When my 3 year old son Aarav started daycare last year, the routine was that I picked him up after work which was not before 5:30 p.m.. By the time we got home it was 6:00 p.m. and we would both be tired, hungry and cranky! With barely any time for the necessary routine of making dinner, eating dinner, changing into pjs, bedtime stories between yawns (mine, that is), there was never any time for fun stuff.
So I tried something different. I got out early one Friday during the summer this year. I picked him at 3:00 p.m. and we went to out to dinner/play place together – we had so much fun playing together for two hours, then we went and got ice cream. As we were coming back home, Aarav said that he had the best time ever! That night I was sad … sad that I couldn’t do this with him more often, or (ideally) daily! It is often said a working mom is supposed to find that work-home balance but the reading on my scale was just not a happy one. I thought about it a lot. I could not stop working, I couldn’t go part time and I couldn’t work different hours so I could pick him up early.
There was nothing else to do except use help. I found a helper (a teacher at the elementary school) to pick up Aarav from his school at 3:00 p.m. She brings him home, feeds him dinner and changes him into pjs. This arrangement cut my driving time after work in half, so I got home at 5:30 p.m. most days. I eat a snack before leaving work or on the way so that when I get home, we both are fed and rested. Then we play outside on the backyard swings if it’s a sunny day or play indoors with puzzles if it’s a rainy day. We both look forward to this time that we are spending together now. One day it was raining heavily and Aarav asked me would we do that evening. I said, “Why, we will not be deterred by all this rain, we will wear our rain boots and go jump in the puddles!” He laughed so hard at the thought of the two of us jumping in the puddles. That laughter echoed in my ears all day.
I just want to say a few things here. I am thankful that I have the resources to get the help I needed. Use family, friends, whatever it takes to get some quality time with your kids. It really is a blessing to spend each minute with my son.
Written by Tapasya Srivastava from Andover.