(Originally posted on Tales From the Crib blog on October 30, 2007)
My 2-year old Asher's favorite question these days is, "Baba (aka me), you happy?" Ok, maybe this is more like his third favorite question after, "I silly, Baba?"and "Are we going to play CARS or WHAT?"
The first time Asher asked me if I was happy it really caught me off guard. Such a simple question and such a complicated answer. Asher, if you only knew....
Well, as for the big, important stuff....I couldn't be happier. I love my husband, I love my kids. I couldn't have chosen a better husband for me and father for them. I have great relationships with my mom and all of my siblings. I talk to each of them at least once a week. With a lot of work, I've even developed a good relationship with the in-laws. I am pretty happy with the person I have become, the beliefs I hold dear and most of the decisions I have made along the way.
Most days, I do enjoy staying at home with my kids. I like having control over their earliest influences and just simply having some fun with them everyday. Although I have yet to find the perfect outside work versus home balance, I feel fortunate to be able to control how much time away from home I am willing to work during their earliest years.
However, I have little voices in my head going on all day....voices that eat away little by little at this Happiness. Voices that ask me, "Am I doing this whole stay-at-home mom thing well enough? Is having me at home REALLY going to make a difference in the lives of my children...or am I just driving myself insane for no reason?" Or "Why exactly did I spend all of those years pursuing higher education in order to spend half my day scrapping kiddy crud off the kitchen floor?" Or, "Is this (insert playgroup/storytime/playdough/singing "Popcorn Popping" 1,000 consecutive times) supposed to be fun...or am I seriously missing something?" Occasionally, I find myself asking, "Is my life exciting enough?"
One day when the voices were winning, Ed called home to tell me what time he would be home and, oh, by the way, Brad Pitt was hanging out at his office and he had just returned from a meeting that he attended. WHAT??? I'm not usually star struck but BRAD PITT!?! What was he doing there? Is he even better looking in person? Was Angelina there too? All of these questions while I was on my hands and knees scrubbing pee from the carpet after another not-so-successful potty training session with Asher. It felt like a low point. Maybe if I hadn't quit my career I would be having lunch with Lisa Lang or Meg Whitman instead of this.
Hardly. That was my conclusion after shutting the door to my room and taking a few deep breaths. If I hadn't quit my career I would probably be working through my lunches, or dining alone at some cheap deli, in order to get home as fast as I could to my kids in order to squeeze a few minutes of quality time before we all self-destructed and drug ourselves to bed. I've seen it over and over, and while some moms can make it work, I know myself well enough to admit my life would be a juggling act where I would be dropping balls right and left.
I also reminded myself that Ed's job isn't really all that glamorous unless you dig selfish, overpaid professional athletes or you are fascinated by Watergate. People like Brad Pitt don't walk into his office everyday. In fact, he was there doing research for an upcoming role and my husband's contact with him was very brief. A much different reality than the image I had in my head a few minutes earlier…..Easy Ed shooting the breeze over vodka tonics and cigars Oceans 11 style while a few miles away in a Northern Virginia townhouse I chased around half-naked, snot-nosed boys in my own suburban housewife hell. Luckily, most days these voices do not win. And, at least according to my apparently very secure husband, Brad Pitt is even hotter in real life.