Today is officially the last day of my maternity leave with child numero dos. I've had the following emotions today:
Bleck: Getting out of bed at what time?
Delight: That little boy really likes to giggle!
Wonder: Another onesie? Really? Kid, you do like to spit up.
OH CRAP: (Probably said something else, but I'll be polite.) What am I going to book talk 1st hour on Monday morning? Guess we know who will be doing homework this weekend.
Frustration: Kid, will you nap so Mama can blog?
Sadness: Really, I have to go to work and leave him with daycare and he'll never be this small again and that baby smell will soon disappear and ohhhhhh....
Last week I discovered Mommy blogger Glennon Melton from the Huffington Post. Her post from earlier this week was called "Friendly Fire" and was about the never ending debate of whether or not women should work outside the home. She'd heard a radio program earlier in the week that had women debating the issue. Of course, all of the callers, she noted, were women from one side of the issue or the other.
She says that if you are a working mom you are racked with Mommy Guilt that goes something like this: "YOU KNOW, THE ONLY WAY YOU'RE GOING TO BE A GOOD MOTHER AND WIFE IS IF YOU QUIT YOUR JOB AND STAY HOME." And if you are a stay-at home mom you are racked with the Mommy Guilt that goes something like this: "YOU KNOW, MAYBE YOU'D BE A BETTER MOTHER AND WOMAN IF YOU COULD JUST GET OUT OF THE HOUSE AND WORK."
She relates these thoughts to a scene in the movie "Liar, Liar" where Jim Carey's characters is in the bathroom and is busy throwing himself against walls and punching himself. When there is a knock on the door he says, ""I WAS KICKIN' MY ASS! DO YA MIND?" And Melton replies: "I understand the act of kicking one's own ass. I do it all the time."
Yep. Let me just say, we are so good at that, us women. That kickin' our own asses thing when it comes to our jobs as moms. Melton's post really hit home this week. Child numero dos went to daycare for the first time. We did a quick trial day--to let daycare get used to him, for him to get used to daycare, and most importantly: for me to get used to not being around him 99% of the day (and because I needed a good day of errands and back to work shopping). I cried half of the day. Blubbering at home. Holding it in at Caribou. Sobbing to music in the car. Trying to contain the continued blubbering on errands. Seriously. Seriously? Yep, I spent most of the day mentally kicking my own ass.
On Monday I start work again. And it's going to stink. But then I'll be in the swing of things after a few days and dare I admit it now? I'll like it. I'll like getting out of the house, dressed and presentable. I'll like talking books with teenagers. I'll get really frustrated with them, but it's pretty enjoyable. And then it will happen. I will eventually start kicking my own ass again. For liking what I do and for spending time with other people's kiddos each day and not my own.
And so after reading the "Friendly Fire" blog entry, I have to keep reminding myself. I have the best of both worlds. I get to be both a working mom for 9 months and then a stay-at-home mom in the summer. I get it when the working mom screams, "QUIT YOUR JOB AND STAY HOME." I get it when you need to take a day off (albeit sick or otherwise) and run errands to stay sane or to chaperone your kids this or that. And I get it when stay-at-home moms screams, "I NEED TO GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!" I get it when you need to tell your hubby that he's watching the kids so you can get a cup of coffee and read for a whole solitary hour with no interruptions. I so get both sides of mommyland. And it's a hard choice to figure out which one is right for me or for you. I just wish, for either side, I didn't end up kickin' my own ass so much--that there wasn't such a tug of war pulling at my heartstrings.