I often find myself blogging about the sunshine and roses of parenting. The good moments, the happy stories, the recipes that tasted straight out of the cook book. However, this is really only telling half the story of my journey as a working Mom.
That’s not reality. My life as a working Mom is not all sunshine and roses….its …well… rain and weeds sometimes. So I thought I’d start a blog series where I share those weeds. Some confessions from the dark side of working motherhood.
Here goes nothing:
Confession #1: I feel REALLY guilty.
I am the first to admit it that I have a great working Mom life. My job is amazing to raise children in. I’m able to work my job, leave early to rush to the dance studio, head the baseball field, etc. I don’t work nearly the nights and weekend hours that my partners do.
For many years when my kids were really little – my personal life was very manageable. Now my working life and personal life have exploded and I am constantly on the go. I spend more time in my minivan than my house it seems. And this reality causes things to get missed and people to get caught in the cross fire.
One person always comes to my mind….poster child of my working Mom guilt: L.
Yep, if there was a face to my guilt…it looks like this:
L is the youngest of the three – following a (near) 7 year old sister and a 5 ½ year old brother.
L and I have had so much against us from the start. See, when I had J, my first baby, I had all the time in the world. She was rocked to sleep every night, she got a whole song book of lullabyes, we visited every children’s museum, had art on Sundays, we took walks just to take them. She got all my attention. All the time.
When H came around 15 months later, you would think he would have to share my time. Well, it just so happened that H was a difficult baby due to his colic and ear problems. My husband couldn’t deal with the screaming baby anymore than he had to and so we had an unspoken arrangement of "you (Todd) take care of J (the easy one) and I’ll (me) take care of H". So H still got all my attention, and although I had to split my time between my babies, he still got pretty much everything his sister did, with some minor exceptions.
And then came L. It was such classic foreshadowing of my life that L was taken from my immediately from the time he was born (he swallowed fluid coming out). I spent the first 3 hours of his life, begging, pleading, and yes telling the entire hospital I was a lawyer and would sue them if they didn’t let me see my baby. They finally took me in my hospital bed down to the NICU to see him.
Then of course, my anesthiologist screwed up my c-section and failed to give me morphine. Meaning that I was in massive pain following the surgery. So much pain that I hardly could hold L in the hospital. And my recovery was painful and long.
And as was my luck, L was an amazing baby. Slept through the night, hardly cried, easy peasy. This meant that my husband now had more difficulty with the dramatic 4 year old and active 3 year old in our house. This lead to another unspoken policy of “you (Me)deal with the two of them, and I’ll (Todd) have L”.
Reality stepped in with three kids. I was suddenly pulled in three directions. Where as J got a songbook of lullabyes, L never got rocked to sleep. L spent the majority of the first year of his life in car-seats sitting at dance studios, soccer fields. I hardly had time to lay on the floor and play with him because the house was always a mess, laundry was always piling up. And if I did lay down with him the two other vocal children always had something to pull me away.
I look at L now and I can’t believe he’s three. My last child and I really didn’t get a chance to enjoy the moments. They flew by – I’m never going to get to do this again and I’m missing so much. Reality keeps getting the way – life is moving too fast.
Yet somehow even though Mommy is always on the go – L became a notorious Mama’s Boy. Of my three, he is the one that refuses to be away from my side. With my other two if you bring in Nana or a shiny new toy, they don’t even know I’m in the room, but L? L cries every time I leave the house. In fact, he always has his shoes on because he always wants to be ready to follow me whenever I head for the door. And if that doesn’t break your heart…I don’t know what else will.
This leads to an incredible amount of guilt for me. The other day Todd told me L had a field trip to the zoo at school – I had no idea about the field trip. I cried all the way to work that day – I had never missed a field trip for J and H, and here I had to miss this one. With J being a competitive dancer, and H playing sports I am always on the run with them. I often spend my evenings sitting in a dance studio hallway.
There are nights I find myself rushing fast through his favorite lullabye – there are nights I forget to read his favorite Good Night Good Night Construction Site. At age three, he takes more showers than bubbly playful baths. Nights like those I lay there in bed and feel incredibly guilty and see the dark side of being a working Mom.
The other night the kids were outside playing with the neighbors and of course L was inside the house with me cleaning the kitchen. I looked at him. He looked so old to me. All of the sudden it was like a little boy was standing there, not a baby. My kitchen was a mess, I had a ton to do – but I didn’t care. I picked him up took him into his room and we sat on the floor and played cars. And we played and played until it was so dark the kids couldn’t see outside. It was a great night. A night I truly felt at peace.
I know those nights are few and far between – I can’t promise with my crazy life of running around that things aren’t going to be missed. But all I can do is focus on the time we do have together and make sure I make it the best.
Sometimes reality sucks.