For the most part, I really like being a working mom. I’m proud to be a working mom. I enjoy telling people that I’m a working mom. There are, of course, days that kick my butt and make me feel like I’m doing a half-assed job with everything (parenting, housekeeping, work…). But, generally, I feel pretty awesome.
That being said, there are things about it that are just…hard. These things have nothing to do with your ability as a parent. They don’t happen BECAUSE you’re a good/bad parent and they won’t (necessarily) effect how great you are at being a mom. You can be the best parent ever, but these things are still going to pop up. Childcare issues, separation anxiety, exhaustion, unforeseen extra hours at work…they’re all going to get you.
The issue that has been bugging me since last August is my lack of face time with Amelia. We get up at 7a so Amelia can get to school for 8a. I pick her up at 2:30 and we’re usually home by 2:45. Then we have about 30 minutes together before I have to drop both kids at our neighbor’s house and go to work (4p-midnight). In total, I have about 1 hour with Amelia per day and, in general, at least one of us is scurrying about trying to get dressed and ready for school/work. In the last seven months, I’ve come to accept this fact. I don’t like it, but I accept it. I’ve found the good in the situation- I have a lot of individual time with Zaven (similar to the time I had with Amelia before Z was born), I get to drop Amelia off at school in the morning AND pick her up in the afternoon, I don’t have to be part of the bed-time drama Jason has the opportunity to have his own time with the kids. We’ve also learned to appreciate the QUALITY of our time together, even though the quantity is lousy. We snuggle, we laugh, we talk….it’s all good…I just wish there was more of it.
I’ve come to terms with this scenario, but every so often I wonder about Amelia. Am I selfishly chugging along thinking that we’re all okay and bullying Amelia into agreeing? Am I so hopped up on my internal pep rally that I’m ignoring my 5 year old’s loneliness? Every couple weeks, Amelia will make a comment like “I wish you didn’t have to go to work. I wish you could stay home and play with me”. It’s never overly dramatic, and it passes. It’s almost like her saying “I wish I had a pet unicorn” (sure, don’t we all). But should I worry?
This morning, on the way to school, she let me off the hook. We heard a Comcast ad on the radio and Amelia misunderstood the “Ditch the dish and get cable” sentiment and said “That’s what you do Mommy, Satellites! People should use satellites because that’s what you do at work.” After a few quiet moments she said “Mommy, I’m really glad that you work for CNN.” Um, wow, thanks. I asked why and she said “It’s good that you work at CNN because they give the news and you help customers with satellites. It’s a very important job. I’m glad that it’s your job.” I was a dumbfounded, but thanked her. Then I asked if she ever wished that I didn’t have a job and she said “No…because then you wouldn’t work there and see your co-workers.” (It should be said that she answered me like I was a complete idiot for asking.)
So, there you have it. My daughter doesn’t hate me for having a job. She thinks I’m very important. I’d venture to say that she finds me awesome.