What is my job? (Or should I ask: "What is NOT my job?".) I mean, as a mommy. As a woman who is a mom. (And not a transgendered man/woman mom I suppose I mean? Hah.)What am I supposed to be doing or not doing to teach him (Besides the obvious like smoking crack, beating up people for the heck of it and posting the videos to youtube, or stripping for money)? I figure I'm working outside the home to keep myself smart, engaged, learning, happy...to make money for our family. To show my son the value in work that you have studied and devoted yourself to. To reap the personal rewards I get from teaching, that in turn lead me to be less-stressed and happier. And IN TURN a better mommy.
Actually I feel confused. Stressed. And often sad. Then glad. Then sad again. I know I am lucky. I have a lot to be thankful for. We have a good life together. We can afford things, modest things, but things I know many cannot. Like a nice place to live. Like new clothes. Like lattes. Like life insurance. Like the repairs on our car when I run it into posts :( I am constantly telling myself to suck it up! Go to work! Many women have done it before with less opportunity and good fortune. Don't complain! And yet...I can't answer my question of what my job is supposed to be right now. Feed him, check. Change him, check. Teach him the value of money earned/saved, the ups and downs of life, to never expect rewards without the risks...uh???? Ok, I'll get right on that, boss.
I WANT to work. But not all the time. I don't like that my son spends more days with strangers than he does with us. (Fabulous, gentle and loving strangers, but still) I feel like I am missing out on some really awesome things. And that there aren't all that many of these days when you think about how fast they grow up! But my career is stuck in a place I can't negotiate right now, at this time. And in the interim?
Sadness: This morning I drop him off at daycare (where he is happy and thriving! Yay! Points to me for choosing well!) and he is pushing away from me and yelling "Mon-Mon-Mon". No, its not a version of Momma. Its Monica, I figure out-his teacher. I put him down and he runs to her, nary a glance back at me, and gives her a huge hug and sloppy kiss. So cute. And crushing. I want to yell "NOOOO! Don't love her! Love me. Only me...for just a little while longer? Please? Look up at me with those dreamy eyes, let me hold you, let me touch your squishy-soft cheek. Don't turn away. Don't grow, in this moment? Just a moment longer."
Um, ok. I know. Its crazy talk. Admit me into my MIL's hopsital of choice and prescribe me whatever she is on, cause this is how she feels and ACTS all the time. I know its unreasonable and unhealthy...and I don't really feel that way. But I'm finding that I'm getting these fleeting moments lately...like hormonal hot flashes of single-white-female-obsession-esque love. I'm even starting to act like my baby a little :) And only since I returned to work :( Its ok. My rational mind is still working.
Gladness: Look at my son...he is so loving and not afraid to show it. We taught him that! Cool! He is so happy at his daycare. Cool! He feels comfortable and supported and loved. Look at how confident he is-he doesn't need to see me to say goodbye to know I'll be back for him. He is not afraid. And he is showing me his independance and exerting his preferences. Cool! I'm so proud.
Ah...sadness and gladness intermingled. And I guess what I'm looking for is SLADNESS. The balance of the two.
I get that you gotta do what you gotta do. So I will. My parents taught me that sometimes you put your job first if it means money in the green machine for those clothes, that food on the table...and we always felt loved. Sure I rarely had a lunch made for me. Pish. My parent's hardworking attitude helped me become a pretty self-sufficient type of gal. My husband, on the other hand, had a SAHmom who had a routine and scheduled dinner nights (Tuesday was Chinese! Wednesday was potroast!). And he is a pretty independant soul, too. So which is right? Its a chasm between the career rock and the raising-baby hard place.
Some people say devote yourself to your family now while they are young, your career will always be accessible. (Maybe.) Some people say staying home is a harder job by far and that working moms can be more of a asset to their families by feeling fulfilled. (I get that...I mean I usually don't get vomited on daily by students, and they usually help me feel challenged and alive) I suppose I just want my cake, and to eat it too. Yeah, duh? I've never understood that saying. What else would you want cake for? Mmmmm cake.
Whilst I ponder my life's purpose, I think I shall indulge.
P.S. Thanks to S, of anamericangirlincanada for the post inspiration. My own musings, post mat leave, after reading her musings, pre-mat leave end. Much the same. It doesn;t get easier. Listen to me! I sound like a seasoned, gripy parent already! Cool!