Posted on | January 17, 2012 | 7 Comments
For me, the hardest part of being a working mom are the week days when J is coughing and sneezing and generally miserable. Because the “mom” part of me wants to be home to care for him. The “mom” part of me wants to stay in our jammies and make soup and hot chocolate and snuggle together watching movies all day.
But when you work outside the home, the “mom” part often has to come second to the other half of you… in my case, the “lawyer” half.
And I don’t like it.
I realize that my life, as it stands, requires me to be in the office and working. I realize that I am the sole breadwinner for our family and that I have a job that you just can’t take time off from. But when my son lays his head against my shoulder and says “I not feel good, Mommy. I stay with you today?” When that happens, every ounce of me wants to scoop him up and reassure him that yes, he can spend all day with Momma.
Lately, I’ve been trying to find a medium between where I want to be and where I need to be. Lately, I’ve been trying to split into halves the parts of my soul, staying home until lunchtime and then working a bit later in the evenings. It’s not perfect… it’s not me being home all day like I’d like… but I don’t live a perfect life.
I guess that’s what it all boils down to as any type of mom, though, right? No matter what you do during the day, perfection is absolutely, 100% unattainable. If I stayed home all day with J, I’d feel like I was letting down my clients, pissing off my boss, and stacking up work to do upon my return. If I went to work all day, I’d feel like I was letting down my son and also spending twice the money to pay for a babysitter and daycare.
One of my bosses once told me that I couldn’t be a successful attorney if I kept putting my son before my work and at the time they said that, I wanted to punch them in the face. Because in my heart, my son will always ALWAYS come first. But I think what they meant wasn’t that I needed to put work ahead of family. I think what they meant was that sometimes, making the decision to be at work when you’d rather be home is necessary… even if it’s not where you want to be. I think what they meant was that sometimes you have to believe that someone else will be able to care for your child for a few hours while you do what you need to do to pay your bills and satisfy your career. I still don’t like it. I still don’t enjoy relying on someone else when my son is sick. I still don’t want to put on my big girl pants and kiss his forehead on my way out the door while he begs me to stay and watch TV with him. But sometimes, being an adult is about doing what you don’t like… simply because it’s what has to be done.
Being a mom is all about middle ground… it’s all about finding a way to sigh, smile, and plow forward the best you can. Being a mom is about knowing you can’t make everyone happy all the time, especially not yourself and almost never your children. Being a mom is about finding the mid-point between what you want, what you need, what you have to do, and where you have to be…
And that’s true every day… even on a sick day.