We live in a pretty homogenous community. Most of our kids’ friends come from 2 parent families. I’d guess that at least half of them have moms who stay home at least part time. I’ve explained to Laylee that some mommies go out to work too and that I’m lucky to get to stay home with them and do some work from the house.
She’s a thinker. She thinks and ponders everything and often her conclusions about life and The Way Things Work come out in her play. Sometimes her play mirrors reality and sometimes it more closely resembles reality as she wishes it would be. Other times I have no idea where her playtime dialogue and drama comes from, like when she plays a mom who is a raving lunatic, completely controlling of her children and yelling at them in a crazy German accent. I have never used a German accent so I see this type of play as pure imagination run amok.
Yesterday she and Magoo were playing house. Since I’ve been sick and pregnant, I have about 3 hours in the afternoon where I lay semi-conscious on the couch while they run around pulling every toy off every shelf and emptying every container within their reach. They always have a name for the destruction.
“We were playing space ship,” or “We were playing house,” or “We were playing a game of mass destruction and chaos because you are couch-bound and we resent you and know that you are too feeble to take legal or physical action against us.”
Well yesterday it was “house.” From my sick, pregnant haze I caught phrases here and there. Laylee, always the leader in these games was setting up the ground rules.
“Okay. I’m the mom and you’re the dad but I’m going to work because some mommies go out to work and you’ve gotta stay home and take care of the kids.”
“Okay,” smiled the melon-head.
“And you have to take real good care of them and feed them and stuff and I’ll be working over there in the kitchen where my work office is and you need to do all the work at home.”
“Okay. These animals are my babies and I love them.”
Laylee went to work at what was apparently a chalk pastel drawing factory while Magoo cuddled and cared for his 15 mangy stuffed babies. Every couple of minutes he would call her on the pretend phone to see how she was doing and then he’d ask if she wanted to talk to the babies. The babies would get on the phone and here would be much cooing, meowing and barking.
Eventually she came home from work with artwork to show off and they all played Yahtzee.
There were some things I found very appealing about Laylee’s work/home situation. For one, she got to go to work doing a job that very closely resembled play, something I’d be quite happy with. Secondly, she had a kind and docile husband who followed out her every order with precision and even cheerfulness. Thirdly, she was in contact with her “babies” almost constantly throughout the day but could hang up on them if the mood struck her.
In some ways it seemed like the ideal plan. But honestly I still think I’ve got it better. I have a freelance job that I do from home on my own time that’s as close to play as I’m likely to find. I’ve got a husband who works with me and helps me every day but also has opinions and a backbone and often thinks of ways to help me that I haven’t thought of myself. I’m in contact with my babies all day and I get the chance to find so many little playing and teaching moments when I’m not moaning on the couch clutching my stomach or selfishly watching TV episodes on Hulu... because of the sickness.
I still think being a mom is the best job in town. I’m just glad I’m lucky enough to have it as my near-exclusive employment.