Sometimes it’s easy to forget that my Day-Fam isn’t my real fam. It’s easy to get invested when one of the boys is sick or when one gets injured, even if it’s just a stubbed toe from walking around the back patio with no shoes on, after you told them a thousand times to put shoes on! I’m with them more than I’m with anyone else. It’s hard to not get invested in their lives.
I often find myself showing random people photos of the boys because I just can’t explain how cute they are otherwise. Aren’t all moms that delusional? “You probably have more pictures of my children in your phone than I do,” their mom said to me once. No doubt in my mind, and those pictures are often sent to my own parents, along with theirs.
I get around moms in the real world and we instantly start to bond over our children. We talk about pre-schools and potty training, what are the few foods our kids will eat and whether or not they still nap. But I realize quickly into the conversation that no matter how much I know about Gymboree or the newest children’s books, at the end of the day, I hand the children off to their mother and go home to my apartment that isn’t covered in sticky, unidentified goo or spilled milk.
The Bear Bros are neither my boys physically or legally, and the money we spend on our fieldtrips doesn’t come from my own pocket. It’s easy to forget that my life is mostly fairytale. I’m with the boys alone most of the day, and we come and go as we please. I don’t worry about not being able to afford to take them to the zoo that day because I know I have a Zoo Miami annual pass, courtesy of the people who sign my paychecks. I am completely immersed in a family and I know what it’s like to have a family but somehow this thing called “a family” is still so foreign to me. Families have existed for thousands of years, I’ve been a part of one for two, and I still don’t understand how they work.
Every day when I leave work, I feel like I’m going to fall over and collapse from exhaustion. I want to go home and take a Purel bath and crawl under the covers for four days. Then I think about the women who have 3-4 kids who also work full-time and come home to wrangle their kids. “You just make it work,” I hear over and over. I guess I could be a Day-Mom forever and never know the true meaning until I’m waddling around the house with a child or two of my own. It’s hard not to think about your future family. For starters, I’m around families all day and most obviously, I’m a woman. It’s in our ovaries, I mean DNA.
I walk around the City of Coral Gables, often times with one Bear, but sometimes with two, and I imagine the families that live in the houses along the long, winding roads. The contemporary house on Escobar, the Colonial house on Toledo. Who drives which car in the driveway and how as a family, they spend their weekends. Like a stalker, I keep track of my favorite houses on our walks and look through the photos on Zillow later. I think about the memories that are created in the rooms in those photos and the people that walk the halls. Having a family of my own might overwhelm me, but I know it’s what I want.
Being a nanny, there is no job security, and for that I’m grateful. I might be complacent in my job right now, but knowing that this job has an unknown expiration date is forcing me to start thinking about my future, which can be hard, because I’m just so lazy. I know that in order to not jump from a Day-Fam to my own fam, I need to spend time now to figure out that in-between. The in-between where I figure out what kind of mom I want to be and how to have a career and a family.
Over the years I’ve wanted to be a career-mom, a stay-at-home mom, a stay-at-home-not mom, a stay-at-home mom, and now I’m going back to wanting to be a career mom. Or at least a working mom. Maybe I’ll work part-time or freelance, whatever, but I know I’ll be the kind of mom who has something that is her own. I have that now. When Little Bear naps and Big Bear is at school and all the laundry is done, the scattered toys collected and put away and the dishwasher loaded and unloaded, I shut down being a Day-Mom and just try and be Rachel. Rachel is a millennial who keeps the Miami-Dade Public Library System running with late fees and has a creepy and probably unhealthy obsession with Forensic Files and any show on Investigation Discovery, really. I jot down things I want to write during this time, but I hardly ever sit down and do it. Usually, I’m just too tired, and if I can’t stay awake while reading my book I’ll often put my head down on the couch and close my eyes, sometimes even taking a nice little cat nap.
As much as I love playing house with my two Bears, my pretend house in Coral Gables and coffee dates at Merrick Park, a large part of me craves the solitude of my quiet apartment, where I have enough quiet time to compose a blog post or two. Being able to use the bathroom in peace without having two sets of tiny hands knocking on the door asking me if I’m done yet. Going to sleep when I want and waking up to an alarm clock, not a baby crying through a monitor. It’s truly heaven. I’m almost 28-years-old and the thought of having my own family is still slightly terrifying. I know that I want one, eventually, but I still feel that children are years’ away. All the moms I talk to, they always say that they were never really ready, but once it happens that everything just falls into place. Maybe I need to take that advice and worry about it when the time comes.
I do know that although I probably don’t want to live in Coral Gables with my future family (I’m truly a Grovite at heart) I know that the Gables lifestyle is what I want and that I need to stay on that frequency. I also know that I want my real fam to be a lot like my Day-Fam. I want to be a strong, secure woman and I want my husband to spend his free-time with his wife and children. I want a marriage that is a partnership and I want my parents and my husband’s parents to be in our children’s lives as much as the grandparent’s in the Bear House. I want to have a family that is kind and who doesn’t judge but who doesn’t put up with crap and that is strong-headed. I guess more than anything, I want to be ready to have a family and until the universe brings that readiness to me, I want to keep letting it know what I want. I know eventually it will all find its way to me, when I’m ready.