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.