I usually come late from work. Every time, my kids wait for me in front of the door, like two craving cubs, and scream of excitement. It took me a while to stop buying them gifts and proudly present them when entering the apartment, and it took even longer to teach them not to ask the question: “What did you buy for us, mum?”. As a mum who started working when the second child was 8 months old, I had great battles with conscience. And I comforted myself by buying toys. Very successfully. Nothing better than the situation when you enter the house, and two small rug-rats scream from satisfaction and happiness. And then, at one point, I realized that they were taking the bags from me, that they did not notice me and that, inevitably, they argued about toys. And I could not believe my eyes! I tried to change the tactics instantly, from its roots. I ordered my conscience to shut up, I stopped visiting toy stores after work and went straight home.
And then, weeks of crying and disappointment happened. Mum came home without the bags with sky-landers, lalalupsics, ninja turtles and all the other stuff, in big quantities. Bad mum. Evil mum. Angry, infuriated, they screamed and wept. A several-week agony eventually ended. It should have been endured. At first, they did not even want to say hi to me or to hug me, they did not even notice me when I was entering the apartment. I was ever so sad. And it was hard to me to go through all that. How come I was not allowed to go to the toy store and turn my 10-hour absence into a great toy which would make my kids happy for 2.5 minutes, while providing me with the feeling that I was, after all, the world’s best mum and that my kids were exceptionally happy and healthy, even though their mum is absent every day?
The fact that they did not even notice the toys soon after entering the apartment, that they tossed them and threw them, and that they did not pay attention to them, was completely unimportant to me. The feeling of being an absolute star when entering the house was just great. Until I realized what I had been doing to myself and to them… I remembered how, as a little girl, I waited for my mum to come back from work and took the bag she was carrying. And usually my mum, as many women at that time, carried groceries from the stores in the bag, for preparing the lunch. I arranged the groceries from the bag in the kitchen. And when there was a cookie in the bag, my happiness was never-ending. Precisely because the cookie was rarely in the bag, and not every day.
I still work a lot. As soon as they hear the door-bell, both rug-rats wait for me in the hallway. And when I enter, they hold gifts for me which they made during the day with their nanny. Drawn butterflies, play-dough elephants, paper houses. All that for mum and dad. Each holds its own in the hands. Luckily, they are still little and they do not ask whose is better. This will be a torture. Until then, I truly am the happiest mum in the world.