This isn’t the post I planned to write this morning. After a grueling workout, I read Rebecca’s latest post on being a work-at-home mom with full-time help. She is always thoughtful, always so intensely honest and raw, and today’s discussion of why working women are ashamed/embarrassed to discuss the help that makes it possible to juggle motherhood and a career just blew me away.
I’m feeling particularly vulnerable right now, as I finish up a three week period where I took three out-of-town work trips, one weekend getaway without the kids, and am currently packing for a weeklong sales conference in Florida. This week alone I had one night in Los Angeles for work, one night out for my birthday and one nighttime work event. It’s been exhausting, to say the least.
I had dinner with a group of men last night, none of whom have children yet. They were teasing me about having kids that I don’t see, and though I know it was meant in jest, it hurt, too. There have been too many nights recently when I tiptoe into the kids’ room to kiss them goodnight, hours after they have fallen asleep, thumbs in mouths, clutching on to beloved stuffed animals. There have been forced conversations with my three-year-old on the phone while I try to get info on his school activities and he tries to get back to watching “Doc McStuffins.” There have been many trips to the grocery store where I stock the cart with the simplest dinner ingredients I can find, knowing J will be cooking by himself all week after a long day at work.
The thing is, of course we have help. My first and best help is my husband, who for years has gone so above and beyond anything I ever dreamed of in a husband and father to care for our kids and keep our lives sane and balanced. We have three sets of grandparents who pick the kids up in a pinch, come down when we have emergencies and take them for weekends every so often so we can get away alone. We have full time preschool and after-care and babysitters. It’s likely we can’t afford all of the help we have but we make it work as well as we can.
I sometimes wonder if it’s worth it, if I should just give it all up and be home with my children, full-time (it’s a rare part-time job that pays enough to justify childcare expenses or provides benefits). To be honest, I think about it every single time I cry because I’m missing yet another school event or I know my husband is tired and just wants a week where we have nothing on the calendar. What keeps me going is a mix of things: love for what I do, ambition to chase dreams I have that I’m not ready to set aside, pride in my achievements, high cost of living, a mother who worked and modeled that for me. I know so well what Rebecca means, though, when she says, about working,
It was worth it.
It wasn’t worth it.
It’s always worth it.
It never is.
This is an argument I have had with myself for years. This is an argument I’ll never stop having. This is an argument we have had with each other for years. This is an argument we’ll never stop having.
I have a group of women in my life who cheer me on, though few are in similar working situations. And I have parents who are quick to tell me how proud they are of me. And I have a husband who truly believes in me. And since I started this blog, I have many of you, too, who email me and leave comments letting me know you understand, you can relate, that you, too, are struggling to “do it all,” whatever that means. Thank you for that support. It means so much.
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!