I made the very difficult decision to quit my job and stay home with Ben and Ethan. The decision was validated rather quickly when my already horrendously expensive daycare provider went and upped their prices again to the point where I wouldn't be making enough for even a week's worth of groceries PER MONTH. It's not just the money, though. Ben is going to be 5 next year and starting Kindergarten and Ethan is rapidly on his way to full-fledged toddlerhood. I don't know when the hell this all happened. The last 4 years have been a blur and I just know that I'm going to blink and Ben will be picking colleges and Ethan will be asking to borrow the car and they'll both be surly and angst-ridden. Right now, Ethan still squeals with delight when he sees me and Benjamin has no problem with hugging me and holding my hand in public. I must horde these moments while I can so I can store them in my brain and pull them out and admire them when a bedroom door is being slammed in my face.
Another reason for quitting is that I'll finally be able to spend time with my husband or, as I have come to think of him, That Guy Who is Sometimes in My Bed When I Wake Up. I'm looking forward to figuring out who he is. It'll be good for the boys, too, to spend time with both of us. Holy crap, we could go camping! Clyde can teach the boys to fly fish! We could actually experience the things about Montana that drew us back here in the first place! My mind is just all a-dither with the possibilities!
However, I'm drawn back to Ni Hao Kai Lan. You see, I'm a terrible person. Or maybe just a lazy person and therefore a terrible mom. I'm beyond frightened that I don't have the imagination and energy that is required to keep two small children and myself entertained day in and day out. I'm afraid my kids will be glued to the TV while I sit on my ever-expanding ass as my eyes glaze over and the children turn into zombies. I can't let this happen! I can't be That Mom - you know her. You've seen her. She wears a mumu and Crocs for every occasion. She can be seen crossing the street - troupe of children in tow - as she heads to the gas station to pick up some more beer and Sunny D. Her voice is hoarse from screaming at her unruly children all day to "sit down", "shut up", "stop runnin' with scissors", "get mama a pop from the fridge", "hand mama the phone book so's we can order a pizza", etc. Her kids are filthy, half-clothed, rude, embarrassed, and lost.
I need a routine. I need to have a few places lined up for entertainment, sanity preservation, and education. They must be cheap, family-friendly, and not a tremendous hassle for a mom with two energetic and small children. I am asking you, Missoula, to help me with this. Where do we go? What do we do? How will I make this work?