Everything you didn't learn in school that will help you survive the world of work. A place for newbies, for working moms, for seasoned professionals and "free agents" to share strategies, tips and tales from the trenches.

Feb 16, 2010

A Working Mother's Rant

Our Guest Blogger writes The Dyer Family, which she describes as a series of "semi-daily diatribes."  In this one, she ponders whether raising children should have turned her into the kind of person she has never really been anyway. 

I am no good at a stay-at-home mother, and I don't know why....or do I?

Let's back up.  I am a working mother.  I teach school full time, and I have two very small children who spend their days at day care. 
No, it's not the most preferable option, but it's what we've got.

There are times that I hate working - hate every second of it.  I hate being busy all the time and living in squalor.  I hate missing my children's parties at their school and I hate that I can't join mommy groups or be the room mother or organize play dates.  I hate that I see my sixth graders more than I see my own children.  I hate racing to the grocery store for a few quick items after my rushed, too-short-to- make-a-difference workout followed by blowing through the day care to grab my kids before they feel completely abandoned.  I hate the $1200 check I write to day care each month, and I hate the year-end statement I just received for my taxes.

Even more than that, I hate the stay-at-home moms that you see at Target or Kroger.  They all seem to know each other and they are dressed in their standard work-out wear wardrobe that goes with their tight asses, which get that way from the hour a day they get to spend at the gym.  They stop in the middle of aisles to talk to each other, smugly not caring whose path they are blocking while their well-behaved children sit quietly in the grocery cart not begging for anything and not attempting an escape.  Their teeth look great because they have time to make it to the dentist every 6 months, their hair looks amazing because they have time to make a standing, monthly salon appointment.  Their clothes look great because they have time to wash and properly fold them.  I hate these women because they do everything I want to do with my days, and they do it better.

Would I spend my days productively if I got to stay at home? 

Sometimes, I doubt it.  I recently stayed home with my 10 month-old bundle of love while she healed from a double ear infection and double pink eye.  I can say that I managed to shower that day, but little else was done.  During her morning nap, I was aware of the laundry that needed to be done and the floors that needed to be vacuumed, but once I halfway unloaded the dishwasher, I sat on the bed and blankly stared at morning TV while facebooking and napping.  I was hungry and I had to pee for a period of time, but the effort it took to get up and do those things was a little much for me.

Is this who I am?  An insufferably lazy mother with zero-to-little housekeeping skills and absolutely no wherewithal to create structure and schedules without the confines of work?

Did we manage to get out that day, my tiny child and I?  Yes, we did. 
We managed to make a deposit at the bank drive-through, pick up a strawberry limeade at Sonic because Mama was thirsty, then we stopped off at my school so I could use the bathroom and the office ladies could fawn over my baby.  Yes, that's right, I had a day off and I spent at least 30 minutes of it at work.  I am pathetic.

Ok, so where does this leave me?  Do I lack the stay-at-home mom personality trait?  Do I have a total inability to create home structures?  It's possible.

I do enjoy crappy TV and an unhealthy snack, and I never was good at keeping a gym membership.  What made me think I would change into a responsible person when I became a  mother?  It seems that I have reached an impasse.  I cannot change. 

Work is what drives me, whether I enjoy the hard work or not, it gets me out of bed and forces me to maintain some sort of structure.  No, my house will never be immaculate, no my fridge will never be fully, perfectly stocked, yes my pants will always look a little wrinkled, and yes my kids will learn to hold on tight and enjoy the ride,  I might be able to achieve these things with a full time assistant and a monthly supply of ADD medication, but those are not luxuries enjoyed by the working, strapped-for-cash, frantic mother.

Related reading, for fun and otherwise:
I don't Know How She Does It
This is How We Do It
How She Really Does It

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