Of all the types of mother that I imagined I’d be – when, that is I did imagine being a mother, which was not all that often – I never imagined that I’d be an absentee mother.
I imagined that I’d work, of course – staying at home was nothing that I ever aspired to, which is why it was so surprising when I ended up doing exactly that, for a time – and I imagined that I’d travel and I imagined that I would, broadly speaking, have a life outside of motherhood. That was, in fact, a condition that I imposed on my future motherhood: I would be more than ‘just’ a mother. I would do things other than ‘mother.’ But even given the conditions and parameters that I placed upon my future motherhood, I always assumed that wherever I was as a mother, there I’d be. Putting my kids to bed and getting them dressed in the morning and hugging them and kissing them as often as I could. You know, mothering.
Which is what I did, mostly, for the first few years of my motherhood. I worked some, I stayed at home some, I worked from home some… but regardless of what I was doing, I was always there.
But now I’m not there.