Monday, March 18, 2013

Confessions of a Working Mom...

Let's get real for a minute here. The internet is a world of stigmas and judgment. I'm an internet nerd; over the years, I've been a part of several online support groups, bulletin boards, and social organizations focused on various issues. While there are a ton of benefits that come with being a part of this giant social sphere that is the interwebs, the nastiness, superiority complexes, and the know-it-alls can bring you down if you let them. Parenting especially brings out the Judgy McJudgersons--I've seen vicious arguments over breast versus bottle feeding, co-sleeping versus non-co-sleeping, vaccinating versus non-vaccinating, organic versus non-organic, etc. etc. The list goes on and on. I mean, I've seen people dropping f-bombs in conversations about car seats! While I understand completely that parenting brings out the strongest emotions in people, because having and then raising children (which are two different things) is the most difficult and important job in the world, I just don't get my panties in a wad (who started that saying, anyway? That's so nasty..) over issues like this. To each his or her own, I say. Parenting is rough, and honestly, we all make choices that we think are best, and do what we have to do to get by. What works for you might not work for me, and that's alright--we are making the best decisions for our families, and our kids are a-okay.

I have to admit, though, that the stay-at-home mom versus the working mom debate always gets to me. Despite the fact that I'm comfortable with the idea of me working, that I actually love my job, and that my children's preschool is fabulous, I think I still have this underlying guilt that I never stayed home with my kids. It wasn't in the cards for us financially, but honestly, I don't know (and never will) if I was even cut out for the whole 24/7 mom gig. It's funny; if another mama said this to me, I'd wholeheartedly jump in and tell her that there is NO reason to feel guilty about this, that her kids are just fine even though she worked outside of the home, that it's a non-issue. I BELIEVE this...and yet, the guilt exists. I don't even want to play the "what-if" game to think about what would be different if I had stayed home; there's no way to know for sure, and nothing ever comes from that cruel game except self-doubt--and God knows I have enough of that as it is. an attempt at reverse psychology (and to make all of you other working parents feel better), I'm going to share some of my working mom confessions. You know, to counteract the guilt. Because admitting my flaws--airing them out--always makes me feel better. Seriously.

Here we go:

1. I don't wash my hair every day. I'm frigging TIRED when I get to bed every night. I have sleep issues, too, so my sleep isn't always great, and sometimes I hit the snooze button one too many times. There's this fine line between the time I can wake up and take a complete shower, and when I have to take a partial shower. I think that time is like 5:42...anything after that, and it's just a wash-off. I mean, have you seen my hair? It gets curlier every year of my life. It takes some serious work just to tame the beast, much less make it look good. A few times a week, sleep wins. And my hair is dirty. Sorry.

2. I don't always go to bed with a clean house. In fact, it's a rarity. By the time our nightly routine ends at about 8:30 (when all the bathroom breaks and water requests are finally finished), I'm doing good to brush my teeth and wash my face, much less clean this house. We know that we need to work harder on getting the kids to clean up their messes--it's a goal. It doesn't always happen. The other issue here is that I firmly believe that everyone--working parents included--needs a little bit of "me time" every day. Those after-bedtime hours are all we get. I like to take at least 30 minutes to check in on my favorite blogs, read a little bit, watch a little TV. So, lots of times I go to bed with toys on the floor, papers and backpacks all over the table, and dishes in the sink. Actually, that last one is rare but that's only because Marty hates dirty dishes in the sink in the mornings, so he takes care of them. Thanks, Marty! :-)

3. Even though I only get about four hours a day with my kids, there are many days that I look forward to bed time. Parents are human, people. Working parents deal with their job--which, no matter how much they love their work, is still WORK--and then come home to work some more, taking care of children. Just because we grow up doesn't mean we don't get over-stimulated, cranky, and just flat out tired, like the littles. I work hard to be patient with them on their worst days, give them as much love as I can before they climb into bed, but yes--I still look forward to bed time. And I think that's okay.

4. I listen to inappropriate music. Okay, so that doesn't relate at all to being a working mom, but it does relate to being a mom in general, and it's something I want to confess. Just because I have small children doesn't mean my musical taste immediately turned to easy-listening. I take pride in being a music snob--I may not judge you on your parenting decisions, but I will judge you based on your choice of music. My personal taste leans toward indie/alternative and acoustic, but I have some guilty pleasure music. I listen to some rap--catchy beats draw me in. I've got Nelly and Jay-Z on my iPod. I also listen to some good old dirty Prince music, and even a few current pop selections. The more curse words a song has, the better, in my book. Do I listen to them in front of the kids? Definitely not. When you have a kid with echolalia, you know better. But, I do listen to them when I'm alone in the car (part of the reason I can't see myself in a minivan...) or in the rare moments that I'm alone in the house. I rock them out, complete with dancing. It's my personal release.

5. I bribe my kids with candy and screen time. Okay, not a lot, but sometimes, it gets the job done. The kids have had just about every antibiotic in the book lately, and even with the little "add the flavoring" deal at Walgreens, some of that stuff is NASTY. If I have to offer up four Skittles or M&Ms to get them to take it without spitting them out, then so be it. If watching an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse gets them to eat more than a few bites of dinner, I'm calling it a good day.

I could go on and on here, friends. The list is endless, and holy hell would I be judged in some internet circles for a lot of this! But here's the bottom line: my kids are GOOD. They're fantastic, actually. Amelia is pretty academically-advanced and her speech is really coming along. Anderson is having good days at school and making academic progress, too. They're both kind, loving little people. They're very well-behaved in public, and just generally happy. My parenting choices, while potentially arguable, are producing some wonderful citizens. Guilt aside, we are doing okay.

What are YOUR confessions? Feel free to air them here--makes ya feel better, I swear!


  1. Just about all of your confessions are on my own list. When my husband or I have to run an errand, we'd both prefer to go it alone (yay alone time at CVS or Target!) but often take one or both kids so the one staying at home can have quiet home time, which is so.much.better than quiet store time, IMO.

    My kids don't always get bathed when they should, especially during the winter because we get so few hours with them during the week I opt to let them play with us a little longer instead of taking a bath. So sometimes we start our weekend mornings off with bath time.

    I often have to sneak away and lock my door just so I can take a shower alone. Both of my girls think that shower or bath time is time for EVERYONE to join in and will show up butt naked ready to climb in if I leave the door unlocked. Sorry, kids, mama likes to lather rinse and repeat in silence...sometimes.

    LOL this list is fun - I think I'll put it on my list of things to blog next.

  2. I often stifle c's creativity by not letting her paint or play with play-doh because I just don't want to have to clean up the mess.