Kids in the Capital City

Kids in the Capital City: All my kid wants for Christmas is 'Mama'

Kids in the Capital City: All my kid wants for Christmas is 'Mama'

Santa Wonderland
You know who's going to have to read all those books out loud? Mama. Photo courtesy of Botanical Research Institute of Texas

The holidays are in full swing, and the festivity is abundant here in ATX. And while I might sound like a Hallmark card when I say this, there’s nothing quite like seeing your child delight in something for the first time.

Stay with me. The saccharine stops here.

While we’re attempting to let the season sweep over us, we’re dealing with a bit of a roadblock here at Casa Kinnison, and I feel the need to share — my child is obsessed with me, and I am struggling.

For the first six months of his life, I saw my son for a maximum of an hour a day. Long commutes, early bedtimes, you know the drill. So when I left my full-time position in favor of a work-from-home option, his mom time multiplied significantly. Suddenly, he’s spending every day with me, and he’s loving every minute of it. Maybe a little too much.

In theory, it’s sweet. He loves me. Who wouldn’t want that? Little snuggles and sweetness all day? Done. But we’ve got a Stage Five Clinger situation that’s verged out of the cute zone and into the express lane to exhaustion.

As I mentioned, I work from home. Renters in Austin’s competitive real estate market, our two-bedroom is at capacity with our family of three, so we’re not exactly overflowing with office space. And while working from the dining table (or, let’s be real, the couch) has its appeal, if I am anywhere in sight of my kid, it’s all over.

So I spend my working hours holed up in my bedroom, stocked with water and snacks so that I can hibernate until dinner time. I text my husband if I need anything. He cries “mama” and knocks on the door at least every 10 minutes. This is what it’s come to. We had to put a baby gate in our kitchen doorway so I can cook dinner free of toddler hands. He stands in the doorway and cries the entire time. It's a lot guys.

It used to be okay. I would just go in another room and he’d get over it. But lately, it’s as though he can smell my fear. “Mom is near. Must engage.” If one of his grandparents arrives to watch him so my husband and I can dash out for a date night before bedtime, screams ensue. Heaven forbid mom be near and not actively parenting. Not gonna bathe me? No can do, mom.

Ever trying to be the attentive dad, my husband gets frustrated. He attempts to give me a break at home to little avail. The cold hard truth is that the word most uttered at our house is “mama” and there’s no avoiding it.

“Enjoy it,” people tell me. “Soak it up! You’ll never get this time back,” they say. And of course, deep down, I know it’s true. And even despite the obsession, I’d like for our family to grow someday. But right now? The constant nagging of being needed is wiping me out. I’m exhausted.

This Christmas, we’ll travel to the Pacific Northwest to see family. I look forward to that time — long dinners and laughs, game nights and great quality time to be had by all. If I have to, I’ll play Trivial Pursuit with my child attached to my hip, damnit.

And of course, I’ll enjoy every minute of it.