Thursday, May 13, 2010

Working It Out

One thing I knew about mothering, eons before I actually landed in a delivery room, was that I would never be a traditional stay at home mom.  I didn't realize, until post delivery and in the subsequent 6'ish years I've been a mom, how complicated not-traditional can be.

I am working on a great contract/project.  It's in addition to my 32 hour a week job.  It is a professional stretch, exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time.  It also necessitates me working in the evening, or most commonly known as, kid time.

Tonight my very dramatic 6 1/2 year old slumped into the bedroom where I was hiding.  He melted beside me and said, "You've been working aaaaaalllll night!  When are you going to be done?!?!?!"  The guilt washed over me like dirty dish water.  Though I was to discover he was only disturbing me in the vain hope of sneaking more cartoons, it still had the potential to emotionally gut me like a fish.

A constant emotional tug of war is in every mother's heart.  Whether their work is solely in the four walls or out, they are never 'done'.  Children, especially those delicious creatures who have yet to embrace the rugged independence of adolescence, need time, lots of time.  And there are only so many minutes in every day.

The bald fact is this: I am missing time with my kids to do this 'job'.  The other bald fact?  It's going to add two extra paychecks to our account.  Does one equal the other? Nope.

When my two year old crawled into my lap to say good night, I felt the fillet knife coming out.  However, I also remembered something a pediatrician once told me.  In every family, everyone must make compromises.  Learning how to do this and stay together and emotionally intact is the key. 

As I cuddled with my little squishy and his chattering skinny older brother, I worried I am losing importance in their lives.  I worried they would feel work is more important than they are.  I felt I am missing out on precious moments. 

The reality is I wouldn't hear complaints of how l-o-o-o-o-ng I was working if I wasn't important (even if it's that I am always the one who can find the t.v. remote).  They know work isn't more important than them or they wouldn't run in to hide beneath me and my keyboard.  The precious moments I missed tonight?  Yelling out random windows at the wild cat in the back yard.  I could hear them.   I didn't need to yell with them.

Do I still feel guilty?  Yep.  Am I gutted out by it?  Nope.  Because I have just realized that they, like me, are working it out.

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