Being a working parent is tough. Somehow, wherever I am, I am always in the wrong place. When I run for the train at night I’m thinking of the 36,759 emails I still need to send, even though I’m determined to make it home in time for dinner. When I’m at work and barreling down a deadline I’m thinking of the kids getting picked up while mine are headed to aftercare and trying to ignore the pit in my stomach.
So when I get home I am often determined to make sure the time I have with my kids counts. “I’m here now!” I want to proclaim. “Let’s have some Precious Time Together!” These “moments” are generally eaten up with battles over peas, cleaning up said peas, overflowing baths, and chasing around wet naked children as they streak through the house refusing to put on pajamas, let alone even think about winding down to go to sleep. Finally, with delicious clean-smelling hair (does anything smell better?) and a long-awaited sweet snuggle from the child who that very morning hissed “Stop!” as I tried to give him a kiss at school—in front of his cool kindergarten friends—we collapse in a heap. This is my Moment.
My go-to, hands down, to celebrate mama love even when you aren’t physically there is Eileen Spinelli’s When Mama Comes Home Tonight, which makes me cry—even on reading No. 6,753,865—about a mama who loves and reassures a child of all the things they’ll do together when she gets home from work (battling over peas is omitted but I still love the story). For the nights I really want a lovey, drippy, I-love-you-more-than-you-could-ever-know-and-I’m-sorry-I-have-to-work-but-we-really-need-to-buy-food-and-heat story, here are my closest approximations: