Friday, May 9, 2014

Home Days

Today I'm here to state the obvious: my home days are much different than my work days.

Three out of seven days of all 52 weeks of every year, I stay at home. Sometimes with just two little kids, more often with all three, and always with a healthy dose of chaos. On the days I go into the office, I know exactly what's going to happen. If it's Tuesday I'll start with paying bills and entering deposits after sorting the mail. If it's Wednesday I'll get the pay roll ready, and file the related documents. I know which week to work on the monthly newsletter and I drink extra coffee to prepare for the first week of the month. Sure, new tasks creep up, but I just plug them into my schedule. I know when to do what I do, and I feel accomplished when I'm able to get it done each day.

And then there are the home days.

{No joke: As soon as I typed that last sentence I heard the sound of spit up hitting the kitchen floor. Scout's honor.}

Home days are a different animal. You learn to expect the unexpected and rarely have a plan. Nora drinks her bottle and I drink my coffee. I fill milk cups, pull up pants, and pour cereal. For about 15 minutes, we are all content to watch TV as I hang out with the Internet and mentally prepare. Then suddenly, we're off! Playing, fighting, hugging, spilling, crying, laughing, arguing, snacking, rocking, hiding, finding, throwing, breaking, pouting, apologizing, loving, living - and all before lunch.

A few times throughout the day, my husband's phone goes off with a frantic text about how his children are insane. One has been crying at an ear-piercing level for two hours, one is throwing punches, and one is climbing my leg. One can't keep his attitude in check, one just poured out an entire bag of potato chips, and one is refusing sleep. One turned his nose up at the lunch I actually had time to cook, one is screaming instructions into the face of another one, and one is just screaming because she likes the way it sounds. And one mama is pooped.

When I'm at work, I know exactly what I need to do to get everything done. On my home days, it's every man for himself. I clean when I can, I discipline when I need to, and I always know how many hours until daddy gets home.

There's a flip side to those home days, though, that I would be remiss to forget. There's that moment in the early afternoon, when the Arkansas sun is pouring into my living room and washing a calm over everything. My middle son climbs into my lap with a request for snuggles. Or my oldest asks me to sit with him on the couch while he pulls out a book and starts reading without effort. Sometimes when it's quiet and I'm working on my computer, a fuzzy little head peers around the side of my screen. Her face breaks into a grin that highlights all three of her teeth when her blue eyes catch mine, and I stop. I shut the computer, set it down, and climb into the floor with her. I do it because I can.

That, my friends, is the kicker when it comes to home days. I often write about how I'm just treading water in this three-kid circus, but I wouldn't trade my schedule for anything. I chose this. I have a right to be frustrated sometimes, but I'm always thankful. Shout out to the stay-at-home mamas whose every days are home days and the mamas who miss their babies while pulling long workweeks to make ends meet. May your mornings be fueled by coffee, your evenings relaxed by cheap wine and good TV, and your self-confidence boosted by knowing exactly how much you impress me. Like, whoa.

I appreciate the time to spend with my children, the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful place I call home, and the knowledge that a quiet office waits for me. Happy Friday, gang!

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