My Austin Mamas group had a discussion going on in email about being a working mother. Someone wrote a post with bullet points that really got me thinking. It's hard to be a working mother. Not to ignore that working fathers would love to have more one-on-one time with their children, but I don't have a man's point of view, so this is all me, all my perspective.
I get up, nurse Ryder and get ready for work. I spend 10 hours away, including commute time, excluding any additional errands that suck up more time. Upon arriving back at home, I nurse Ryder, talk to Jaime unless he's off to band practice or a gig, play with Ryder, eat dinner (rarely do I make dinner on weekdays anymore), possibly maybe throw a load of laundry in or fold clean clothes & put them away, play with Ryder, get him ready for bed, nurse him, put him down and then I might have a half hour of free time. I'd kill to have time to decompress/de-stress after work but the only down time between the paying job and the Mama job is my commute.
On Saturday mornings I make time for my half marathon training group. After that it's all about Ryder, somewhat about Jaime and a little bit about our house (making meals, mostly). I don't have much time just for me other than my training. I can't remember the last book I read at home. I know I was still pregnant. This is a HUGE departure from norm for me. I spent the last oh probably 35 years before Ryder as a daily reader.
I don't feel like life is in balance or that it is the way it should be. I feel guilty. Guilty at the time spent away from my child. Guilty for the the many meals that I don't cook. Guilty that Jaime and I don't have much in the way of quality time for each other. I'd love to go on a date with him. Soon. And I feel guilty in wishing he had a job that paid well enough for me to stay home with our son. Add a big ole heaping spoonfull of me feeling guilty that I didn't stay in school, get a degree and have a job that pays me better than my current salary and you've got a steaming tureen of guilt. Guilt, guilt, guilt.
It's hard to be a working mother. I'm sure stay-at-home-moms have their fare share of troubles, too. Sorry, I don't share your perspective, either. So this post is a me me me guilt trip.
What makes it all worthwhile is that in between my dragging ass in the mornings trying to get ready for work and succumbing to exhaustion at night, two very special things will happen. Both are magical and beautiful. It is when, in the midst of my craziness, my baby will look at me and smile, an amazing whole face smile and that is my moment, my shining moment of balance...and it's all worth it. I'll lose myself in that smile, with all its promise and love and sweetness. And the second thing is that I'll then turn to look at Jaime, the man who gave me this marvelous creature. It's then that I'm certain I, too, am smiling with my whole face while I thank him for our son.