Waking up together would be lovely. Can a working Mom handle it? It’s all about perspective.
After spending 4 days at home with my 4-year-old (stayed home on Friday to care for my sick son, then there was the weekend, and then a replacement leave for Monday), it was time for me to go back to work. While we were preparing for bed last night, I began telling him about Tuesday.
Me: “Timmy, I’ll miss you so much tomorrow. Mommy will go to office already.”
Timmy: “No! Mommy stay home!”
Me: “Aww, baby, I’ll see you tomorrow night na.”
Timmy: “No! Mommy and Timmy wake up!”
That almost broke me. He meant he wanted to wake up together, just as we have been waking up together the past 4 days. Mommy and Timmy wake up together.
A colleague told me that the three most important parts when you (or your fellow parent) should be present during a kid’s day are: (1) when he wakes up, (2) when he comes home from school, and (3) when he goes to sleep.
Huh. I get 1 out of 3. I think I can do better, but with the choice I’ve made to work away from home, then I’ll take it.
The article Why I Stopped Apologizing For Being a Working Mother made me realize that I should stop apologizing (to myself, my son, and some people) for working. I think it will take awhile before I fully let go of Mommy guilt. The question there really is: is it ever really let go of? I wouldn’t be surprised if it isn’t. But what we do is make a choice and commit to it.
(On the side, I’m currently reading I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson. I can relate to busy Mom Kate Reddy, but I think I have a stronger desire than her to stay home. I’m about 40% through the book so let’s see if I can still relate to her later on!)
But do I want to wake up more often with my son? Of course I do. I love seeing him break into a smile when he opens his eyes. I love seeing him roll around the bed like a puppy dog. I love hearing him give a big shout while he stretches his little arms and legs, like he’s getting ready for a run, getting ready for the day.
I do feel guilty when we don’t “Mommy Timmy wake up!” together. But the guilt washes away later on, especially when the bigger perspective comes into play. All this working hard and working smart is not just to help provide for the family, but to also create a more fulfilled me. I feel good when I work. I’m helping other people. I’m using talents God gave me. As my son grows older, I’d love for him to understand it further too – how work doesn’t have to be labor, how work can also fulfil.
It all works out. There are days when I do see him wake up. That’s one of the perks of non-working holidays and weekends! So for now, I’ll snatch up all the moments I can for us to wake up together. Who knows? Perhaps a future work arrangement can allow me to wake up with him more. You never know what the universe has in store for you. 😉
For now, the best part of waking up (during a work day!) is seeing my little boy still asleep, a smile on his face as he navigates his way around dreamland. I may be at the office already when he opens his eyes to the sunlight, but I’m very happy that I’m there when we go to bed by starlight. I’ll take it. I’ll enjoy it. I cherish it.
anjAugust 19, 2014 at 5:32 pm (9 years ago)
At the end of the day, we make the most of our choices though it’s always easier said and done. While I live in an itty-bitty home (you’ve seen it!), I stopped craving for space and relish the fact that I can wake up with my son and spend some play time before going to work. And I have time to play with him and put him to bed after work. There are sacrifices to be made, of which we hope our children will learn from.
What will always matter in the end is they know we love them. I think Timmy knows that well from Mommy.
ToniAugust 20, 2014 at 10:14 am (9 years ago)
Thank you for sharing your insights, Angie. I always love hearing from you. <3
LissaAugust 20, 2014 at 11:33 pm (9 years ago)
Hi Toni, this is something I live with on a daily basis. I’ve learned to let go of mommy guilt a long time ago. I try to give as much as I can to my kids but mommies need to learn and grow also. I want to be a fulfilled mother AND career woman. It seems that you’ve finally found the career path you’re searching for, why let guilt prevent you from continuing? What’s important is that at the end of the day, your kid loves you. I always look forward to my kids running up to me when I come home from work. They know where I go and I always come home at the end of the day. Now the key is to find a balance between work and home life. That’s probably something I’d rather put my energy on than feeling guilty.
ToniAugust 31, 2014 at 7:37 pm (9 years ago)
You’ve always been so insightful when I get these feelings of unworthiness and guilt re: career momminess. Thanks so much Lissa! *hugs*
A Gracious LifeAugust 21, 2014 at 4:32 pm (9 years ago)
There are times when I think the mommy guilt never really goes away. I just know whatever chance we have to be the best mom to our child, we give it our best shot. Nowadays, I have that luxury of waking up next to my son, watching him rush from the school gates to my side and tucking him in at night. But with the 2 eldest kids, I never did have those chances. It didn’t stop me from loving them in ways that I thought best. ☺️
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ToniAugust 31, 2014 at 7:36 pm (9 years ago)
*Hugs* Thanks for the thoughts! So happy for you that you have that luxury!