I step out of the shower, hopeful that everyone will stay asleep as I finish getting ready for my early meeting at school. But as soon as I breathe a sigh of relief, I hear my littlest guy, E wake up. He’s four and the pitter patter of his feet is one of the cutest sounds in the world. His crying is one of the saddest sounds. As soon as he realizes that I’m not still in my jammies and in my bed, he begins to cry. These are not crocodile tears, or manipulative cries, but real sadness overflowing.
“I wanted to snuggle you!” he says and my heart breaks.
“Put your jammies back on!” he begs and I want to cry.
I can’t snuggle. I’m already running late for my meeting and I can’t afford to do anything but rush. I can’t not snuggle. His sadness and pleas are honest, and being a mom is my most important job. I sit with him for a bit. We snuggle on his chair as a compromise. He settles until I remind him that I have to get ready for work. We snuggle some more, his eyes closed as his head rests on my shoulder. I give kisses and hugs. (“Hugs are very important, mommy.”) Then I say, “I really need to go. I have a meeting.”
“Snuggles are more important than meetings, mommy.”
He’s right. They are. But I need to go. So I give last hugs, rush rush rush rush rush, give more last hugs to everyone, hop in my car and drive away.
Mornings aren’t always emotionally tough, but when they are, I tend to spend my drive to work wondering if I should quit my job. Mornings that aren’t emotionally tough still make me wonder: How can I bring balance to this double life I lead, as mommy and teacher?
If you have the magic answer, I’d love to hear it.