Thursday, June 01, 2006

pride goeth before a fall

Over the last couple of months I’ve nearly broken my arm patting myself on the back thinking “Wow, I’ve really got this working mom thing wired! What are all those people whining about?” Perhaps it’s my incredible organizational skills! My incessant list-making! My ability to juggle home and work flawlessly and simultaneously!

But lately my son has been a magnet for every virus in his day care. First there was the roseola incident. A couple weeks later he got a fever and had to come home. Then over the weekend, he got another fever and had to stay home on Tuesday. And I have a couple of business trips coming up.

Then I realized, this is where the rubber meets the road. This is where my always-present-but-often-latent guilt rears its big black head. Am I spending enough time comforting my sick child? And when I am, are people at work thinking “Is that slacker taking care of her ‘sick baby’ again?” And if they are, do I care?

It turns out I do.

I have such an overactive sense of guilt that I struggle with the concept of doing the best I can. I am pulled in so many directions. But even so, I am so lucky to have a supportive and helpful spouse. I also have a supportive manager. I have a housekeeper who comes every two weeks to scrub the house from top to bottom, and a gardener who comes every Friday to mow our tiny lawn. So what am I complaining about?

I guess it’s an age-old problem that I’m not exempt from after all. At the same time, I wouldn’t trade it for anything (except maybe the ultimate flexibility of independent wealth.) Unrealistic dreams aside, I’m generally pretty happy with my arrangement. It’s been eye-opening to realize that even though I’m content with the way things are, that doesn’t mean it won’t blow up from time to time.

Maybe I just need to be okay with that. It still scares me, though.


Amy said...

That is a hard adjustment to make. I was a stay-at-home for four years but an ensuing divorce pushed me out of the house and into the workplace. I was difficult to juggle 10 vacation days with 20 school holidays, summer vacation and then the ever-present sick days.

As he gets older you'll have mastered this part but you'll be ill-prepared when he says something you know you didn't teach him, or he saw a movie you didn't take him to or something that makes you realize he has a life AWAY from you. THAT remains a difficult reality to me. (And LM is 10!)

Carolyn said...

It always seems like those childhood illnesses come in dramatic waves, and always at the worst times. There are days when I feel like how can any parent have a job when their kids are always having to stay home from daycare?

Luckily you have a great support network. I do too, but it doesn't stop us from stressing about it. Just know you're not alone, and you're doing a great job as a mom.