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March 4, 2009 / allyo

Working mom blahs

Look at me, stealing time away from work to post on my blog…shhhh…

Last night Jamie was being especially whiny and subjecting me to big, fat, crocodile tears and sobs every time I failed to read his mind and give him exactly! What! He! Wanted! Like, I CUT his quesadilla! The same thing I’ve done every single five thousand times before when I’ve made them for dinner. But last night? Sobbing. The final straw was when he just couldn’t get over the injustice of the fact that HE had a pizza quesadilla and I had actual pizza – but the fact was we didn’t have any plain cheese pizza and I thought he’d be ok with the disparity but no, not my guy. He is way to concerned with fairness, both at the macro level (if grownups are all owed to use bad words, then kids should be too) and at the mirco level (disparity in dinner entrees). (He gets this from both MD and me.)

Finally I pulled him onto my lap and cuddled and apologized and then told him I had a great idea and I’d be right back. I went and grabbed a couple of science-y library books that aren’t good for bedtime reading and that I’d been stressing about squeezing some time in that night to read before bedtime. It worked like a charm. We discussed bugs and spiders over dinner (whoo!) and when I finished before him like always, I read him a book about electricity.

After he went to bed I thought all night about how that idea of mine wasn’t THAT brilliant. MD and I both love to read at the table. Some of my happiest memories as a child were of sitting on the front porch in the summertime, reading stack after stack of library books and staining them with peanut butter sandwiches and splashes of lemonade. The perfect Sunday for both of us? A leisurely breakfast going through the paper section by section. These days we take turns.

But the thing is, I SUCK at this working mother gig. No really, I do. I’m not saying I suck as a mother but the balancing act? I’ve never gotten the hang of it. Back when I was crying and moaning and distraught after leaving my baby and returning to the workforce so many people with years of experience told me that it was hard but I’d get into a rhythm and it would be fine. I’m still waiting for that rhythm to hit me. No matter how much I miss Jamie all day and how happy I am to finally be home with him, I have about a half hour of effort and patience left in me before exhaustion and impatience set in. I dream about going home and being alone.  JUST ONCE. Just one eveing to eat in front of the tv and fall asleep on the couch. I just don’t have the energy and the focus to switch back and forth between home and work on a dime and sadly, that’s what this gig requires.

So I am very, very slow to think of things that should be obviouse. Like livening up the dinner table with books for both of us. I know that my ineptness is exacerbated by MD’s schedule and doing the evening thing alone but when he is home? I hide in the kitchen while he and Jamie play. I remember growing up my grandma worked about an hour away. She worked the 7-3 shift and when she came home at 4:00 every night NO ONE was allowed to talk to her until she napped on the couch for one hour. At 5 pm sharp she’d pop up, refreshed, and our evening would progress happily. That’s what I need. A battery recharge. The 20 minute drive to daycare alone in the car, just me and NPR, isn’t quite enough.

There’s really no point to this post – I’m not actually whining even though it may sound like it. I think it’s ok to just acknowledge that while many people are able to balance it all, I don’t do such a great job. It’s just a fact!

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3 Comments

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  1. dawn / Mar 4 2009 11:46 am

    I am convinced that there’s no such thing as balance. Also? You are single mommy-ing it, which is like four hundred thousand times harder. And single mommy-ing while also maintaining a marriage, which is like eight hundred thousand times harder. Go easy on yourself!!

  2. Kelly / Mar 4 2009 4:06 pm

    What Dawn said!

    And I have a “fairness and equity” obsessed kiddo, too. Oh, how he feels the INJUSTICE!

    Hang in there. You are doing so much. More than you should have to do.

  3. FriendD / Mar 6 2009 2:29 pm

    I would say that all moms go through periods of frustration where they get caught up in the difficulty of the moment and can’t see the big picture because they are tired and being bombarded with sensory information and hungry and tired and did I say tired? Not just weary, or sleepy, but tired. Motherhood is a 24 hour a day job even if your partner is around a lot and when they can’t be, well, its even harder, but for some families, like mine, there is no choice. I think moms get caught up in the big picture, and it is hard to see those obvious solutions for daily toils, even if they are right in front of our faces.

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