them that was fun? Weren’t you exhausted?” she asked. I was confused why she kept pushing me, as if waiting for me to give in, make her feel better about her not wanting to simply enjoy the minutes, the hours, the days of spending time with her kids. It was obvious she was the “parent fill in” until the nanny wasn’t sick anymore and could relieve her from this awful situation of having to spend time with her own kids. I wanted to just get up and not bother with the conversation but instead I calmly said
“Yes sometimes I get exhausted spending all day with them. But if I didn’t get exhausted I would be doing something wrong! I didn’t let my kids sit on the couch all day and watch videos, or play video games or whatever electronic device to “entertain” my kids. No instead, I had fun each day coming up with different adventures. Sometimes trying out a new park or place to eat lunch was fun. Sometimes, splashing in puddles on our bikes after a long summer rain was fun. I taught my kids how to do a flip in the pool. Even going to the grocery store to get ingredients to make a homemade pizza was fun. An Art project made out of old cardboard boxes and having a lemonade stand was fun. Building obstacles courses in our backyard was fun. Being my kid’s life size doll where they choose my clothes, accessories, and did my hair and makeup was fun.”
I could have gone on and on, but her puzzled face was tiring to look at. “Oh, you are one of those types of moms,” she replied sassily. I proudly responded, “Yes I am, and I’m sorry you don’t see any fun in that,” I then walked away.
Clearly, she sat next to the “wrong” mom that day in the park. That night, I came home, played checkers with my kids and made dinner for my family. That night after my husband and I put the kids down, I told him about the conversation I had in the park and then gave him a big long kiss and told him thank you for working so hard for our family so I could be “one of those moms!”
Dr. Laura, thank you for your continued RESPECT and support you have for stay at home moms. If anyone is questioning whether or not to stay at home and raise their children instead of a nanny, they should read your book, “In Praise of Stay at Home Moms.”
I am my kids’ mom and my hubby’s girlfriend