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make it work

July 20, 2012

can i admit something to you?  i am deathly afraid of being a full-time, working mom.  here’s why…

i’m working on a project at work.  one of those projects that makes your left butt cheek fall asleep because it’s so boring {but you learn a lot from it and see a reason for it, ahem}.  one of those projects that requires a trip to the storage closet across the hall approximately every 2.5 seconds.  as i trot over to the storage closet, i pass my boss’ office.  back and forth, back and forth.  all day long.  and, as i walked back and forth this afternoon, i spied my boss’ son on the couch in her office.  he was diddling away on the ipad.  he was scarfing down the mcdonald’s lunch she’d brought back to the office for him.  and then, he was staring mindlessly into the air.  as if he was so bored his left butt cheek had fallen asleep.

my boss seems like a great woman.  in the week and a half i’ve known her, i’ve really warmed up to her.  we talk about the problems her daughter’s soccer team is having.  and i shared my own experiences with the sport.  she’s introduced me around to the various faculty members that haunt the empty halls.  and we even had lunch together.  it’s not like we’ll be holding hands, skipping down the hallway, singing showtunes any time soon.  but i like and respect her.

i also respect the fact that she’s fighting a losing battle.  she excels at work while her son spends his summer counting the ceiling tiles in her office.  her family has food on the table and new clothes on their backs because she brings home a paycheck but she has mcdonald’s menu memorized.  they are, in my mind, the modern family.  and that’s what i’m scared of.

i’m scared my kids will know the home button on their ipod better than they’ll know their own home.  i’m scared my kids will count ceiling tiles so i can put a roof over their head.  i’m scared i will never know the heart-warming, tummy-filling joy of greeting my children at the bus stop with a plate of from-scratch chocolate chip cookies.

this is not to say that working moms are not good moms.  their children do not roam their neighborhoods, forming gangs.  and there are probably plenty of criminals rotting in federal prison who downed homemade cookie after homemade cookie during their elementary years.  but i don’t want to be a working mom.  and i feel like that’s wrong.

i feel like that’s selfish.  like that flies in the face of feminism.  like i’m supposed to be willing to do anything and everything within my professional powers to make a happy, healthy, financially stable home- including going to work every day.  but how does one do it?

the cookies.  the cleaning.  the carpool.  the calculus homework.  and the career.  i haven’t even painted my nails in the past week i’ve been so busy.  it’s a full-time job just being me.  forget a family.

if i have learned anything from the butt-numbing boring project i’ve been working on it’s to appreciate all the moms out there.  the ones that work.  the ones that work, even if they never earn a paycheck.  the ones that make it all work.

that, and to always know where the nearest mcdonald’s drive thru is located.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 20, 2012 8:19 pm

    Feminism was about women having the same choices, rights, and options as men, not about being peer-pressured into going with the “norm”…it has gotten so twisted over the years and it really bugs me! Having been home WITHOUT kids this summer and only one client on my work schedule, I have been amazed at all the WORK that I have been doing. Painting, finishing furniture, actually cleaning and making meals, and taking care of stuff that Sam used to do for me (mailing packages, setting up appointments, oil-changes, etc.). I’m a firm believer that something’s gotta give in some place, at some time.
    There is nothing wrong with being a working mom and there is nothing wrong with staying at home, but there is only so much time in the day and so little stamina that one can muster. Most working moms probably aren’t able to bake their kids cookies very often and get them to soccer practice, which is fine, because they can buy them cookies on the way home from the game. Likewise, most stay at home moms probably have to be a little more budget conscientious and spend some of their “free time” making everything even out. Either way, each situation has to have a giving point–be it cookies or extra money.
    Then there are the moms who work and bake their kids cookies and chauffeur their kids around to soccer constantly and I would guess that 99% of them are on the verge of a breakdown. I will end my rant with the familiar quote, “when mom’s not happy, no one is happy”.

    • ratzrow permalink
      July 21, 2012 12:03 am

      i WANT to be that 1% of moms that can do it all- career, cookies, carpool. because i’ve been given a lot of freedom/options from women who came before me. my mom gave me the freedom to be a stay at home mom, and made that difficult task look effortless. but plenty of other women gave me the freedom to pursue a career. how do you juggle it? what do you sacrifice? what’s the price for wanting to have it all?

      • July 21, 2012 8:05 pm

        And maybe you can be that mom! Everyone has a different tolerance for things. The best thing you can do is try something to know if it works for you. If it all becomes too much, then you drop the non-essentials until you find your stride. I’m not worried about you 😉

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