Posted by LaurenKelly | Posted in Working Mommy | Posted on 01-04-2012
I have had a challenging few weeks. No, nothing earth shattering happened, and no, I have had no experiences that are unique from most mom’s daily challenges. But, to be fair to myself, I am putting it out there as a sort of general validation that it is alright that I’m feeling a bit defeated lately. We can’t always feel like we are hitting the ball out of the park…at least that’s what I keep saying to make myself feel better.
On Thursday of this past week I had made the decision that I was going to blog about my terrible, no good, horrible, very bad day that day. I thought most moms would be able to relate, and frankly I was itching to vent. My day on Thursday was the perfect example of how most of my days had been going recently. My 10 month old daughter Cakes was sick and home from daycare, I had a million work obligations and projects to complete, and my husband absolutely couldn’t reschedule his asphalt paving job (he is self-employed and we are hurting for money!). So I attempted to work from home while caring for Cakes. I had a good 9 hours of work on my plate, so on Thursday morning I took a deep breath and became super multi-tasking mommy (see, not any different from most moms)! I mean, I wouldn’t want to fail anyone, right? The mantra I was saying in my head that day went something like this: “Must be supermom. Must not skip a beat at work. Must give Cakes the attention she needs. Must answer every single work email and phone call. Must feed Cakes. Must change Cakes. Must complete everything on my work priority list. Must not fail. Must appear to have it together at all times.”
By around 4:00p.m. I felt like a failure. How could this have happened? I mean, I had accomplished most of my work obligations while simultaneously caring for my baby girl. The answer became very clear to me when Cakes woke up from her afternoon nap, her fever had spiked again to 101.4, and she was a desperate sobbing mess. Also? I realized I hadn’t eaten all day. Awesome. I failed at the most important two things – giving Cakes the attention she needed, and nourishing myself in order to provide the energy required to, um, LIVE and care for my baby. It was at that time (far too late in my opinion) that I decided that maybe work wasn’t so important after all.
I called the doctor, made an appointment for Cakes to be seen at 7:15p.m., ordered a pizza for dinner, and asked my mother-in-law come over to watch my son Gooby after he arrived home from daycare. The pizza arrived minutes before I had to leave to take Cakes to the doctor. I set Gooby up with a plate of food, put two slices of pizza on a paper plate for myself, and rushed out the door. I was so starving after not eating all day that I ate while driving to the doctor. It was at that time that I noticed the pizza appeared to be a bit crunchy. I thought it was an extra crispy pepperoni, but no, I was just eating a portion of the tooth that was breaking off in my mouth (have I mentioned that I haven’t been to the dentist in 11 months?). Anyhoots, Cakes and I made it to the doctor, received a potential diagnosis of roseola (since she had not yet exhibited the tell-tale rash that did eventually appear on Saturday morning), and I rushed home to finish the bedtime routine and clean up the house. I ended my day exhausted and in bed by 10:30p.m.
When I woke up Friday I made an important decision. I was not going to work that day despite the fact that I still had projects to complete. Instead, I decided to spend the day focusing on my kids, and only my kids. I didn’t attempt to clean the house, do laundry, or do the dishes. I didn’t attempt to check my work email 10,000 times. We left the house at 9:30a.m. for a visit to Gooby’s new preschool. I dropped five bucks off at my daycare provider’s house so that we could participate in her Mega Millions lottery pool (one can dream, right?!). I took the kids to the park and swung on the swings with Cakes while watching Gooby clime the faux rock wall. We went to Chipotle and ate lunch (Gooby’s favorite). We came home and napped together for 2 hours. And finally, before dinner, I took both kids on a walk to a nearby park and experienced this:
That’s right. Pure bliss. Just like that, I had turned my terrible, no good, horrible, very bad day the previous day into one of the best I could remember. I didn’t do anything that unique, except spend an entire day focused on my kids. It was awesome.
A few years back I read an article in Parenting magazine entitled “Mad at Dad”. The article provides the results of a survey of more than 1,000 mothers about their levels of stress pertaining to parenting and how that cultivates feelings of anger toward their significant other. While I could relate to a lot of the article, the one point that hit home to me was the difference between men and women’s ability to multi-task. As the article states, “He gets to focus on one thing at a time. Meanwhile, she’s trying to cook with human leg warmers clinging to her shins”. Does this sound familiar? For me, this reminds me of the times my husband has stayed home with one of our kids while they were sick. After working a full day, I come home to a house that is an absolute disaster. While I stare at the mess in utter dismay, my kids are running around happy as can be, and my husband is telling me what a fantastic day they had together. That just pisses me off because his day with the kids (sick or not) is not at all like the days I am responsible for the kids. The difference? Dad + Kids = No Multitasking. In my quest to be super-working-mommy, I set myself up for failure and defeat every time I try to divide my attention 10,000 ways. I’m not saying that it’s possible to focus 100 percent of my energy on my kids every day, but it is an important factor to remember while building my relationship with my kids. If mom is happy, the kids are happy. If the kids are happy, then mom is happy. Plain and simple. Let’s face it, I would rather watch my kids smile their faces off than go to work or have a clean house any day. We all have obligations, but try not to be too hard on yourself while you are at it, will ya’? (Said to myself as much as to every other kick-butt mom out there).