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December 28, 2004 / allyo

Working Mommy

I always thought I’d be a happily working mom.  Growing up, I knew more working moms than not, and it was the norm in my family.  My mom’s parents raised me, and when I started school, my grandfather retired to take care of me and my grandma full-time while my grandma commuted an hour each way to work every day.  The last months of my pregnancy I was less worried about taking care of a newborn than how to prevent myself from going stark raving mad from boredom while on maternity leave.  It just goes to show how unpredictable us humans can be.  I sobbed for days before going back to work, I sobbed every night the first week I was back, and really only pulled myself together for Mad Dog’s sake.  He was desperate to make me happy, and spent the weekend after my return to work cooking freezer meals, cleaning, and running errands so I could focus on being with the Boy.  By the end of the weekend he was exhausted and depressed, and I knew I had to accept my fate and move on.

But this morning, after spending so many days with my Boy due to the holidays and the weather, I cried a little on the way to work.  I mean, there are mornings when I’m thrilled to say goodbye and know that someone ELSE gets to deal with our child all day, but I think I’ll always mourn the loss of that wonderful state of existence – being a FT mom.  I took eight weeks of leave, more than the “standard” six, less than the twelve that’s becoming common among my circle of women.  I remember thinking those last couple of weeks how cruel it was that this was all the time I had to be with my child FT, that it would soon be over forever.  It just seems so unreal and unnatural.  And I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who would tell me to suck it up and stay home, make the sacrifice, but honestly, I make twice what MD does.  If it was a matter of sacrifice, we’d be more than willing, but we’d lose the house and then where would we be?  MD would be perfectly happy to stay home for a few years and finish his degree, but while my job pays my total monthly insurance premium, I’d have to pay the entire amount for anyone that’s added on.  So for me to have just the Boy on my insurance it would be about $250/month, which is insanity. 

And there are probably plenty of other people who would tell me I should have made better choices in my life, that MD should suck it up and work two jobs to support us, that we should get a smaller house, get rid of cable, internet, etc. to make it happen.  But really, in the end, I can’t help but think that if this country was really all about “family values,” then having one parent stay at home wouldn’t be so damn hard. 

Meanwhile, TB is receiving excellent, loving care, is adored by the toddlers our provider watches, and is generally a very happy baby.  We’re doing the best we can by him, and in the end, I think it’s pretty good.  To be a parent in this day and age is to be conflicted on a sometimes-daily basis, and I’ll just have to learn to live with that.

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