It didn’t really hit me last year when my youngest started university because he was attending school while living at home. It was still a normal day, he would leave in the morning but be home for dinner. If he was going to be late, he would send me a text message, but most days he was home for supper. This year is different though, last weekend we drove middle child and the teenage boy to another province for their return to university. There are no lunches to be made, no parent-teacher conferences, no afterschool sports, there is nothing. The eldest is home, but at twenty-four, a college graduate and working, I can’t really say I am a stay-at-home-mom (see Note) for her, so I am retired.
On the weekend, I met another mom, who also went from SAHM to retired. Now there are women out there who would argue that she should go out to work, the identity argument. How can you have an identity if you have no career and why would anyone want to go from SAHM to retired? Well, they do fine living on her husband’s income, so moneywise, there is no need for her to work. (Which brings another argument, why wouldn’t you want your own money? For some, like myself, my husband’s paycheque is the family’s paycheque). What does she do with her time then? Once or twice a week, she volunteers at a seniors home and you know what, it’s enough. She is happy with her life, no longer a stay-at-home-mom but retired.
Note: I haven’t been able to work for quite a few years now, but it has always been easier to say I am a stay-at-home-mom.
Yesterday I decided to make my own pita bread, it is pretty easy to do but very labour intensive. So I am covered in dough and flour when the phones rings, luckily hubby is home to answer it, god knows what would have happened if we had let the machine get it (all three of our children will then ring my cell, and if I don’t answer all hell breaks loose). I side-track though, hubby answers the phone and it is middle child, she needs to talk to mom NOW! Hubby brings me the extra phone, to which I yell “I just texted you not two minutes ago and said I was busy making bread!” She did not like my answer and did not want to deal with her father. I told him to say, that unless she is having some sort of medical emergency and is in hospital I will talk to her later. This was not the answer she wanted and promptly hung up on her father.
Soon after finishing the bread, I text our daughter, and tell her that she will have to learn to work with her father. Her response, a flat NO. I text her back “well I won’t always be here”. There is no response to my text, so I assume all is fine. The next day she phones me quite upset. How dare I say “well I won’t always be here”! I backtrack my thoughts, realizing she would have assumed the worse with that text, so I say things like “well I may be in the washroom”, or “I just might be busy”. Both Iame answers but I couldn’t think of anything else at the moment, because in reality I may not always be here, though I am not planning it anytime soon.
Which brings me to my point “Am I the glue?” Nine out of ten calls from our three children, the call is usually for me, unless one of them needs the name of a song, or something that requires the use of some tool, then they will ask for dad. As mom, I plan all activities, do the banking for the kids, schedule their doctor or dentist appointments, plan our vacations, solve their computer related problems, etc. Would the household fall apart if I wasn’t here, probably not, but everyone would have to relearn their rolls and right now, mine is the glue.
Our eldest, who lives an hour away, while attending college, was able to come home for dinner last week. The other two, who attend university in another province weren’t, so we did the next best thing – we used Skype. Though when our son found out we were having steak, he was not impressed since it is his favourite meal, middle child was not particularly happy with our meal either, her favourite being the roasted potatoes. Mom was happy, everyone was together.