It’s Friday at 11am. My office phone rings and I see daycare on the Caller ID. My first thought – Oh crap, I’m going to have to leave work. My second thought – Maybe they haven’t noticed her dripping nose and the green stuff oozing out of her eyes, maybe she just fell and bumped her head. Yeah, that would be better . . . But nope, she’s sick and I already knew that. I sent her anyway, because if I kept her home every time she had a cold, I probably wouldn’t have a job. So I pack up my personal things and the work I’ll do from home once everyone is asleep, call the doctor for an appointment, alert my bosses (do one last thing they ask) and call it a day.
This is one of those situations that makes me really pissed off to be a working mom. It’s not that I’m pissed that I’m working, or pissed that I’m not home with my kid, sick or not. It makes me pissed that I don’t feel like I have a choice in the matter. And if I did, would I take it? Probably not. But that’s not the point in my irrational, bitter brain. I like my job and I like the people I work with. I have several co-workers with young kids like mine. The advice, encouragement and support I get from this great group of women is priceless. But it sure does hurt when you spend a large portion of your PTO days on school holidays and kid sick days. Or when you realize you probably spend more waking hours with your co-workers than your spouse or kids.
Being a mom is a full time job. Look at how many people out there are doing it as their full time job. So how much of that comes off of our plates when we’re employed outside of the home? How much of that first full time job am I outsourcing so I can do a second full time job? And am I really doing a good job at either of my two full time jobs? And if I am, why don’t I feel accomplished at either?
A friend of mine just landed a dream job but with a long commute. She’ll be employing a full time nanny for her school aged children and for help around the house. I’ve had my mom here helping us for the last six months, and I still can’t seem to feel like I’ve got my head above water. Are we working moms taking on too much by trying to have it all? But when you can’t afford to live on one income or don’t want to, what choice do you have? Don’t even get me started on maternity leave.
I think for me, all these woes come down to expectations for myself. It might sound sad, but as a mom, I think I’ve had to
lower recalibrate my expectations on some things. My house cannot be clean all the time (or much of the time), the laundry will sit for 3 weeks on my dresser (at least it’s clean) and dinner might be pizza a few times a week during a crazy busy week. If I want to get some good sleep, I’m going to need to forgo any time to myself after the kids go to bed and just go to bed myself because I can be sure the baby will be up by 5am. And I think when I start to get really overwhelmed, I have to remind myself of these things and that the world will not end if all the dishes aren’t done before I go to bed or if we all eat French toast for dinner again tonight.
And then I have a morning like this morning. It was my first without my mom here and without any help. I’ve implemented a new morning routine over the last few weeks that has been wildly successful. And today, I got two kids out the door by 6:40am without tears from anyone! Not only were there no tears, it was such an enjoyable Monday morning. I know I take on a lot, but when I do accomplish it all I feel like Superwoman. Or at least Super Mom! Next up, I’d like to be more of a Super Wife.