When Thalia started preschool, I worked mostly from home. It allowed me to drop her off sometimes, pick her up sometimes, and through that process, connect with the other moms (and the occasional dad) of the class. We traded notes about our kids’ tantrum phases while they ran around on the front lawn together, or gossiped about which mom was hosting which extravagant 3 year-old birthday party.
While I was never the stay-at-home parent who could run the fundraiser and bake nutritious, gluten-free whole wheat organic brownies for the class and host the Halloween pumpkin decorating party, I was there. At least long enough to say, “good job on the brownies! Don’t ever ask me to make them.”
With Sage, it’s a different story. Because I am a full-time working parent.
I take her to early drop-off, and I’ve yet to pick her up. I don’t know the parents. I wouldn’t recognize her classmates on the street. At night she tells me about her day, describing children I have never heard before. I feel oddly, uncomfortably detached from her world in a way that I couldn’t have imagined.
It seems unfair somehow that she even has a world without me at all. She’s three.
I feel like That Mom, the one who works. You know, the one with the medium-length brown hair? And the black boots? Oh, you might know her if you saw her. Maybe around the neighborhood.
Tomorrow night is her class potluck. I’m picturing myself in a room of strangers who already have connections, awkwardly injecting myself into the conversation with shallow banter over cheese cubes. They plan after-school playdates and weekend lunches, and I hand out my sitter’s number, assuring them that she’d love to get Sage together with your daughter, any time at all!
I love what I do. I can’t imagine not working. But there are times the balance just seems off.