My husband got home late the other night from a business trip in Utah. He left me, his two kids, and the bizarre 70 degree weather we were having to fly to below 0 degrees and mounds and mounds of snow. He doesn’t travel a ton with his job, but takes maybe 2-3 business trips a year. And since we have two small children, those can be pretty taxing on me, or anyone who has to take care of two kids alone. The first time he left for a trip I was pregnant with our first child. He was gone for 3 weeks, during our wedding anniversary, and I was incredibly emotional. Since then I’ve played the role of single mom a few times… I’ve done it with just our son when he was a toddler and shaved my hair off in an apparent stress coping mechanism, I’ve done it with post pardom depression after the birth of our daughter where I cried every hour of every day, I’ve done it when the kids and I went to stay with my Other Mother and ended up having to rush my daughter to the ER because she came down with a random high fever and kept passing out in the speeding car, I’ve done it when all of us had the stomach bug… It seems there has never been the ‘right’ time for him to go out of town. And I know he feels incredibly guilty for all of that. While he has been wined and dined in the likes of Cincinnati, Utah, or off the coast of North Carolina, taken to historic baseball games or football stadiums, I have been cleaning up vomit and tears. It’s not his fault, it’s not my fault, it’s just the way that it is. That is the life I chose, isn’t it? Being a stay at home mom isn’t glamorous. We don’t get business trips or raises or fringe benefits. Why? Because our boss is a non-English speaking, ill-mannered, manic depressive, demanding, immature child.
Trust me, I’ve had my moments where I just wish I could switch places with my husband, and I think he’s had those same moments himself. I know I’m lucky in the sense that I get to be with my kids all day and some parents desperately wish to do so. Life is short, time is precious and these children grow up so damn fast so I know I’m fortunate that I get to watch that happen on a daily basis. I don’t mean to say that my job is harder than those of working-out-of-the-home-parents but this is what I know and therefore it is all I know to complain about. The grass is always greener right? But sometimes I find myself wishing things could be different. I wish my job made me put on real pants and allowed me to have a conversation with proper grammar. A lot of moms may take that as a cue to just live in PJ’s and slippers all day, and believe me, when I’m at home doing my cooking, that’s what you’ll find me in, but when I have to leave the house (for anything) I end up being extremely overdressed. I don’t get out of the house unless it’s to run errands (and a lot of those errands are, in fact, work related because I personal chef so I almost live at the grocery store) but when I do, I’m usually dressed far to nice for the event. I’ve worn platform heels to the grocery store before. Yesterday I had on fuscia lipstick. The day before I was in a short dress and boots. Yes, I get stares and comments and inquiries. Yes, my mother and best friend make fun of me. But here’s the thing, since my boss is, in fact, a toddler girl, she kinda prefers me to dress like that. So in my office the dress code is Fun, Fancy and Flashy! I also decided a long time ago that this is just who I am. I don’t have fancy places to go or a job that requires me to look nice, but I do it on my own because it helps me feel like an adult. And when the flow of your day is determined by what Disney princess movie has the least amount of fruit snacks stuck to it, you take what you can get.
It’s funny, when you’re pregnant with your first child things are so
different. You have no idea what to expect but are so excited for
whatever it is. I think back on myself years ago, staying at home alone and pregnant while my husband was on his first big business trip of his career, and I was just so alone and sad and….bored. Now I can’t even pee without an audience…and an applause. No one can tell you what it’s really like to have kids,
because no one truly knows what it’s like until they have one. Then
once you do have children, you wonder why the hell no one told you how
hard it was gong to be!!! Childbirth is the same. That’s why women
keep having babies because there’s a part of the brain that gets foggy
and drunk and only remembers the cooing and gassy grins, and the cute
maternity clothes. It isn’t until their first contraction when they go,
‘Oh hell no!!!!’
My brain doesn’t forget things like that. This is why we almost stopped at one.
But we have two, and only two, beautiful children who keep me incredibly and insanely busy and when my husband was gone this time, things were a lot different at home. No more Tears, Fears, or Tears For Fears, I totally Ruled this business trip! I was organized, I remembered to feed the animals, the kids got bathed every night, my son’s lunch was packed every night before, breakfast never came out of shrink wrap, I made dinner and remembered to eat myself. I even had some good luck this time around. I found a heads up penny on the way into the bank and then scored some amazing deals on cosmetics and toiletries at the drug store, then got incredibly lucky at the grocery store (early in the morning on the day before the new sale cycle begins) when the produce man practically gave away 10 pints of blueberries, the cheese guy handed over 4 containers of mascarpone and some fresh mozzarella for next to nothing and I scored several gallons of milk for pennies. (I was a bit skeptical of the berries since it is, in fact, January, but these were oddly and magically delicious.)
So, since I now had a plethora of ingredients that needed a purpose, the kids and I had a lot of projects. We made Chocolate Pudding from scratch with some of the milk,
Ricotta Cheese with more of the milk that I later used to make an Italian Blueberry Cheesecake (recipe coming soon),
and Ricotta-Blueberry Muffins for Daddy**. So we were kept very, very busy. I still have 7 pints of berries, 3 containers of mascarpone and we’ll be good on milk for awhile (it freezes well) but the rest of it served a very big purpose and kept us all quite busy and well fed for a few days.
I have always loved baking with my kids. I think it helps them with fine motor skills, math, and it helps them understand food. Plus, both my kids pretend-bake for me all the time. It’s adorable. I’ve been fed apple soup and spinach sauce more times than I can count. And in the bath the other night, they were using their cups to bake and I heard my son say,
He also handed me a beer made of bubble bath.
So it was a good week. I actually got to enjoy my kids, instead of just Ruling them. With my husband gone, and the kids now a little older, the way I now look at business trips is that I don’t have to split my focus anymore. When he’s gone I’m no longer Wife and Mother, trying so hard to do a good job at both, but knowing deep down that I’m kinda failing a little bit at each, instead I get to be just Mom. I get to be the fun one and the serious one. I never get to be the fun one when my husband is around. After I tucked in the kids every night and got into mine, I didn’t have those thoughts running through my head about all the things I should have done differently, or didn’t do right, or felt guilty about, I just felt…good. I felt like if I could take care of the kids, the house, the pets, even fix a few things all by myself then I could do anything. I could Rule the World.
So, even though I complain about my job, I really do love it. It’s what I’m supposed to be doing. Besides, I couldn’t have a real boss. I’d be a horrible employee. I’m too bossy to be bossed. Being a stay at home mom, doesn’t have the same perks as paying jobs do. But we do have perks. We do get benefits. And I happen to have two, really adorable benefits.
(**I would post the recipe for the Ricotta-Blueberry Muffins but we all kinda improvised it. We made them healthy, used whole wheat flour, coconut flour and almond flour and they were good, but not post-able. It was more about the experience than the end result.)
*For my Egg-less Chocolate Pudding recipe, click here.
*For my updated Ricotta recipe, with new pictures, click here.
*For my Blueberry Muffin recipe click here.