I am three months into my maternity leave, and the time has flown by so quickly. It's hard to believe that I will be going back to work at the end of August. The six months off is truly a blessing. With my boys, I had a shorter time. Being a teacher, as everyone says, really is a great job for a mom because of all the breaks, and of course, summer. However, that doesn't mean you're not a working mom, just like all the other moms who spend time away from their kids during the day.
I am weird in that it's hard for me to enjoy my time off as much as I should. Don't get me wrong, I certainly am loving it and I am very thankful, but in the same way I buy a new lip gloss (a few bajillion....) and don't use it or use it sparingly because it will run out, or that I know the book I am going to read is SO good that I don't want it to end so I will limit the chunks of time I read it or will read other books in between so it lasts longer, that is how I am feeling about this time off. Like if I sleep in long enough on the days I just have Scarlet, the time will be preserved. On the other hand, part of me is thinking that I will look back on the six months, which really IS a long time...half a year, or 24 weeks, or 2 seasons, or 180 days, and I will wonder, "What did I accomplish? What did I really do during all those days?" Maybe I should do more, maybe I should do less running around to this store or that place, maybe I should watch less daytime TV, but I am letting the boat float where it may go, and I am doing whatever I darn well please when the urge strikes. I guess time could be better spent, I could finally scrapbook to my heart's content, I could clean up the backyard, I could attack the mounds of laundry in the laundry room, I could have the mother of all garage sales, I could cut all the coupons from the newspaper inserts that are lying on my kitchen table, I could reorganize my pantry that is more like a jumbled closet. I guess I feel like my "real" life, my normal life is already so ordered, that I live by lists and routines and schedules and the alarm clock.
This period in my life is really the only time since the summer before I went to college that I have empty, open days with very little that I HAVE to do. I have to take care of my kids, I have to clean the bathroom (to not do so is just a health hazard with two little boys), I have to make sure we have something to eat, I have to pay bills. Other than those basic things that make us all easy to coexist with one another, I don't really have to do anything. It's a weird feeling. I think I'll be able to say for sure that next year at this time, or in ten years, that I certainly won't regret holding my baby girl as much as I want and getting her to smile. I won't regret snuggling in bed with Slade. I won't regret the morning talks with Spencer as he gets ready for school, and I drive him there with my bedhead and a sweatshirt thrown over my pj's. I won't regret the coloring and the reading and the multiple trips to the library to get just one more "Thomas" DVD or yet another nonfiction book on bugs and spiders and space.
Trying to live with no regrets is really hard, but what makes it easier is the simplicity of life when you let things just happen without trying too hard to make stuff perfect.