Staying at home with kids, and why I do it
Yesterday my mum arrived to visit. Just an overnight stay to spend some time with me and the kids, have dinner with us and hang out a bit before heading back to London today. She does it every now and then and we love it. But yesterday when she arrived I was in a bad mood. Unfortunately for her. I was fed up with everything and nothing in particular. Honestly it has felt like an endless 2 weeks while Nate has been on holiday . I have been spending 24 hours a day with both children (my toddler is normally at nursery afternoons in term time). I had just had enough and I had a proper rant at her. Something along these lines. (Only imagine it really a lot longer and more repetitive and you’d be a bit closer.)
“I feel demoralised by domestic work, I hate it, its fucking boring and I’m smarter than this. I want to see people, talk to people, have time to do work. Real proper meaningful work. I do not want to be stuck in my pyjamas until 2pm being puked on by the baby and then having to tolerate my toddler’s “chat” while I have a bath. I feel like a servant. It makes me feel different in my relationship and by different I mean less than equal and frankly speaking equal is the bare minimum I’m willing to accept.” RAAAAAAAAAAAH!
Or words to that effect. Sorry Mum. As I say, it went longer than that but thats the broad jist.
And then I felt much better. And my poor mum probably felt a lot worse. Especially as I’ve been doing “this” for about 5 mins and she stayed for some years to look after me and my brother and so I’m only telling her crap about life she already knows and in fact I’m being super insensitive about her life choices. But she doesn’t call me out on that. Because she is awesome and she knows when I need to vent. And she gave me good advice. But mainly she was just there. Looking out for me. Like she always does.
Then today something happened to me. Perhaps it was this moment.
Mum was just about to leave and we’d been chatting about ten minutes and I realised Nate had quietly been reading something on the floor. It was a book of Dylan’s called “Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art”. And as you might be able to tell from the title it is a book about the history of comics told through a comic, written for grown-ups. But Nate was entranced. He stayed there about 20 minutes reading it, then kept coming back to it all afternoon. He would flick through the pages so softly and considerately like an adult, not a three year old. He was so like his father in that moment that it made me want to cry because it was like looking at the teenager and even man he would become one day. It was utterly perfect.
It was like I was old. And I was watching a memory in my head. And it was one of those moments when you properly realise how fleeting your kid’s childhood is and how lucky you are to be able to be the one to observe it first hand and have some part in shaping them and helping them grow. And you will have heard this story or versions of it from every parent you know I expect. So sorry ’bout that. But it means everything to me. And that is why I do it. If you were wondering.