Summer of mom.

I’ve been having the best time and I want to tell you about it.

But first, a disclaimer – there’s a lot of grief out there – sanctimommies and all that – but I’m being completely honest, no-holier-than-thou, and you can trust me because my kids haven’t really had lunch in a couple weeks and just today the seven-year-old watched 3.5 consecutive hours of unsupervised youtube clips, and that’s the 513586th time in 513586 days.

I’ve been having the best time just being a mom, constantly. I’m on maternity leave, and this has been the most fun by far. The last two I spent job searching, and the first is the first but it’s different. This time, I’m getting to spend the summer with my two older kids in what we’ve dubbed Kaytanat Ima (mom camp), since we aren’t sending to any official (and expensive, jeez c’mon) camps.

And every day I start out so grateful that I get to spend the day with my kids, and I’m  not stressed about work, and I’m not checking my phone for emails, and I’m not cursing out a perfectly nice work colleague. I’m not debating how to handle a ‘crisis’ and I’m not taking care of anyone I didn’t give birth to.

I’m not doing any of that while trying to hang with/feed/bathe/love my kids.

Also – I’ve been making dinners, like full food groups dinners.

I’m asking what they think about stuff, we’re discussing life, we’re laughing over stupid jokes, we’re making up songs, we’re cursing out the drivers in front of us together. We’re seeing new parts of the country we hadn’t seen before. We’re doing science. We’re doing good deeds and volunteering. We’re getting wet. We’re learning how to photoshop. We’re uncovering fairies. We’re learning new skills together. We’re making snow happen in July. We’re painting while wearing socks. We’re seeing our first movie in the theater together. We’re spending hours playing with 6-shekel flashlights. We’re enjoying coffee together. We’re poking a storm trooper in the eye.

I don’t want it to end, this may actually be the first time I’ve felt it like this. Whole picture, not just I don’t want to leave my little baby. But I think part of it is I work myself too hard so when it’s time to play, with no work in site, I can appreciate it to a degree I’ve never felt around my kids before. So the contrast has made these past months so much more wonderful.

Part of it, is of course, their ages.

And it’s killing me that it has to end eventually, at least in part. I’m not going to dwell too much on that right now because I’m still feeling rainbows and kittens from two paragraphs ago.

Tell me, how do I keep a taste of it for the long haul?

Making the most of maternity leave.

It’s three and a half weeks later and all of our ‘afterbirth’ guests have departed as of today. Needless to say we are looking forward to being able to settle into a semi-permanent routine where he goes to work every day till 3pm and I’m hanging with the little one playing Holly Homemaker. 

Paid maternity leave in Israel is 14 weeks, giving a little less than three months left at this point to make the most of a time when I recieve a paycheck yet stay home all day caring for a newborn. Which, yes, is insane. To a degree. Luckily I’ve managed to balance it all fairly well so far, and now that I’ll have a bit more freedom to move around, I’m looking forward to it all. 

How have I managed to survive so far? Lists. And more lists. I even draw little boxes next to each item that I can check off after I’ve completed it… (of course, being me, I don’t delicately check them off, rather vigrously cross them off, overly excited to have finished something these days). The days after I arrived home from the hospital, I was absolutely shocked at how my days were run minute to minute. I’d forget to pee for hours (not that I really wanted to, between you and me).

I could barely breath, and to cope, I started making lists in the same yellow notepad I had used to take notes in our birthing class and keep track of contractions (those pages are now artifacts of a former life). The pages got filled very quickly, but pretty soon, as things died down – the checklist items were dwindling, too. 

It’s kind of like my birthing class teacher said – between contractions, there will always be a break. Your body won’t betray you. And this little infant does the same… Between feedings, there is always a break. Between sleepless nights, there is always a break. And in that break is when I get to do the laundry, shower, and yes – read a few pages from a book or update Twitter. 

And now I’m actually at the end of the notepad and my list items have evolved from “shower” and “drink water” to “organize mp3 player” and “burn cds of baby photos for parents.” Not bad for less than a month, huh?