I was entitled to a maternity leave of 75 days, and today I'm in the home stretch. I was looking back at those days and I realized that I spent them entirely by taking care of the kids and doing the endless chores at home. Perhaps, the only time I could consider "personal" was whenever I was lucky that both kids happened to nap at the same time and I could watch an episode or two of my downloaded TV series, The Good Wife (TGW), usually while expressing milk.
|One of those days spent watching TGW. |
I was enjoying my Seattle's Best Javanilla, which was a peace offering from the husband.
TGW is a legal and political drama, which centered on the life of Alicia Florrick; (played by Julianna Margulies) a lawyer, mother of two kids, and wife to Governor Peter Florrick. The latter is former Cook County's State Attorney, who has been jailed after a public sex and corruption scandal. Alicia was an opt-out mom - she left her career and stayed at home with her kids during their formative years. After 13 years, she went back to the grind to practice law.
There was one episode in TGW that struck me most. Alicia was in the midst of her routine as a lawyer; constantly in the middle of something, and at the beck and call of her clients. She wanted to breath and take a break for a minute, and she told her friend Kalinda, that when she was still a stay-at-home mom, there was a time in her daily routine that she looked forward to. Everyday, at 3PM, she would pour herself a glass of wine and enjoy the silence while waiting for the kids to come home from school. She said she was missing the silence at 3PM.
I know that in a few days, I will find myself saying the same thing - "I miss the silence at 3PM, when my kids are both asleep and I'm sneaking, almost in a juvenile way, to breath and take a break."
Being with my kids and taking care of them was a very happy time - but one that could get really exhausting. I wouldn't mind much how they wear me out physically; but being emotionally spent, that was a different matter. Since emotions could get a bit high, (and I tend to be a bad mother when I'm emotional), I found that a breather was almost always a necessity.
Just a small window in 24 hours - a time to recharge, to take a quick bath, turn on the TV, elevate my tired feet, drink a juice from the fridge, open a bag of chips, and pray that the kids stay asleep for the duration of at least one episode of TGW.
After my break, my emotions would be on a clean slate again. When the kids wake up, I'd have more patience to tolerate tantrums and fake cries. I'd have more energy to carry a baby sucked to my breast.
I will miss that "window", the silence at 3PM. But I will miss the kids more.
Last night, at bed, I was telling Zohan that I would resume office on Friday. He said, his voice breaking and his face pitiful, "Eh wag ka na pasok office. 'Se wala ako Nanay. Hanap kita, di ba?"
I wish I could tell my son how sorry I was that his Nanay was no Alicia Florrick. Bouncing back to the practice of law from a 13-year hiatus could happen only in TV series. (Well, at least to me.)
I wish I could tell him how sorry I was that I could not be an opt-out mom. But it was a personal choice. I felt that I would be a better mother if I would continue working than if I stay at home.
So I hugged him instead. A tight hug that I hope could dispel the sadness in his sweet and innocent heart. And I resolved to myself that I would devote all of my time and all of myself to Zohan and Khaleid the second I step out of the office -- even if it meant I will never have a window again to recharge every 3PM.