I Want To Be Just A Mom

Nicole Johnson

I work and I have you. I wish you were my job. Instead, I pay other people and you become their job. I pack you up each night into zippered pockets: diapers, wipes, formula, in case they run out of my milk. You live a compartmentalized infancy. An extra set of clothes, my least favorite, occupies the main section of your diaper bag. When you have an accident or make a mess, you are wearing the mismatched and faded outfit of a brother who is eight years older. I call you my little ragamuffin as I spin you in the air above me, and pull you closer, smelling the remains of lunch and sleep as I breathe in.

At work, I am surrounded by the smells of burnt coffee and other people’s lunches, my nose a prisoner to their taste buds. My olfactory experience is rounded out by dry erase markers and the hand sanitizer of my cube mate. At home, I change your diaper and discover a red rash, another reminder of how little I know about your days, about you. You are mine for such a short time, and the hours we share are often occupied with errands and chores. I cry alone in my car when you ask me not to leave you, in your deep and congested little voice. The beginnings of yet another cold, one I feel responsible for because everyone knows daycare kids are exposed to everything, and if you could only stay home with me you would never get sick, right? His immune system is stronger for it, the doctor says. He’ll be fine they all say. But will I be?

I missed your first word, only to hear about it after the fact. Years ago, I would have been expected to stay home with you, but today I need to work to make our lives work. Today, I am mother, wife and earner. Today, just as back then, in the time when housewives had no choices, I am forced into a life I didn’t choose. I work to afford childcare and an education I can never seem to pay off. I spend many hours trying to figure out a way to be with you as often as possible. Can I sell something? Organs? Eggs? I am not surprised when I realize I am only half-joking.

You are sick and find comfort in the arms of someone else, because I have a meeting on revenue streams and content ideas. When I finally reach you, your body a hot crimson, can’t stand to be touched. You scream all the way home, and I attempt to soothe you while I navigate the evening traffic, and contemplate a dinner I have forgotten to plan. I am torn, divided, split in a million pieces because I am too much to too many, when all I want is to be your mother. Each month you grow, hitting milestones I miss. I become a second-hand documenter of events I’ve never seen, recording them in a baby book filled with spotty facts I am only half certain of. When you run out of things, notes are left for me on your cubby because I am that person too. Before I know it, I’ve missed the best stuff, but I have pictures to remind me and stories, though so many are not my own. I drop off and pick up until I no longer can.

I am losing all the details of our life and I can’t, I won’t. Click To Tweet

I am losing all the details of our life and I can’t, I won’t. I’m done, finished with the money and benefits. All the corporate perks have been traded in for this 365 day, 24/7 job with no vacation and no sick days.  I have given it all away for a few years that will slip by without notice. But, someday I will be glad I chose to let all the noise and complications fall away so I could be just your mother.


I Want to Be Just a Mom

This post was written by Nicole Johnson exclusively for BonBon Break Media, LLC.

Nicole Johnson is a fiction writer, blogger and stay at home mom raising four children, a dog, a cat and a husband. She fears birds, anything with the potential to cause fire, and Disney World. Her blog, Suburban Sh*t Show: Tales from the Tree-Lined Trenches, chronicles her life in the sh*t show, and she can be found on Facebook and Twitter. Nicole's work has been featured on Mamapedia, The Mid and MrsMuffinTop.