After almost a decade of working hard and traveling for work, I am officially unemployed. With mixed feelings, a small sense of self-loathing for being a work force failure, and a much higher sense of excitement to spend some quality time with my daughter, I embrace the summer. Not since my maternity leave three years ago have I had such a wonderful opportunity to devote full days to my Emma. While working was (and still is) necessary to pay the bills, a part of me always felt the universal guilt associated with the daycare drop-offs. Emma’s pleading for me to stay home and play with her instead of heading to the office was like a quick stab in the gut. It was agony to leave her. People told me leaving her would get easier. They were wrong.
Circumstances have changed and we are ready to launch into sunny days with empty pockets and full cheesy grins. I am not looking to take the world by storm (quite the opposite actually). Here are a few fun, possibly lazy, even “C minus” sort of things that I would love to do with my girl sans hubby. My list will not impress you, but for those working parents who constantly feel like they are missing out on the day-to-day activities of their kids’ lives, you might relate on some level. So while my husband breaks his back at work, here goes nothing:
- Go to a movie and live to tell about it. Emma has never gone to the movies, and although I will want to rip my hair out before the opening previews are over because there is no way she will sit still for five minutes, I want to take her. Partly to see if I can do it myself and partly so she can have the experience. If I am feeling overly confident, perhaps we will make it a 3D adventure!
- Visit the Cape May Zoo. Again, nothing daring about this I know. I live in South Jersey, so it is only an hour or so drive. As long as my Tom-Tom directs me, I can’t get too lost. Emma will love it. We have only taken her to the Bridgeton Zoo, which is local and nice enough but full of birds, birds and more birds. Emma needs to see a giraffe in real life.
- Pamper our toes. I need a pedicure, desperately. Emma loves when I polish her toes. This one is a no brainer. I will take along at least ten lollipops just in case she gets antsy in the chair.
- Picnic in the park. I have actually taken Emma to the park but I must confess I don’t love doing so. The parks near us are always crowded with much older kids that love to play on the baby slides for some reason. Once we are there, no amount of coercing, bribery or begging will convince Emma to leave, so I must rip her off of the swings and make a mad dash for the car. Her screams can be heard two towns over. A relaxing and delicious picnic seems like to best way to combine Emma’s love of monkey bars and my love of eating. If Caillou’s parents can do it, so can I.
- Craft up a storm. We were going to make a birdhouse for my husband for Father’s Day. Turns out, that is really hard to do. There is a hammer involved and you have to follow directions. Well, that is two strikes right there. So I cheated and bought a birdhouse and Emma and I painted it. Paint specks – on my walls, floors, table, and chairs – were aplenty, along with frustrated critiques and cursing. At some point over the next few weeks I want to really make something with her. Something from scratch that she can hang on her wall or from a shelf and lovingly glance at every few decades to remind her of our summer together. If at all possible, I want to do this without yelling. Thanks to Pinterest, I have been pinning ideas for a month.
- Visit the aquarium. I really want to go. The end.
- Hit the beach. I am truly intimidated by this one. If I am physically present in any situation, my husband reverts to something I like to affectionately call “Captain Oblivion”. He tunes me and Emma out and he lets our battle of wills occur without so much as a glance. It is a skill he has completely mastered. But even the Captain pays attention at the beach to appease my worries. To make this trip alone, just me to jump the waves and chase down seagulls with Emma, will be the true test of my motherhood. I hope I can still make a sand castle and I can taste the Choco Taco already.
This is my less than brazen list of things to do alone with my daughter. To fully appreciate the list, you must know that I am scared of everything (worms, frogs, strangers, getting lost, Emma getting kidnapped, car crashes, Emma choking, etc.), have no common sense or sense of direction, and am perfectly content sitting on my couch. I don’t have that innate desire to get up and go, go, go. Up until this point, any family time has been slated for weekends and with my husband’s involvement. I am finally treasuring my attempt at this stay at home parenting thing and can’t wait to soak up girl time with my daughter. Hello summer! You don’t scare me.
This is an original post for Jersey Moms Blog.