Yesterday after lunch I was feeling lazy and relishing the fact that I didn’t have a Little Gym class or swimming lesson to rush off to or a Starbucks-satellite-office work afternoon to prepare for and I turned the TV to an episode of Curious George and I stretched out on the couch with Riley at one end and Dylan at the other. Dylan decided that he’d be more comfortable curled in a warm ball behind my knees, exactly like a cat, and I bent my legs back around him and I scooted closed to Riley until I could wrap my arms around him, too. We sprawled there with bright winter sunlight pouring in the windows and I was feeling perfect and utter contentment before Riley shifted around and announced that he needed to stretch out. He got up and did so and as he rearranged himself I was convinced he’d move just out of reach, that the stretching was a bit of a ploy to casually get out of his mother’s maybe-smothering hold, then he settled back into the cushions, sliding so he fit against me like a comma.

“This is nice,” he sighed.

I don’t know how you weigh a moment that small against all the things I find difficult about being at home. It doesn’t make any sense, really. If I loaded the scales, on one side I’d have ISOLATION and BOREDOM and RAPIDLY DECLINING PERSONAL ATTRACTIVENESS and INABILITY TO CONTRIBUTE TO ANY SORT OF INTERESTING CONVERSATION and VAGUE SENSE THAT I AM DOING NOTHING WITH MY LIFE AND SHOULD PERHAPS GET A HAMSTER.


Still, I can tell you which way things are often tipped.



33 Responses to “Green grass”

  1. Kate on February 9th, 2011 10:12 pm

    Okay, WORD on the frumpy mom thing…now let me preface this by saying that I live in Houston, TX. Not that cold very often but we’ve had a couple weeks of cold weather and just tonight I was thinking – DEAR GOD, my husband has to be so sick of me in sweat pants…nappy hair, no makeup, rarely showered…that poor poor man. and I haven’t run or been to the gym in a month since my half marathon. There’s a saying that my mom told me once “stretch pants usually have no other choice”. This is a little random…but that’s what happens when you comment while watching American Idol.

    I love comma cuddlers.

  2. Sams on February 9th, 2011 10:25 pm

    We call the space behind the knees created by me laying on the couch on my side, “The Mommy Hole.” It was coined by my teenager when he was small enough to fit there and innocent enough not to laugh when he said it. Now my toddler sits in The Mommy Hole.

  3. clarabella on February 9th, 2011 10:44 pm

    I know exactly what you mean, and I think the peaceful moments, however fleeting they may sometimes be, always outweigh the frantic ones.

  4. Melissa on February 9th, 2011 11:31 pm

    It’s amazing how those little moments will make up for so many other things. There is a childrens book called Muddle Cuddle where everyone wants to cuddle on the dad’s lap. After we read that book my boys will all pile in our bed and call it a muddle cuddle. I love it!

  5. Rachel on February 9th, 2011 11:50 pm

    I can never express adequately how much I love your posts. Sometimes I try. I always end up clearing the comments box and starting over a bunch of times and never quite getting it and usually giving up. Trying again: You are an amazing person. Your posts about your life with your boys are wonderful and true and beautiful. As a long-time stay-at-home mom, I can absolutely identify with the physics-defying nature of the scale weighing the positives and negatives. Ten minutes of solid laughter at Rhett and Link on YouTube outweighs, say, thirteen years’ worth of deferral of my own higher-education-and-career agenda.

  6. Jill on February 10th, 2011 4:13 am


    But also, today we had a good 10-20 on the couch with little peeps happily snuggling their blankets while they took turns ‘readng’ to me. The whole time the 2 YO rubbed my back.

    Scales tip occasionally over here as well.

  7. Michelle on February 10th, 2011 6:22 am

    When our kids were little we called that spot the nest. My youngest who is 15 now
    and way bigger than me or my husband will
    still sometimes get in the nest to watch
    tv with us. Gotta love it. Your story brought back some really nice memories, thanks.

  8. Anna on February 10th, 2011 8:04 am

    Your words are like magic. I’m always so excited to see your posts pop up in my feed because your writing is just so… awesome.

    I stay home with my kids and there are so many frustrating, monotonous, ridiculous chunks of time and then there are these moments…

    Thank you for sharing your words.

  9. Donna on February 10th, 2011 8:21 am

    Me and my two kids used to curl up exactly like that and watch movies, all the way into their teens….
    I miss that.

  10. Sarah on February 10th, 2011 8:40 am

    I wholeheartedly second Rachel’s comments. Your posts are wonderful. I am pregnant with my second and so perhaps (perhaps? who am I kidding?) am more emotional at the moment than most, but I genuinely tear up when I read your posts. I am not a stay at home mom and for now I have one toddler on my hands, but your candid, honest and funny posts still just really hit home with me. I always get that sense of “YES, there is someone else out there who knows what I’m going through.” THANK YOU.

    PS – My daughter doesn’t do the nest but when she wants to sit on my lap she turns around about 2 feet in front of me, squats and then backs in. It is too precious to imagine and warms my heart every time. Scales tipping away.

  11. MRW on February 10th, 2011 9:45 am

    Since I work in an office with only three other people and none of them have kids I often think how inexplicable the child thing must seem to people who have never wanted to have kids. They can see that kids wake me up early or in the middle of the night, can often be annoying or irritating, scream at random times, are irrational, test my patience, and mean I hardly ever see movies in the theater or read long books. What’s impossible to see is that all of that can be negated by moments like the one you describe. On a strict pro and con balance sheet no one would ever have kids. In reality the intangibles outweigh the tangible insanity.

  12. Deb on February 10th, 2011 10:00 am

    Think how many days could be like this if you home school longer! Feel the lure of homeschooling…feeeeeeeeeel it! Come over to the weird side! I’ll send you one of my old ankle-length denim skirts and you’ll fit right in!

  13. Rachel on February 10th, 2011 10:30 am

    Love this. Your boys sound utterly delightful, well done you.

    Incidentally, you are one of three bloggers I follow that currently has her kids in swim lessons, and I’m noticing that all the kids have goggles. Is this a new thing? When we were kids no one had goggles, we just learned to open our eyes underwater and get out before we were totally blind.

  14. Emily on February 10th, 2011 10:44 am

    Your posts and my recently turning 31 are making me desperately want kids….a big change from just 2 years ago when I couldn’t imagine being a mother. Please, Please…write a post soon about a bad day! LOL.

  15. Ashley on February 10th, 2011 10:45 am

    I know exactly how you feel. I think it’s hard to articulate to people that have never stayed at home how bad the isolation can be. I remember when I quit my job and had all of these glorious ideas about what kind of mom I was going to be. Then reality hit. Dude, it’s hard. One of the things I missed most was having something to add to conversations that didn’t involve my kids. I remember a specific time that my husband was going on and on about work and who had seen and a meeting and blah..blah…blah and my only information was what the women on The View had talked about that day. You know it’s bad when you mention The View to stimulate the conversation. So, yeah…I totally get where you are coming from. I work part-time right now and it has struck a very good balance. HOwever, I am thinking of going back full-time in the fall. That scares me in the opposite way. I don’t know, as moms, if we are ever content with where we are. Damned if you do, damned it you don’t.

  16. Michelle on February 10th, 2011 11:31 am

    I dunno. I scratch my head over the whole “INABILITY TO CONTRIBUTE TO ANY SORT OF INTERESTING CONVERSATION” thing – it feels like something the at-homers are *supposed* to feel, but why? Think of all the hilarious and fascinating things your kids do and say all day long. Was office and work-related stuff more important to chat about? Or do we minimize the importance of kid-chat because it’s “women’s” stuff? Hm. Is a headline less conversation worthy because we saw it on The View rather than the WJS? Huh? WHY. I’m just pondering. I don’t like buying into this stuff and I don’t think we have to. Just sayin’.

  17. Sarah on February 10th, 2011 11:32 am

    Somehow…somehow all those positives always seem to at the very least balance, if not, OUTWEIGH the negatives.

    For me, the tough part will be next year. Next year all three of my kids will be in school.

    We’d long talked about me going bck to work once that happened. Something part time, I could be home by the bus….

    But after the hospital stay in December we realize that isn’t possible. Unless I could find the miracle job that gives me the flexibility to have random weeks off to care for my child(ren) when she (they) go in for CF treatments…or Wednesdays every couple of months so that I can take off to the doctors. Or just days OFF once the little one gets into school around soooo many germs and viruses.

    So then? When the house is empty.

    That is when I worry the scales will tip the other way.

    (Of course, my husband hopes that it puts me firmly into constant-house-cleaning-to-keep-busy mode…not likely, but he’s allowed to dream)

  18. Linda on February 10th, 2011 11:49 am

    Michelle, I was mostly exaggerating for humor’s sake, but come on. I’m not talking about a BUYING INTO A CONSPIRACY TO KEEP STAY HOME MOMS DOWWWN, I’m talking about valid feelings.

    And everyone! Stop watching the View right this minute. What the hell.

  19. agirlandaboy on February 10th, 2011 12:35 pm

    I still don’t know how you do it. I have a pretty sweet deal here, and sometimes I feel like I’m sinking into the mire and losing my damn mind and all my patience with it.

  20. gillian on February 10th, 2011 1:19 pm

    thank you for this post, and all the thoughtful comments. i’m at home part time with a 1-year-old and it’s hard. i do feel like i have a good deal as well, but it’s hard. being a mom is hard. the highs are phenomenal, the lows can be mind-numbing. i don’t have friends that are stay-at-home-moms…but i don’t want to make NEW friends….wahhhhhhhhhhh.

  21. Melissa on February 10th, 2011 2:29 pm

    It could be worse, it could be better….but it’s awfully complicated isn’t it? And I think that unless you’ve done it (for more than a DAY or even a WEEK, my sweet husband who thinks he understands) you really don’t GET it.

  22. kalisa on February 10th, 2011 2:55 pm

    That smirk! I can totally picture him as a teenager.

  23. Michelle on February 10th, 2011 6:53 pm

    I know! I know, the exaggeration, it just seems like it’s all over the webz right now. I’m home, I have nothing to contribute, who am IIIIIII? :) Le sigh. I tell you, I read more interesting books/essays/snippets being home than I ever managed to do working full time. Also – you ain’t got to lie – you know you love The View. Bwah.

  24. Lori on February 10th, 2011 8:19 pm


  25. Michelle on February 10th, 2011 9:28 pm

    Yeah. Totally.

  26. GingerB on February 11th, 2011 12:05 am

    Since my daughters think they own my breasts, they always want to get their hands and heads on them. The almost five year old buries her face in my cleavage and says “nursie nuzzle, nursie nuzzle! I love Mama’s nursies!” I could almost stay home for that, but not quite. I really love my day care.

  27. Tee on February 11th, 2011 8:46 am

    Trust me, Linda, I work full-time and the only non-kid related talk I have to contribute is to complain about the lameness of work. Or books and music, which I don’t have time to focus on because I am at work or watching Curious George with the dudes.

    Funny thing about that balance: my morning was MADE bcause the boys got dressed without tears because I bribed them by promising a rousing reading of ‘Pirate Potty’ after said-dressing. Who knew I’d ever be reading ‘yohoho I gotta make a pee pee’ before 7:30AM in a suit? Who indeed.

    Did you notice that you are contributing right now? To us? Because we all relate? It’s pretty important and you are you, no matter what. And you’re damned funny, mama.

  28. Super T on February 11th, 2011 10:27 am

    I’m a lot like one of the earlier posts — I write and delete a lot before I feel like I have something adequate to share. It’s tough to follow your writing and not feel like the ladies who just post “me too” because anything else seems so pointless.

    However, I wanted to thank you so much for your snippets of life. I often forward your blog to my sisters and friends when they make me laugh out loud. You are so much fun to read. You are able to put into words the delightful/impossible/hilarious moments that make the world go ’round.

  29. Josefina on February 11th, 2011 1:05 pm

    Beautiful, Linda.

    I think you are very interesting.

  30. rachel pomeroy on February 12th, 2011 9:37 pm

    Spot on. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your posts. I thought I was the only one who was considering buying a hamster. Mind you, this is all while the fish in the “pre-kids-hobby” saltwater tank in the basement are dying. Why? Because the basement is where the too-expensive-not-to-ride bicycles we used to ride (on trainers) in front of our pre-kid flatscreen tv are powerful toddler magnets, and I’m sick of cleaning bicycle chain grease off of his clothes and hands every time we take a field trip into the basement. Ugh.

    Still…the scales are tipping on this end every time I see the toddler smile, or the newborn falls asleep on my breast after nursing. So beautiful. All worth it.

  31. kendra! on February 13th, 2011 12:00 pm

    All we get are moments. Sometimes, maybe every February in a non-leap year, you get a full day of sweetness, but all we can hope for our moments, and I’ll take them, punctuated with a comma in the form of my 3 y.o. snugly wrapped round.

  32. Jennifer on February 13th, 2011 6:57 pm

    Not exactly on topic, but I just wanted to toss in that I love the photo of the boys at the pool and I’m really glad you’re persevering on the swimming lessons thing. We live near lots of water and your Oregon family vacation spot it on a river and yeah – they need to know how to swim! Maybe one of them will be the next Phelps? :)

  33. Amy on February 15th, 2011 2:40 pm

    Awwww! I love those moments (but I work so they’re usually at night after bathtime…besides they smell better then!)

Leave a Reply