The term “working mother” makes me want to spew or punch someone in the face. I don’t know why – maybe because even stay at home mothers work their asses off. But mostly because it describes me and I wish it didn’t.
Since September I’ve been back to work but not yet on a full time basis. Starting in January, I’m back to my regular 40 hours a week in the office schedule. I’ve been struggling with two major dilemmas associated with this ‘working mom’ status.
The first is feeling guilty guilty guilty about not being with Ivy all the time.Oh-my-god would I die if, lets say her first word happens while mommy is sitting at her desk instead of with her. I also feel badly about coming home from work and being too tired to really enjoy Ivy, not to mention the fact that by the time I actually get home I have about an hour and a half before Ivy’s bedtime. She gets up about an hour before I leave, and most of that morning time I am running around trying to get ready for work. So, on days I spend all day in the office this means I only get about 2 1/2 – 3 hours of Ivy time if I’m lucky . I know these early years are going to fly by – the first 6 months are already over and I feel like I’ve blinked once since giving birth- and I feel like I’m missing them already!
The second is, I feel like I’m not as good at my job now that I’m back. Pepper in some sleep deprivation with the fact that my mind is already preoccupied with thoughts of solid food; crawling, teething, etc. and I’m just not as together as I used to be. My job is pretty demanding (I’m an executive assistant for a very busy person) so I really can’t walk around in a mommy fog all day and expect to hold it down. This has been getting better since I’ve been “back” for a few months now, but still I feel like some days I cannot take another day full of calls emails and closely scheduled appointments.
I had all these delusions before my maternity leave was over that my job would be flexible with me and my hours and working remotely, but that’s just not the reality. My job is the one that provides our health care, so there’s that to consider as well. Also, hi, we live in NYC it’s not exactly a low cost of living place so there’s no way we could ever afford our lifestyle if one of us didn’t work. Aaaaaaand I work for a pretty cool non-profit and it’s not like I’m slaving away for some corporate schmuck. But still, I wish there was a way I could ‘have it all’ – the satisfaction of doing my job and pulling in a steady paycheck while getting to spend sufficient time with Ivy so I don’t feel like I’m missing out. Maybe this will get easier over time, although I’m not counting on it. I suppose you do what you have to do in order to provide for the family.