Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Plight of the Working Mother

This week my MIL is in Alaska to help my SIL who just had her first baby. My MIL’s other son, is currently deployed, and has been for most of his wife’s pregnancy. He is not supposed to be back until right before Christmas. My SIL’s mother decided to not come out for the birth or to help her daughter, who was induced nine days after her due date. An induction that turned into a c-section, which is the complete opposite of the natural birth my SIL wanted.

Unfortunately I am not able to be home all day with my boys. I have limited leave and a fairly inflexible schedule. I need to be at work during the core hours and in contact with my coworkers. I also took a half day last Friday, so that Oscar could work a 10 hour day, because my MIL needed to be at the airport by noon, and Gabe had his first fall session gym class at 12:30. So instead Oscar is going in at 2 a.m. and working until 6 a.m. to get home in time for me to work my normal hours since I don’t have enough leave to cover the week, and want to save a day or two for the holidays.

I know this is the arrangement that works best for ensuring that our boys are cared for during the day. Yet I still feel guilty. I feel like I should be the one at home with them. I’m uncomfortable being at work when they’re at home. I know there’s no reason I should feel this way. This was the arrangement that made the most sense, and Oscar is perfectly capable of caring for them. And yet I do. I want to be fixing their meals and taking them to the playground. I don’t want to be reading documents and sitting in meetings.

It’s harder to have them at home with Oscar than it is to leave them with my MIL. Perhaps it’s because Oscar is usually in the same boat, working like I am. Perhaps it’s because she’s a more hands on mother than I could ever be so I know that they are doing way more with her than they would ever do with me. I still feel guilty, which seems to be part of being a working mother, but not as guilty. If that makes any sense.

It doesn’t help that I feel like I get so little time with my boys and that the time I do get with them is either after a long day at work when I’m exhausted or on the weekends when there are errands to run and chores to do. Our time together isn’t quality playtime. I’m either too tired or too busy to sit in their playroom and build towers out of blocks.

I resent not being able to be a stay-at-home mom, even as I know that it is not practical or even the best role for me to have. I feel guilty for not being able to be at home with my boys this week, even though I know that they’re well cared for by Oscar. Being a working mother is not an easy role, even though I know that it is the best role for me to have.

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