Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Internal Struggle

The week before last, I got a call from school that Zach was kind of complaining about his ear- complaining enough that it warranted a phone call. I had just come back from my business trip and leapt immediately into action- made the doctor's appointment, rushed through wrapping up work for the day, and took off to get my baby boy and help him feel better. It's been 10 days. School just called. It's back. And worse this time. He's a puddle on the floor, curled up under his blanket, not wanting to dance or sing or play or even move. I called and got him a doctor's appointment for this afternoon. And then the fretting started. This is a common situation for a working mom to be in. If I was a stay at home mom, there is no question about what happens next. I go to school and wrap him in my arms and take him home for soup and then to the doctor's and then to th pharmacy and then home again for cuddling and TV and lots of TLC and smooches. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, as Teagan says. But it doesn't work that way when you are a working mom. I call Jeff and fill him in. He steps up- his schedule is such that he can easily go get Zach, take him to the doc, bring him home. Which chould be a weight off my shoulders- Daddy loves Zach, Zach loves Daddy, Daddy will take good care of Zach, Zach will get to the doctor and get a new antibiotic going right away. The employee side of me knows this is the best option. I took the last sick call. I missed half a day of work for it. I have obligations to my job and my employer. The wife side of me also knows this is the best option. Jeff and I really work to be parenting partners and not a home that is run by me and everyone has to do what I say. Jeff and I both love the kids and have great concern for their well being. We both want the hugs and kisses. We both stay up at night when there is vomit. We both struggled through labor and delivery and all night crying sessions and cracked nipples and so on. Jeff has never left me to deal with "woman's work." He's always been right beside me along the way. But the mommy side of me... the mommy side of me is anguished. I want to run to my baby boy. I want to hold him and be there in the doctor's office. I want to get him his favorite foods and tuck him into bed for a nap. I hate that I can't just up and go. If it was a serious illness... if he was throwing up, feverish... I'd go. My kids truly do come first. But my job is important. Jeff's job is important. When a minor illness comes up, there is always a sense of trying to decide on what the balance needs to be. Can I, less than 2 weeks later, take off for another afternoon without bringing down wrath from higher corporate powers? And what if something far more serious comes up 2 weeks later? Of course, I'm also less effective in my job this afternoon. I'm distracted and thinking about Zach at home and wondering how he's doing. I guess in some ways I appear more efficient because I am doing a lot of busy work to keep me occupied. It's a delicate balancing act and it's hard to know if the right choice is being made each time a decision pops up. The worst part... you know, I'm usually a pretty low key, fun, confident person. But when something is wrong with my kids and I can't be there myself... all those other doubts and fears creep in and it can get pretty ugly in my head. I know I'm just being emotional when I beat myself up like this. I know it's just my stress reaction to what is going on. But it sucks. So that's my internal struggle. By the time you read this, chances are that Zach has started his drugs and is back to normal. Heck, hearing him over the phone once Jeff had him, I knew he had perked up. No fever and he isn't acting sick anymore. Tonight, I might even be tempted to edit this or not even post it because I'll feel like I'm over-reacting. But this is how I'm feelnig right now as this story unfolds. This is what it can sometimes be like to be a working mom. All moms have hardships. All moms deal with stress. All moms have hard choices to make. This is just a little glimpse into the inside of this mom's head. Photobucket

11 comments:

mimbles said...

Tom had an ear infection last week and all he wanted to do was cuddle up on the lounge with me and sleep. He didn't need me per se but he certainly wanted me. I totally get where the struggle comes from. *hugs* for you and Zach.

Garret of Jim and Garret said...

Ummmmmmmmmmm. Hi. I had nothing to say - I can't relate but I certainly can understand.

Katherine said...

It is hard. I'm not the one who gets to be with them when they are sick, I'm not the one who takes them to appointments. We do what is best for our family, but sometimes I want to give into the mommy side and stay home and cuddle my sick little ones.

Carol said...

((HUGS)) I can totally relate. I've been in that position before. It's a delicate balance. For what it's worth, garlic oil has worked wonderfully for Alyssa to help keep the EI's away if she's stuffy and to help them go away once they start. I hope he feels better quickly!

Julie said...

With my first two kids, I was like you...except daddy was home in the summer, vacations, etc. and I always felt I was missing out even though he is a great dad and can do the doctor thing just as well as me.
With our third, the roles flipped and he was working more and I was home full time. Guess what...he missed being "mom"! I think it is great when two parents can work together and share parenting like you do. Zach was in great hands but I do understand.

kbiermom said...

There's nothing as good for a mommy's heart as being the one to make it all better, so there's nothing like the heartache of missing out on making it happen, either. Our heads and our hearts disagree sometimes. But tonight your heart will be glad it let your head win this morning. :)

Yesterday I caught flak from the orthodontist for rescheduling ds' appt -- the time conflicted with my volunteer job at church. They asked, "is there anyone else who can bring him?". Um, no. It hadn't even crossed my mind to bring dh into the loop on it. I think dh has taken our kids to the dr once or twice, maybe? In fourteen years of parenting! Not that that's inherently terrible -- it's just that if he had to, he would be caught flat-footed, and that's not good for any of us, really. You guys rock at keeping it balanced, even when it's rough on your heart sometimes.

lisleman said...

ear aches not the worst thing but so uncomfortable. I still have memories of them as a kid. My now adult daughter had them often as a toddler and she eventually had tubes and all that.
Last weekend plans were ruined for her because of an ear infection and I was concerned for her. She is a grown married woman now but maybe the memories take me back to her little girl time when I heard this.

~ Lori ~ said...

I think that as the Mom we have this genetically ingrained need to make them feel better...when they're sick, when they hurt, when they're mad. That's just what we DO. That's why Mom's exist! So, when the other side of Mom's life conflicts with the nurturing side, it's a struggle. Feel blessed that you have a husband that you can confidently turn this over to and know that Zach's OK, Jeff's OK, and you are not going to have to worry about employment issues because of missing too much. I know it's hard, but keep in mind that by letting Jeff handle today's crisis you will worry less about handling the next one when it arises. Hang in there woman...you're doing a GREAT job!

Huckdoll said...

Aw, Liz. I soooo get this, and to be completely honest, that "fretting" is what led me away from my career in the city and back to my girls at home. Daycare was just insane in the winter months. And all that sickness times two (twins). I absolutely couldn't do it anymore, so I didn't.

I'd like to think now that my girls are a little older and it could be done with a career closer to home, but still ...

All that fretting. I'm still not ready for it :)

Major ((hugs)) miss.

KellyNY said...

Hi there! Thanks for the comment on the 5K challenge. If you can do something on Nov. 14, please go ahead and do it. But kudos to you for doing a 5K the weekend before!

Amy Kalk said...

I've been there, Liz. There are few things worse than when your kid is sick and you aren't the one there.

But you are very, very lucky. You have a wonderful husband and father of your kids who plays an equal role in the parenting (and life in general) game. When I was a working mom, I would cringe every time I got paged for a phone call--praying it wasn't daycare calling to tell me I needed to come pick up Holly because she was sick. I was placed on attendance probation more than once in Holly's first 4 years. It at times was nearly unbearably stressful.

So even if you aren't in a position to be the one to go rescue your sick kiddo from time to time, be thankful that you have a parenting partner in your life who can. And I know you are thankful, but I guess I'm just saying that it could be 1000x more stressful all-around.

Hope the little dude is feeling better!