Since there seems to be that huge "hot button" issue in the blogging world that pits working moms against stay at home moms and vise versa, I am starting this post with this caveat:
This post in no way means I, as a working mom, am better than any SAHM or have any more/less stress than a SAHM. However, I am a working mom and this is all I know.
Now...to the point of this post...and the chaotic week that we have experienced.
Both Travis and I work. Travis on his tile business, which I am so proud of him for continuing to grow each year despite the poor economy. I work for a mass retail supplier.
I have a great job. I can work from home as needed/wanted. I can leave early to take my girls to dance. I am able to go to things at school and even keep them home when they are sick, all while still working.
However, there are times when I have meetings or people from Corporate are in town. I also travel some with my job. But, overall it's very flexible and allows me to stick to my guns on putting my fleeting time with the girls first. Work life balance is and always will be a priority in my career and something that no amount of money will be worth sacrificing. (I decided that a long time ago and have been VERY diligent in sticking to that. I am lucky I have a husband who is super encouraging and supportive of my career.)
I have always loved to work. I like to be busy and frankly, I would be an awful stay at home mom. I love my kids, but I don't think I would be able to keep them busy EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. I am also an awful housekeeper and that's a big part of staying at home, in my opinion. Working gives me an excuse to have piles of laundry to wash and messy bedrooms. There is only one time a year that I wish I stayed home and it's in the summer. Can I get an amen?
This week though...it's been rough. I have questioned my abilities to juggle it all. I have wondered if I by juggling so much that I am not great at any single aspect of all of our life.
It all started on Tuesday night. I was cooking dinner and Travis was on his way home. Catherine came in the kitchen complaining of a headache. I assumed that she just hadn't had enough water to drink and was slightly dehydrated. So, I put her on the counter to give her some water. She took one drink of water, leaned over and threw up on me, on herself and a little in the sink. At that point, I knew we had a problem. (I mean...duh!) After I cleaned her up, I took her temperature. Sure enough, she had a fever. But, she seemed to be feeling a little better after her little episode. So, I fed her dinner, bathed her and put her in bed. All the while, I was praying she would be better in the morning; 1) no one wants their child to be sick 2) I had people in town the next day and could NOT work from home.
Wednesday morning rolled around and Catherine was still sick. Travis had a job he needed to finish by Friday. So, the great debate started. Would it be better for me to stay home with her or take her with me to work? Finally, I decided to take her with me. The day was long. She was bored, but no one seemed to have a issue with having her there. So, it all worked out and by the end of the work day, Catherine was back to her wild and crazy self.
That night, Catherine and I got home. Travis picked up the other two girls and the minute he walked in the door, he said, "Hannah is complaining of a headache. She seems warm, so I am going to take her temperature." My first thoughts, "You have GOT to be kidding me!" Hannah was standing at the counter with the thermometer in her mouth and lost it right there in the kitchen sink...and on Travis.
(This is where I pause and say how glad I am that neither of the girls puked on the carpet...because that's gross to clean up. And, I laughed a little when Hannah threw up on Travis...he got his turn!)
It was the same situation with Hannah, but this time we knew she wasn't going to be better in the morning. Travis was still working on that same house. I still had people in town and a big meeting that afternoon. So, again, Travis and I worked together to figure out a plan. I took Hannah for the morning to the office with an old nap mat, DVD player/movies and books. At lunch, Travis picked her up and kept her with him at work for the day.
Yes, the meeting was great. Yes, it all worked out. But, holy cow! It was so stressful. I hated having to bring the girls to work with me. I hated it for them because they would have felt better to stay home, watch movies and rest. I hated it for me because I don't want any of my bosses to think I have too much "personal life" to be good at my job. I, even, questioned why we live four hours from my parents, because I know my mom would step up and help me out!
This is just one example of the stress that working moms tend to have...and a majority, if not all of it, is brought on by ourselves. I have this drive both at home and at the office to be the best mom/wife/employee I can be. When this happens to a co-worker or a friend, I understand and give them all the grace they deserve for dealing with the situation at hand the best they can. They do the same for me. So, why can't I extend that same grace to myself?
I know my house will never be spotless. I know that there will be the occasional school function that I miss because of work travel. I know that there will be a team dinner or two that I bail on so I don't miss a softball game. It is a very delicate balance of work and home. Most of the time, I handle it well.
But, for any other moms out there who read this, SAHM or working mom, I need you to know, I am no super mom. I fail more often that I care to admit, despite my best efforts. At the end of the day, I am good at my job, my kids/husband know I love them more than any career opportunity, and Catherine told Hannah, "Going to Mommy's office is boring...except the marker board and that is awesome!".
Today, I will work from home with the girls here with me. Pack for vacation in between conference calls and refilling juice cups. And, I will probably do a dance in the kitchen starting at noon because...IT'S TIME TO HEAD OUT FOR VACATION!