When I was growing up, I always loved kids. My cousin and I used to fight for the attention of our many younger cousins. At family gatherings we were willing babysitters to exhausted parents who wanted a break, and I loved every minute of it. I always used to say that if working in day care paid better, that would have been my career.
Funny though, I've tried the babysitting thing. And it's not enough to love kids, I don't think. There is a special kind of person who is called to do that for a living, and my children have been blessed to be cared for by a couple of them. But it's not me. What I have discovered though, is that my ideal job does indeed involve being around kids all day, but that the pay is even much less than that of a daycare worker. It is, of course, a mother.
I was out with my kids earlier today, and I realized how much I really, truly enjoy spending time with them. I always have, but now I don't feel as though a million other things are dividing my attention. On previous maternity leaves I have had the luxury of a part-time sitter, where I could drop the kids off if I had errands to run, or just wanted a day to myself once a week. That, however, would now cost me upwards of $50 just to drop the kids off for one day, and I have a hard time justifying that. The result? Now Jeff does most of the errand running, and whenever I go in town I bring everyone - which means we do something fun together (I'm not one to waste a trip).
People always say they don't know how I do it, and I know they never quite believe me when I say that having more children makes a lot of things easier. I found it way more difficult to get around with three babies than I do with my five children, because the two older boys are older and much more capable of helping me round the little ones up. And I've had seven years of getting around to figure out the best (and most efficient) way to do it. And I'm learning not to put too much pressure on myself - if I make it anywhere at all, it's an accomplishment. I don't stress about being late when I'm on my own with the kiddies.
You would think that having more kids would make you busier, but for me it's the opposite. It is crystal clear the things I cannot do anymore, so I just don't do them. Instead, I get to spend my days enjoying this journey with the best companions a girl could ask for. And that is the best job in the world!