Tuesday, November 13, 2007

One Year

Today is my one-year anniversary at work. Last week, I wasn't sure I would get to celebrate this day, because I f-ed up really, really bad. To the point of cold sweats and face buried in my hands moaning and just praying that my badge worked when I returned the next day.

In fact, last week might go down as the worst week ever. Between my world coming to a halt at work, my son projectile vomitting everywhere on my way into work on Thursday, so that I had to choice but to enter the building with a vomit-covered child in order to grab my laptop and return home and then of course, Friday, bringing the week to a screeching halt, where vomit and screw ups seemed so minor quite suddenly.

And somehow, I made it, today, one year ago, I dropped off my son at daycare for the first time and joined the ranks of millions of working moms. I went to play for the other team, the one that feels a different kind of guilt and that obsesses over every decision, wondering if she is forever damaging her child. In other words, nothing really changed. If there's something I've never done, it's judge other moms. I admit I may have done it before I had kids, because, well, don't we all?

But once I became a mom, and worked part-time from home, I felt like I was in a weird twilight zone, not fully a stay-at-home mom, not fully a working mom. This meant I couldn't always go have fun with my stay-at-home mommy friends and I felt like I neglected my son at times because I sometimes had deadlines.

Not once did I ever think that one group had it better than the other, though. Because both sides have their own guilt. That's what motherhood brings you. Some say that no one can teach you guilt better than a Catholic or a Jewish mother. What they don't tell you is that when you become a mother yourself, you reach a whole new level of guilt, one that can eat you alive, limb by limb, even worse than a staph infection.

I remember sitting in my cubicle that dreary November week, and watching my heart-broken son on the daycare's Web cam system. He'd sit in the corner after I dropped him off, and wouldn't move or interact with anyone, like he couldn't believe that I wouldn't come right back to save him. And as I watched him bury his face in his frog, tears would drench my keyboard, and I would silently sob and curse myself for ruining his life.

I still don't know if going back to work is the best decision. At the time, it was the only decision I could make. We were completely broke and if I hadn't gone back to work, a second child would not have been feasible, since you can't buy maternity health insurance in Texas if you're self-employed. Also, I was running myself ragged with guilt, because I felt like I was doing everything badly. I felt like I was neglecting my son when I was working, but when I played with my son, I felt like I was letting my clients down.

The house was never clean, I just felt like I was on a treadmill that was speeding up constantly and I just couldn't keep up with any of it.

Being a working mom works for me. My life is categorized for me. There's Little Man time. Then work time. Then Little Man time. Then Sweetie Pie time. I don't feel like I'm having to divide my attention at any point.

A year ago today, I changed my life. For the better? I don't know. But we've made it work. And I hope to be here many more years, if I don't mess it up completely.

Love,

Catwoman.

17 comments:

Julie said...

COngratulations on your anniversary! I'm glad you have found a place that works for you and your family - that balance is so important. Sorry about your sucky work week but you were probably way harder on yourself - we all mess up now and then.

Sandy said...

What an excellent description of the compartmentilization of your time! I could never have explained it any better when I was doing it...

Emma in Canada said...

I don't know that there's ever a good balance. I only work weekends, but it's hard because I almost never see William. And my house is always a mess. I can't even use having clients as an excuse. Somehow I doubt you all want to pay me to read my blog. Though, you know, if you did I could totally justify all the time I sepnt on the computer.

Loukia said...

Hi... just wanted to say I'm very sorry to hear about your miscarriage. I know how tough it must be... stay strong and know you'll be pregnant again soon.

AnGlOpHiLe FoOtBaLl FaNaTiC said...

You didn't mention this at all yesterday. I'm sorry work was crappy last week. Has it already been a whole year?? I remember the process of looking and then finding the right one. Tomorrow then is the anni of the VERY sick child, no??

AndreAnna said...

I know exactly how you feel with the being home/working thing. I am on that treadmill you speak of and don't know if or when it will stop.

Yay for you for a year!

Morgan Leigh said...

congrats on the one year.

I know how you are feeling, about the guilt, I'm going to start going to actual college instead of online, and I'm obsessing over whether it's a good idea or not.

:-)

No matter what I do, I'll feel guilty.

Slick said...

Like you said, you did what you had to do and it seems to have worked out in the end. Complete with a schedule for you and everything.

I just caught up....and I'm sorry you had to post that post a couple down from this one.

I'm sorry....

alissa said...

Damn. Just wrote a long 'ol comment and blogger went & lost it on me. So hate when that happens.

Anyhoo... it went a little something like this:

Congratulations on making it to your one-year anniversary. And, more importantly, being so content with your decision to return to work.

Curious to know what you do for a living. Cuz if you're not a professional writer, you certainly could be.

Bren said...

Congrats on the one year! It is tough to find a balance and something that works for your family!

Haphazardkat said...

First, congrats on your one year :)
I know I went through the same guilt when I first put my son in daycare years ago. He didnt help it when he sobbed like it was the end of the world while I slipped out the daycare door!
...
I am putting my blog in private mode. If you wish to still view it, please drop me a line at katscratchings@yahoo.com and I'll add you :)

Blue Momma said...

Congrats on one year! If you could please do a post on the detail of that balance thing I'd forever be in your debt.

Because that kind of balance would work wonders for my other balance!

My bank balance.

And thanks for thinking of me yesterday. Love you!

Beccy said...

Sounds like you've got the right balance and have found what works for you.

Nina Diane said...

everyone is different and what works for one family, doesn't work for another. Looks like you have found your balance.......YEAH to Catwoman!!

Rachel said...

Congrats on your one year anniversary at work.

I could have written that post. Well, maybe not. You write much better than I, but I was thinking the same things!

Except for the last part. I have still not found my balance. Please look for it for me.

Ms. Porter said...

Really well said. I've only ever been a stay at home mom and I often feel judged...and I feel myself insecurely and defensively judging working moms. Thanks for this post...it's a good one.

CPA Mom said...

from one working mom to another, AMEN!