I received a very sweet message of encouragement from a working mama friend yesterday about what I try to do here on the blog. (Thanks, Angie!). Today, I want to return the favor by giving a little shout out to all my working mama friends, many who have been so supportive and encouraging of my efforts here.
My worker mama friends and I are not all that different. Our days look a little different and take shape in different ways - they each have their unique set of challenges. But our goals are the same. We want to raise loving, well-adjusted children who look back fondly on their childhoods; we want to be a connected wife whom our spouse is excited to see at the end of the day; we want our families (including ourselves) to be healthy; we want an organized house that is a haven to come home to rather than one more obstacle in the way of peace; we want to grow as people; and at the end of the day, we want to have something left.
I was given the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom and jumped at it (not to say that it wasn't an adjustment not getting a paycheck to help my family financially, or that it wasn't hard to read and hear the message being sent out in magazine articles and talk shows at that time that by making this choice I was choosing to become a penniless spinster as the only result of such a decision would be my husband dying or leaving me for a younger model - I decided to take my chances). But I have seen my working mama friends in action and heard their stories. They do what they can to excel at their jobs. Then they come home hoping to provide a healthy dinner for their families, a helping hand with the kids' homework, spend quality time with the kids, quality time with their husband, clean the house, workout, oh, and somehow have something left over that is all their own. In the 5 or 6 hours allotted between work and bedtime. What ends up happening is this: they scrap the workout and put off that project they've been meaning to start for a month, or they go to the gym or finally begin that project and end the day feeling just a little guilty that they weren't somewhere else. They crawl into bed, the next day's to-do list already forming in their heads. I want to head in the direction of the library self-help aisle just thinking about it. My days are full, but by staying home I've tried to limit my focus a bit. The dog has a shot at being walked and the laundry a 50/50 chance of being done.
So to my worker mama friends, I want to say this (feel free to take it with a grain of "she has no idea what she's talking about" - my feet are not wearing your shoes):
Some days I feel as though I've spent the day well. But other days, when I allow the other obligations I've created for myself or the voice that says "this house must be the dirtiest one in America" to take over, I end the day guilt-ridden. Try to cut yourself some slack. Think about the Cheerios moment:
Back when I made time to watch tv, I saw an episode of Oprah where she discussed some shows that had made the biggest impact on her. She mentioned a girl named Kate. Kate's mother had died of cancer. Her diagnosis known a year before her death, Kate's family spent her mother's last year traveling and spending time together as a family. But when asked what her favorite moment from that year was, Kate answered that she had asked her mother to wake her if she got up at night to eat a bowl of Cheerios. Her mother did wake her at 2am that night and they shared a bowl of Cheerios. That was Kate's moment. When I know I have a day ahead that's less then Audrey-focused, I try to remember Kate. I tell myself that Audrey doesn't need me to make a big production to show that I care. Any moment can be special simply because I'm present with her in it. Then I use the time I have. I dawdle for two minutes in front of the lobster tank at the grocery store or let Audrey sprinkle the toppings on our morning oatmeal, because you never know, one of those just might be her moment.
Here's to you worker mamas. Here's to finding your moment.