Archive of ‘working mama’ category

My 2012 Resolution? Lose the Guilt.

It’s New Year’s Eve. Which, of course, means we’re all supposed to pause and think about what we want from the upcoming year. To make those infamous resolutions.

I’m only making one. And that? Is to do my damnedest to lose the working mommy guilt this year.

Sure, I let others take care of my daughter between the hours of 9 and 5. But I’m leaving her in some very capable hands. We work as a team, her teachers and I. Together, we’re raising a smart, confident girl capable of taking on the world.

And while I’m gone, I’m doing something important.

I’m showing my daughter that it’s okay to chase her dreams. That she really can be anything she darn well pleases. After all, what’s the use of telling our girls to shoot for the sky if we’re just going to clip their wings once they have families?

That’s just plain dumb.

So this year, I’m going to continue to do what I do. I’ll have to make compromises along the way. And I won’t be able to do everything I’d like to. But I’ll do my best – which is all my daughter asks of me.

I am a working mom. A role model. And that? Is an awesome thing to be.

 

Pinpricks.

After a rushed morning (the kind that always follows a night with too little sleep), we arrive at daycare. Mind already ensconced in my yellow chair at work, I pull Tori out of the car and listen with half an ear to her chatter as we get her purple polka dotted coat (suddenly looking too small) off and in her cubby.

She starts to run to the interior door.

“Wait, Tori, we need to take your shoes off.”

Reluctantly, she trudges back. “I at school now!” she grins.

“Yes, you are,” I say, pulling off her sparkly tennis shoes and stashing them away. “Are you going to have fun today?”

“Yeah!” she bounces.

Then she’s tugging me to the door, and as I pull it open, I see her two teachers and classmates playing with whatever the week’s new toys are. She’s off like a shot.

I make small talk, but my mind is on the ticking clock—the seconds counting down to the Inexcusably Late mark. Before I go, I drop to my knees for our good bye.

“Tori, come give mommy a hug,” her teacher says.

She turns and embraces her teacher. And just like that, the air squeezes out of the room. Pain stabs deep between my ribs and I feel small droplets of blood drip somewhere inside.

“I’m not your mommy,” her teacher says. “Go on. Get over there.”

Then she’s hurtling toward me and the moment is over.

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I sit, alone, on the couch in the too-still house. I’m staring at my Kindle, but my mind is busy replaying a conversation from my writer’s group months before.

The six of us sprawl in comfy, overstuffed furniture. The conversation focuses on careers, on the choice between working and staying at home, and on finding what we’re meant to do with our lives.

“What about you, Amber? Do you really like your job?”

I pause, almost embarrassed by my answer. But when it comes, the truth of it rings deep in my soul.

“Yeah. I do. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

They nod, no judgement on their faces.

“But, you know, it’d be great if I could work part time,” I quickly add—knowing even as I say it that that’s not entirely true. Still, the Mom Guilt in me insists I say it.

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It’s dark. Tori’s sprawled in my arms, her legs knocking into my hips as I rock her back and forth.

“Mommy, who’s your special friend?”

“Well, your Aunt Christina. And daddy, of course. Daddy’s my special-est friend.”

There’s a pause while she yawns sleepily.

“Who’s your special friend?” I ask her.

“Tina and Vicky,” she says, naming her daycare teachers.

“What about mommy? Is  mommy your special friend?”

“No. Tina and Vicky are.”

“But you love mommy, right?” I ask, hating the tremor in my voice.

“No. I don’t need to. I love Tina and Vicky.”

Pain punches me in the stomach, roaring across my brain in a primal wave of need.

“Well, mommy loves you,” I whisper past the scream in my throat. “You’ll always be my special girl.”

Sleepily, she pats my face.

“You’re my special mommy,” she says. “I love you too.”

Pushing the pain back down where it belongs, I finish our bedtime routine and head downstairs. But as I fire up my computer to write a blog post, the hurt pricks at my brain.

I love what I do, it’s true. And soon, the two sides of me will once again settle into an uneasy peace. But until then? It fucking hurts.

Top 5 Shortcuts Working Moms Learn.

I am not a fan of morning. Never have been, never will be. And now that I have a kid? I hate them all the more. Now in addition to getting myself up and dressed, I have to worry about getting a little person up, presentable and out the door. And she? Is not a morning person either.

That means we are always running late, always a little bit crabby, and at least one of us is more than a little frazzled.

I’ve come up with some shortcuts to help us cope—and to get me to the office more or less on time (give or take 15 minutes).

Pajamas? What pajamas? She wears clothes that can do double duty. I do love those footie pajamas—especially the ones that have little animals on the feet. But they do not work for my lifestyle. More often than not, Tori trades one soft and comfy shirt and legging set for another at bedtime. And wears them right out the door the next morning.

Forget oatmeal. All food should be portable. Yeah, yeah, I know. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and I should take the time to make her something nice. But if she wants to eat before she gets to daycare, she has her choice of refrigerator bagel or frozen waffle. Cooking is optional.

Embrace liquids in box form. Once upon a time, I said my daughter would never have juice, never mind juice boxes. But who has time to dig out a sippy cup, find the little stopper thing (which is always hidden behind the coffee maker or something), and, upon discovering there is no juice, make a fresh batch? Not me. We buy juice boxes in bulk. Oh, and did you know you can get milk boxes too? Horizon makes ’em in both regular and chocolate flavors.

Use morning TV time to your advantage. My daughter is not good at sitting still. Especially if I want to change her diaper or brush her hair. The mere phrase “diaper change” is enough to turn her into a whirling dervish. So when I want to get these very basic tasks done, I turn on Dora. Once the TV trance has taken effect, I can get it all done—no fuss, no muss.

Invest in a good travel mug. Whether you work or not, if you’re a mom, you know how rare it is to be able to drink your coffee while it’s still hot—the first time. Mine usually gets zapped at least twice. But on weekday mornings, I don’t have time for zapping. Nor do I have time to sit at the table and drink it. Thus, the travel mug. It keeps things hot for far longer than a standard coffee cup, and can go wherever you do (even the bathroom). If I’m feeling especially organized, sometimes I even remember to bring it to work!

Those are my five favorite tricks. I have more, of course. But I wouldn’t want to give away all my secrets! So now it’s your turn to spill. How do you get everyone out the door in the morning?

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