Thursday, December 3, 2009

Working Mother

For eight-and-a-half years I have had straddled two different worlds--with one foot in Working Mother Land and the other in Stay At Home Mother Land. I was fortunate to be able to take a full year off after the birth of both M and the twins (but I should have gotten two years off with them, doncha think?), and to work 3/5 time ever since. In this way I've gotten the best--lazy jammie days, trips to the park, holding my kid when he's hurt or sad; peeing by myself in the office bathroom, eating lunch with no one on my lap in my cubicle, wearing "grown-up" clothes-- and worst--days that feel like neverending nurse- or cook- or clean- or whine-a-thons, playdates, feeling overworked and underappreciated; rushing to get out the door in the morning, making up for eight hours of face time in 20 minutes, feeling overworked and underappreciated--of both worlds.

It's been fun to be able to take kids to music or gymnastics or the children's museum (oh those overscheduled children!); to go on hikes or make cookies or, yes, to put them in front of the TV and have some time to myself. The blogging, writing and crafting I've done in the last few years would have been difficult, if not impossible, on a full-time work schedule. And I've been able to relate to moms in both camps--yes both have their advantages, but both can really be torture at times as well (although I do have my opinion--which I won't share--about which is worse, or at least harder).

Now, in just a little over a week, I'll be cut out of one camp and into the other--Working Mother (should I get a subscription to the magazine now?). The one who pays someone else to raise her kids. Who is not on the inner circle at the playground (OK, I've never been on the inner circle anywhere). Already I feel the effects. Last week I ran into a woman whose child (I can't even remember if it was a boy or girl--see how much I pay attention) was in E and Z's music class last year. Because I know absolutely nothing about this woman except that her kid (boy? girl?) was in music, I asked, "You guys still doing music?" and when she answered enthusiastically in the affirmative and asked the same of me, I didn't want to say, "Ugh, god no, I'm so over that" (which is how I feel), but instead said, "No, the boys are in preschool now." But when she said, "At least you have some time to yourself now," I should have just smiled and nodded, but instead said, "Well, I work when they're at school, so not really," which I'm sure sounded like, "Uh, I work," to her, which isn't how I intended it to sound, but now that I'm a full-time WM and no longer a part-time SAHM, apparently I can only speak one language.


  1. I envy you the time you had with the kiddos when they were babies (no - not envy - I wouldn't take it from you - you know what I mean). I get to be sort of a SAHM in the summers now that I am teaching but the inflexibility and emotional nature of the rest of the year is rough. Hope the new world is a great one.

  2. In the eight years of becoming a mama, I've been a fulltime at-home parent, a parttime-job-for-money-out-of-the- home parent, and a fulltime working-out-of-the-home parent. All of these situations had advantages but NONE of them were perfect.

    I am so over the working (for money) parent vs. the at-home parent 'wars'/tensions/polarization/what ever one wants to call it. Parenting is humbling, no matter what. I am, however, envious of folks who can always pick their kids up at 3pm (& here I work at the school where two of my children attend...).

  3. No nothing's perfect, but 3/5 time was pretty nice--if I'd liked my job better and if there had been any money left after deductions and childcare, it might have been close to perfect!

  4. LSM--yes, I was really lucky to have that first year--it must be soooo hard to return to work after 6 or 12 weeks. A year maternity leave should really be an option for every mom.


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