I don’t regret finally coming home to be the primary caretaker for our children, who are four, two, and 10 months. But sometimes being with them does make me angry. At least once every day, without fail, all three scream at me simultaneously while I can’t attend to them momentarily because I need to handle something else, like muffins burning in the oven or changing a tomato-covered shirt. Or, like now, they’re hooting up their bedroom at 10 o’clock although I’ve been in there threatening them four times already. The very first time, I took away their nightlight after I found them in the bathroom, “going potty” and smearing liquid soap all over the mirror. It’s taken me no less than a half hour to write these 150 words.
In such moments, however, I never find myself wishing I were back at the office, wearing clean clothes and working for more than three minutes without interruption. Truly. And I’m more surprised than anyone to find this my new reality. I do wish the kids would shut up already, but not to be away from them, doing something more important. I did not expect that. Nor did I expect to feel, when complaining about their aggravating and never-ending antics, simultaneously that I adore them.
In my family we had an acronym for the feeling Ms. Pullman describes: TMB. It stood for "Too much baby".