Wednesday, October 23, 2013

the weekend mommy

Some weeks I feel incredible satisfaction at work and in my profession. I feel like I am making a difference and accomplishing many things - things that matter. Some weeks I am inspired and excited about the work I do, the people I get to work with. There are times when I feel I have the world on a string.

Not this week.

Perhaps it's because our new house is feeling more and more like a home and I just want to spend more time there - with the kids. Perhaps it is because very soon I will be signing Charlie up for kindergarten, and the many years of school that will quickly follow frightens me. My babies aren't really babies and I'm missing so much. Perhaps it is the fun of Halloween and the desire to make ghosts and spiderwebs and carve pumpkins. Lately, the weekends just don't seem like enough time. 

Perhaps it is because I want to try something completely different with my career. Find a new challenge and a new form of inspiration - one that fits more comfortably with raising a family. I'm not sure such a career exists, nor if I have the nerve to find out.


Our house is full of toys the kids only get to play with occasionally. They spend 40+ hours a week away from home, just like I do. They rarely get to spend a lazy morning in their pajamas playing on the floor, watching Sesame Street. Kids should get to watch Sesame Street. It is a right of passage, one my children barely know exists. 

I want to have time to take them to the library, not just at 6:00pm on a Tuesday when we have to rush to get home and make dinner, but for Story Hour on Thursday mornings. I want to take them to museums and the occasional movie in the afternoon, to visit Dad's office, to the park for a picnic lunch. 


I'm tired of being the weekend mommy, when park visits and puppet shows have to play second fiddle to cleaning the house, doing the laundry, going to the grocery store. Because all those chores have to get done by Sunday evening. Monday morning we all head back to work, to daycare.  

I know my children are exposed to amazing people and experiences in their current daycare. I know they are loved and well-cared for every day. They are learning. They are thriving! But I am not with them for the majority of their day. I am not teaching them new skills. I am not there to see their smiles, their tears, their struggles and victories. I am not there.

Maybe things will get easier when both kids are in school. I've heard the guilt subsides somewhat - all kids go to school, after all.  Maybe I can find a way to fit my work into the span of a school day. That would be ideal. Until I find my ideal, I'll cram as much as I can into the weekends and strive for early pick-ups once in a while. 

I have no plans to quit my job anytime soon. I know the grass is always greener and the ideal work/home situation is a moving target.  For now, I'll take it one day at a time. 

12 comments:

  1. It does get a little easier as they get older. They get "friends" and don't need you as much. Other friends parents can help you out with the running around. And then you become a glorified taxi driver!
    But even when they are teenagers you can still feel like you are missing stuff. Then it will be splitting time between "Charlie's" stuff and "Izzy's" stuff, getting to the games, plays etc.
    No matter what their age, you will always have this battle! Just enjoy the time you can give them, it goes so quickly!

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    1. Thanks Jules! And don't forget the help of family - grandparents, aunts, cousins...that is huge and I'm so lucky to have family all around!

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  2. You're singing my tune, Paige. With maternity leave coming to an end, I find myself wishing for the ability to really be with Max and Haley during the day. I too take comfort in their care/socialization but feel like I'm missing out on so much. I cannot believe H starts kindergarten next year - time flies!
    A recent discussion with friends/moms enlightened and inspired me - the take away was be present and be intentional. Fact is, I can't stay home and the guilt will always be in the background, but when I'm with Max and Haley its my goal to really be with them and soak in the time together, really marinate in it.
    We're all doing the very best we can, right?

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    1. Yes, we are doing the best we can and it helps to remember that. I will focus on being present and intentional. Excellent advice!

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  3. I always feel stuck in stone when trying to make career decisions...I'm in the middle of this right now. Having the nerve to find out is spot on.

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    1. Brooke - I wish you luck and lots of nerve! We should grab coffee and discuss sometime...

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  4. Macy explained what you do in your lab to a friend the other day. The rats, the mcdonalds diet, the diabetes, the exercise - she shared it all with detail and accuracy, so it must have made an impression. I think working is harder than staying home. But know that you're making an impact in different ways in both places.

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    1. Thank you Susan, that really means a lot. Maybe someday when my kids are old enough to understand what I do, that would help, too. Right now Charlie just likes to visit the lab for the candy drawer...

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  5. Fist of all, I'm sending you a hug and a big virtual glass of really good wine right now. Second, well, it's just hard. I've tried three work situations in the last 15 months and while some are definitely better than others, none is ideal.

    I have no doubt that having no professional commitments carries its own set of circumstances and challenges but I also know that it's beyond appealing some days to think of a life where your brain power is harnessed for one mission, not two. I'm waiting for the day when I feel like I've been a great mom AND a great employee.

    The truth here is that you ARE making the world a better place in both of your jobs and while that doesn't make either one of them easier, I think that you should sleep so well at night knowing that the time you're not with Izzy and Charlie is spent physically improving the lives of many.

    I also think we should get together soon.

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    1. Thanks Susan. As always, I really appreciate your perspective. I know you are trying really hard to find your ideal. Why is it so hard?? Why can't we have phases of life when we are more family-focused (young kids) and career-minded (when they ditch us for friends and college)? Why does it feel like such a trade-off has to occur when we shift focus?

      I know you are just as hard on yourself as I am - and I'm sure you are a great employee! Better than you give yourself credit.

      Until we meet in person...thanks!!

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  6. Oh I love this. I don't *really* want to quit my job-- I love it, really-- and I often tell people that daycare is the best invention ever, particularly after a rough weekend of early mornings, late nights and too much running around exhausted, trying to get everything done in between.

    But I absolutely, totally feel the same way about wanting to spend more-- and more quality-- time with my toddler, going to the library and the park and doing art projects.

    Beautiful post and pictures. I've been reading for awhile, but this is my first comment. Thank you for sharing this.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Debi. Sunday night is the time I always praise the invention of day care. Best of luck to you in finding more time for what you love!

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