So after a good night's sleep and some good cuddles with the sick baby, I was able to get some perspective on the issue. I think one of the problems was that my boss was not exactly supportive or sympathetic to my situation, and I felt that I was someone hurting my standing by taking care of the baby. But as I was lying there next to Syd, with the house dark and my family sleeping, I had an epiphany. Or really just remembered what I already knew. My family is my priority. I love my job, but if it came down to it I would choose my family without question. I've worked hard to get to a place where I should be trusted enough not to punch a time clock, and I'm lucky that my union agrees with me. Additionally, my job knew I had small kids when they hired me. In fact, Eli wet his pants during my interview, and they later told me that I was chosen because I was so "real." So if they're not going to be understanding than it's not the right place for me to build my career.
No. I didn't quit my job. And I'm not going to. I enjoy my work and I don't know that I would have as much fun at a different place. But remembering that these are my priorities, and these same things are what make me good at what I do, both as a mom and a psychologist, gave me the confidence and perspective to stop worrying so much about what everyone else thinks. It doesn't matter what the daycare thinks, what my boss thinks, what my neighbors think, about how we balance work and family. This is what works best for my family, and when I took a step back I realized that we're doing a pretty good job. The house is still a mess, and I feed my kids PB&J for dinner more often than I care to admit (but with a side of carrots!) but we are, for the most part, healthy and happy.
Thanks for letting me whine for a minute. I may eventually take that post down, but for now I like letting the crack in the armor show.
Just catching up on blogs so a tad late to the working mom dilemma. But I think you are right on with your epiphany and I really, really respect your "my family comes first" perspective. Good for you. I completely get what you mean by feeling pulled even when C is with Syd while she is sick. As a mom you just really want to be the one who gives the comfort when your baby is hurting, and it would be really hard to not be able to do that-even when you know they are fully loved and comforted with dad. Because I have only stayed home I know that I don't really get it and don't feel I can offer advice on how to handle the feeling of being pulled. However, I do know that I think you are an excellent mother. I think you give your kids more devoted attention than a lot of SAHM that I know. I also know that you are providing an excellent example to both of them of an educated career woman who is passionately loving her job, but passionately loving her kids/family more. I think that is really beautiful and really inspiring.
Glad to hear you feel better.
A good reminder--I think everyone needs to reflect on priorities more often. Although I don't have kids I often feel guilty about holding a "work to live" priority rather than a "live to work" one. Even if they say they don't expect it, it seems like most employers would obviously prefer it if you lived to work.
Also--you kick ass. I remember wondering in grad school how you got it all done, and just being amazed. Thanks for sharing this struggle, it really is what makes you "real"!
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