Tuesday, September 28, 2010
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.