unnamedI call 5:45 a.m. the no-excuse hour. If everyone is asleep while I am gone exercising, then there is no impact on the house or the humans in the house while I strengthen up.

I exit the house just about the hour the Mesa raccoons and skunks begin to retreat to their hideaway for the daylight hours. Because of this, I put my phone on flashlight mode as I approach the car, waving it back and forth in hopes I am not taken down by a skunk for my no-excuse hour away.

On my return the other morning, I saw many dog-walkers at the park. They looked so awake, so game-face ready for the day! There was one woman in particular that caught my attention. Because instead of walking her dog, she was wearing him in a front carrier!

Now I’ve done many carriers and added arm-attachments to my body of the past decade or so. I have pushed a triple stroller, wearing another baby in a carrier and with a neighbors’ borrowed Dalmatian in tote. I have pushed a double-stroller, but added two more kids on the top canopy while two sit below in the legal seats. I have worn kids on my back, kids on my shoulders, kids on my hip and kids on plenty of front and back carrier contraptions too.

But after 11 years, for the first time, two days a week, I am not carrying anyone! For outgoing Italian hands, this is a HUGE adjustment.

Two days a week, I am finishing thoughts in my head, out-loud and on paper. This is almost frightening to me. How many thoughts can one woman have?!

Two days a week I am operating without charting someone’s nap time, active time, meal time etc. It’s disconcerting really. Who should I be accommodating?! Oh, that’s right!! Me!!!

Two days a week I am eating when I want, and there is no mess or anyone telling me, “I don’t like this!  I won’t eat this, not on a boat not with a goat!”(the 4-yr old of course).

I get more than 3 minutes to digest? The whole thing is beyond comprehensible.

On the contrary, two days a week, when I am driving on my own, no one is asking me questions like,

“Do pigs sleep standing up?”

“When I’m older, I want to be a zebra or a cat. I’m not sure which one. What do you think is best, mom?”

“I don’t get something. We are studying opposites, but if the opposite of in is out – what’s the opposite of a triangle?!”


But I hear nothing in the car. Just my choice of music or beautiful quiet. It’s mind-boggling really.

Ten hours a week, I don’t have tea parties to set up, or rocks to paint, or bike races to host. I don’t have picture books to shuffle through with a child cozied-up in my lap. I don’t have flowers in my hair because a little one picked them on our morning walk. This is an adjustment. A HUGE one.

So if you see me, walking in the park with a puppy in a pouch please sit me down for a one-on-one. Be gentle. It’s been eleven years. Carrying a lot was my gig.

I am contentedly folding into my two kid-free days a week. It’s quite lovely. My dear friend told me about a week before Kalia entered preschool, “I think you will enjoy this time more than you think.” She was so right!!

When these little ladies return from their educationally diverse days, it is often quite a shock!

Why are all their needs so constant?

What can I do to mellow out this scene?

Where’s that wall I was staring at earlier?

There seems to be more than 4 needing me right now!!

So here’s my list for those 10 hours a week. I know you may see the below as totally ambitious.

My Liberation List:

  1. Wear my hair down, because I have had time to wash it.
  2. Write thank you’s – a lot of them, 11 years worth really
  3. Don’t make lists
  4. Walk on the wet sand
  5. Pile the car high with give away items before the kids return from school
  6. Go and find moms in the grocery store or park, and encourage them, help them and bring them support. God knows how many people helped me when our little lady pack was itty-bitty.
  7. Write ♥
  8. Sit, on a lovely bench with empty hands but a heart that is open to what lies ahead
  9. Do NOT purchase puppy or a puppy pouch

2 thoughts on “Carry

  1. Anna,
    Your words are inspirational, funny, light, deep, thoughtful, and insightful. I don’t know if it is because I get the privilege of seeing the adorable Stump family around now and then, but I can so perfectly picture everything you. I can relate too! It brings me comfort to be reminded that it is crazy-hard to raise a family, but it is also an adventure full of incredible love and fun. Thanks for taking the time to write AND share!


  2. This is the third time I have read through all of your posts and like I said today when I saw you, I am SO moved by them, and this one in particular because I (finally!) know what it feels like to have a few hours to myself after 10 years of not. It feels like a rebirth. Perhaps even a metamorphosis – which makes me think of The Hungry Caterpillar and how many hundreds of times I have read that book to my kids thinking “when will this ever end?” And then it does. And it was a huge adjustment for me as well but it was the beautiful way you wrote about it that moved me even more. Thank you thank you thank you Anna!


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