an ode to working mothers

When I started looking for my first full time job in 15 plus years, I knew things were going to change. For me, for my kids.

I called a working mom friend with four kids and asked,

“How do you do it.”

She laughed and said you don’t have a choice. You just do it.

“But how?” I responded.

I’ve always worked part time. My jobs have always been somewhat flexible. I have taken many a sick kid to a theatre to sit backstage during the show. I’ve done conference calls while waiting in the line to pick up a kid from school, hiding the phone on the dashboard to keep from being that jerk mom on the phone while in the parking lot of a school. I thought I knew what it was going to be like.

Less time.

And I have to hire someone to do what I used to do.

Ok, no problem. I can do this.

I can do it. I am doing it.

But it’s a problem. In ways I couldn’t foresee.

I am now three months into my full time job.

I’m on my third nanny.

Nanny one decided it was too hard to go to college and nanny 15 hours a week. We liked her but found someone else pretty quickly, thank GOD. The replacement broke her foot and is out for weeks. Nanny three is a miracle, a friend is unemployed and agreed to step in short term. I have no idea what we would have done. It’s ridiculous.

For the record, I can’t actually afford the nanny. I’m gonna be paying her off on my credit cards for a few years now.

That’s fucking hilarious. I am charging my nanny on a credit card.

It’s not factual, my nanny doesn’t take credit cards. She doesn’t have one of those iPhone credit card machine things. But I can’t afford her and the other expenses of living alone. So I overspend. Which is basically the same thing.

So childcare is hard.

There are no sick days in motherhood, I used to say.

It turns out there are sick days for nannies. Wimps.

(sarcasm, seriously, it’s sarcasm)

So onto less time. Less time? Yeah, I was totally prepared for the less time thing.

Are you freaking kidding me? What did I used to do with all my time. My lack of time has reached an all time low. Working mothers have no time. NO TIME AT ALL. I haven’t turned on the TV in weeks. Well, once I turned it on but I immediately fell asleep.

All my lovely, beautiful, amazing, stay at home mom friends who complain about how they just don’t have time for anything right now.

Shut the front door.

You have time. You have no idea how much time you have. Did you sleep seven hours last night? Did you go to the gym this week? You have time.

I knew childcare would be tough. Letting someone else drive my kids. Raise my kids. I expected that to be hard. I was right, it’s hard. No big surprises there. The unpredictable nature of childcare is what I didn’t predict.

The lack of time, I had a hard time imagining. I suspected it would be difficult and it is. Throw moving into the mix and you can forget about it. I have stuffed every closet with boxes cause I am sick of looking at them. And there is no way I am unpacking any boxes in the five seconds i have to sit down and write this blog. I don’t have time to write. And that’s poison for me. Writing, reading, being creative…these things nourish my soul. That’s not about time, that’s about feeding my spirt. And balancing that need and the lack of time is horribly difficult. It sucks. I haven’t figured it out yet. Maybe I never will until my kids are grown and that’s the trade off?

So the big thing…the thing I didn’t foresee, couldn’t predict…is how exhausting working full time can be.

Trying to build a career is hard work.

Yes, it’s called work. I get that. I knew it would be hard. I didn’t expect to sail through it, like some sort of super hero.

I get home, from a long day, maybe it was stressful, maybe i was working on a deadline all day, maybe I am behind on something, or struggling to figure something out. I worked later than i planned, I sat in traffic for 45 minutes coming home. I am late picking up one of the kids from practice, I am worn out. I am done. I have very little left to give my kids. I get home, I have to make dinner, I have to do chemistry homework with my teenager or help write the argument for debate with my son. Or play with my little one. A game, or cars or whatever. And i wiped out. The best part of me, it’s all used up. I have given it to someone else…a job.

This is not complaining. This is an ode. To all the moms who looked wearily at me as I whined about working fifteen hours a week while managing my “household” and I was just so overwhelmed.

Silly little me of the past.

The moms who do it, and do it well…you all are amazing. I am in awe. And my goal is to be like you. To figure it out. As well as it can be figured out. ┬áBecause it’s impossible to be all things to all people, the perfect mom, perfect employee, perfect partner. Right now, I am struggling. But I can do it. I know I can. I’ve seen you other moms out there, leading the way…managing successful careers, loving your kids as well as you can in spite of your exhaustion…showing up at the basketball meeting with your business suit on and still managing a smile and a pleasant discourse. You rock, you working moms.

In closing, I want to say that I realize dad’s work too. And single dads with custody of their kids, even half the time (like my former spouse) are dealing with the same stuff. There is no difference, assuming the work load with the kids is 50-50. I am being completely sexist in addressing this to mom’s only.

Cause I am a mom, and we mom’s stick together.