I have a day job I don’t hate, where I make almost enough money to pay our bills, and I work hard but not overly hard. I enjoy what I do for a living, and before I was a Mom, I really didn’t mind going to work—it felt good to be productive, to earn money to play and support myself (in that order), and I appreciated the social aspects of it. Plus, it got me out of bed so I could be up and awake for all my after-work activities. It was a pretty good deal all-around!
Now some days I am crawling out of my skin to leave and be with my kids.
Since I have had my children, work has taken on a new wonderful and evil dimension. It allows me to support us, talk to adults, pay for my children’s needs and some of their wants, but it is also the thing that rips me away from them day after day. Each morning, I wake my daughter to nurse and cuddle before I take them to daycare and go to work. She snuggles in, nurses and drifts off, nurses and drifts off, nurses and drifts off. Until the clock inevitably tells me I have to get up or I will be late. Then she latches on like a shark with a sea lion using every ounce of suction power her little mouth has, her small body protesting with all it has our long upcoming separation. I shift and shimmy until I eventually break free, and take her to get a fresh diaper and ready for the day. Oftentimes, she drifts back into sleep land before I can get her in her car seat.
My son is almost never awake and I will gently stroke his too-beautiful-for-a-boy hair and try to bring him back to consciousness. It almost never works and I try to brush his hair and teeth before he wakes up enough to start struggling against the brushes he hates. He is often grumpy and asks me his favorite word, “Why?”
I try to explain, Mommy needs to fulfill her commitment to her job and people are depending on me, Mommy needs to make money, etc. It never lands as a good enough reason to drag him up and out when he wants to spend the day with me.
I wish I could say that my job is the best ever and I love and am inspired by what I do. I wish the time trade-off felt a little more even. I wish—I wish I felt like I had enough time with my most precious children.
I have kids I love beyond words, and I spend my days at work missing them, aching to hold them, eagerly talking about them to anyone who shows the slightest interest. I am glad I have a good job, glad I can earn money, but if I thought I could get away with it, I would rob a bank to be a SAHM.