My dad was a teacher, high school football coach and even the school bus driver to make ends meet. My mother stayed at home or worked part time. We went camping, took road trips and had family night every Sunday. We had what I refer to as the Christian Conversion Van; complete with blue shag carpeting for the interior, floor to ceiling. We didn’t have a lot of money. It wasn’t all Slip ‘N Slides and swimming pools. But, it’s safe to say I had the quintessential childhood.
Now, that I have my own children, I’m trying to figure out what makes my children’s childhood seem so vastly different.
Oh, wait I know.
I work full-time.
My husband works full-time.
My kids spend 8 to 11 hours a day with complete strangers. No wonder they don’t even vaguely resemble the children I spend a couple of hours a day trying to mold them into. By the time I get home, I’m too dang tired to be Supermom.
My mom was June Cleaver. I feel like Courtney Love.
My baking skills begin and end at banana bread. Woah, I can mix a bunch of crap in a bowl and hit “bake.” I dread the day my kidlets need help with a science project. I will probably just suggest that whole baking soda volcano thing EVERY YEAR. My mom actually made our playdough. My mom actually baked our birthday cakes. I stand in line at the Publix bakery for one and feel frazzled.
While most stay-at-home moms probably daydream about power suits, fatter bank accounts and adult conversation, I’m sitting around imagining what it would be like to rush the kids to soccer practice in sweatpants. I want to have playdough stuck in my finger nails, not Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I want to smell like a campfire, not like long-day-at-work funk. I want to finger paint with my daughter and kick the ball around with my son. Instead, it’s a mad dash to feed them, bathe them and rush them into bed so they can sleep so we can wake them up and clothe them, feed them and rush them to school. Wash, rinse, repeat.
I’ve spent all of these years working overnight, working weekends and working holidays so I could give my children a better life than the one I had.
Now, I am slowly coming to the realization that less money and more time is what they need to have a childhood even a fraction as awesome as mine was. That and a Christian Conversion Van.