Most days the children miss their Mama. She works at a demanding job she loves that is an hour away; most nights she doesn't get home until 6:30pm and their bedtime is 7pm. She loves her job and is really good at it. She stands out in a sea of coworkers who are waiting to retire as she works to help a population of people who don't much want to even help themselves. Her job allows me to stay home with my kids, something I've always wanted to do. I only resent it on REALLY tough days, when I'd rather have her with us than helping other people.
We talk about her a lot during the day. The kids call her several times a week to cry about an imagined slight, an actual cut, describe a new milestone, tell her they love her, or ask if she'll bring home ice cream. I facilitate as much contact as possible but do shoulder much of the child rearing.
My first attempt at teaching them about days of the week ended up with us having 'week days' and 'Mama Days', a.k.a. Friday night and the weekend. Anticipation of time with Mama is high, and in the most recent developmental spurt, during which our eldest was heartbroken at her Mama spending so much time away from her, we threw the bedtime schedule to the wind and instituted "Mama Friday Nights". Friday is library day and we check out a DVD of a current favorite (right now 101 Dalmatians and The Jungle Book are in heavy rotation) along with our books for the week and a book on CD for Mama to listen to during her commute. By dusk on Friday I have the kids bathed, jammied, fed and ready for loving. Mama gets home as early as she is able and retires into the family bed with both kids and a sweet treat to watch their movie, snuggle and nurse to their hearts content. It is the sweetest time for all of them, and I am not remembered until hugs are required right before they are sent to sleep in the nursery 90 minutes later.
Many weeks by Friday night I am haggard, hair sticking out, nerves frazzled, kids watching Little Bear on TV and me scrabbling to feed us all. Today, though, was one of those magic times where I was able to present my beloved with a vacuumed and swept home, aired out with frigid-but-fresh air and Nag Champa incense, clean kids, dogs fed, harmony abounding and good food cooling on the counter. I made a meal from Epicurious, Spicy Beef Cobbler. Of course, I used our free-range beef, put in black beans, used whole wheat flour and halved the cayenne so the kids would eat it. HUGE HIT!
So I get to feel like a proper stay-at-home success story. Lord knows H-Mama doesn't expect it, but I like to feel like a successful professional mom who has it all well in hand.