Though I work from home most of the time, there are a few hours during the week that I have to be out of the house in meetings (and wearing real pants, apparently). Bailey, a great friend and babysitter, comes and hangs out with my boys one day a week while I work outside the home for a bit.
I love when Bailey watches our kids because she texts me the entire time she’s with them and tells me all the funny things they do and say, and all the cool things they’re doing. It might be a teensy bit damaging to my productivity, but during my work meetings I love that I also become aware of elaborate pillow forts, endless Candy Land showdowns, and the latest drama concerning the Octonauts.
“You should ask Dax to sound the Octo alert! It’s so funny!”
That’s what Bailey texted me one day when I was on my way home to relieve her. Oh man, was I excited to hear that! Or… see it? Both, I guess? I wasn’t really sure what I was in for when I walked in the door, but I was certain that it was either going to be funny, adorable, or both.
After I got home, hugged Bailey goodbye, and started working on dinner, I just casually started the conversation.
“Hey Dax,” I said, trying so hard to be neutral, even though every bone in my body was vibrating with excitement.
“You should… Uh, I don’t know. Sound the Octo alert? Maybe?” I tried to make it seem like my request was coming out of nowhere, and not because Bailey told me to. I wanted Dax to know I was genuinely interested in this whole thing.
He wasn’t buying it.
“NO! I will NOT sound the Octo alert!” He was indignant.
“Whoa, Bub, what’s wrong?”
“NOTHING,” he stamped his feet, “but you are NOT Bailey and so we are NOT playing Octonauts!”
“Oh, okay then.”
My cheeks burned a little and I went back to aimlessly sautéing the mostly-already-cooked stir-fry we were having for dinner.
On one hand, I’m really glad my kids love Bailey. It’s nice that on the days she comes over my kids are excited about it before she gets to our house and aren’t weeping or clinging to me when I need to leave. And when I come back, everyone’s well fed, well loved, and in good spirits.
On the other hand, it makes me a little self-conscious about the time I spend with the boys. Because I’m the mom, my time at home with them is usually spent either cleaning the house, pounding away on my laptop, or (if I’m totally honest) finding time to do things I enjoy like catching up on my friends’ blogs or perusing Pinterest or taking accidental naps on the living room floor (more on that in another blog, maybe).
Sometimes I kind of wish I could get to be their babysitter for a day, you know? Just one day where all I had to do was fun things with them. Instead of laundry we could have dance contests. Instead of Skype work conference calls we could create an elaborate sidewalk chalk mural in front of our house. Instead of dishes or vacuuming we could spend, like, the entire day at a park. Just running around. And falling down. The whole time.
They’d LOVE it.
Every day I let my son Dax have screen time when my younger son Case is napping, and Case’s naptime usually falls in the middle of Bailey’s visits with them. One day Bailey texted me during screen time a very special message.
“Dax is playing MarioKart for screen time and he chose to be Baby Rosalina. When I asked him why he picked her, he said, ‘Because she’s mama’s favorite.’”
I died a little, realizing that Dax doesn’t want me to be the babysitter. He wants Bailey to be the babysitter, and he wants me to be the Mama.
And I guess that’s just perfectly all right with me.