My Benefits Package
Being a stay-at-home mom means that I don’t get a lot of the things that come with a “real” job. I don’t get health insurance or a retirement package. I don’t get paid vacation or sick days. I don’t get employee evaluations and raises that can’t even cover inflation. No, I don’t get the traditional benefits. What I do get is infinitely better.
I lie down on the floor of the baby’s room with my head propped on the Boppy – best pillow ever? – and let the daughter crawl all around me. And over me. I let her play with my hair and touch my earrings. I let her take my glasses off. She sprawls across my belly and plays with the mole in my belly button. I grab her (current) favorite stuffed animal, the turtle we got in Florida last year when I was just barely pregnant, and make it dance for her. She laughs and claps her hands. She takes it from me and hugs it to her chest. I put it on top of her head, she pulls it off.
When she tires of playing with me, she crawls over to her toy basket and starts pulling things out and waving them around. She plays with her stacking rings, clapping them together and then stacking them completely out of order. Or she’ll find one of her books and starts flipping through the pages and babbling at the pictures.
At midnight, even though she is old enough to be sleeping through the night with no problems, she wakes up and fusses. The only – and trust me I do mean one-and-only – thing that will calm her down is when I scoop her up into my arms and rock her back to sleep. She will bury her head in my armpit – which can’t possibly smell very good – and suck happily on her binky. I lean my head against hers and listen to her breath. Once she has settled a little more, she curls up and turns her face towards me. I look at her face, so peaceful, and wonder what she is dreaming of. If I could sleep like that, I would.
I get to see every thing. I get to see her first tentative steps. I get to know that the only times she will actually try to walk is if she’s carrying something (weirdo). I get to listen to her talk nonsense words all day long. I get to hear her first attempts at real words – she says “tat” when she’s petting the cats and has said “uck” when talking about ducks.
So, no, I don’t get all the traditional benefits, but I do get snuggles. Lots and lots of snuggles and a baby who curls up on me and is completely content. Sometimes, I even get to be completely content for a few minutes.