Thursday, May 15, 2008

Working Mom

I had to think about my title. Working Mom. Aren't we all working mom's? I mean, being a mom is a job in and of itself dontcha think?

Regardless, I am now a "working mom." I took on a temporary job that is set to last 8 weeks. I have just completed my second week. It's been nice getting out of the house after 5 years of definining myself only as "Mom of Thomas." Having an income is nice too.

The first week was hard. The work was hard. Being on my feet all day was hard. Being away from Thomas was hard. But hardest of all was when I got home and Thomas wanted nothing to do with me. Hard was watching my baby boy look at me with tears in his accusing eyes. I can only wonder what he was thinking. I tried to prepare him for this, but really how do you prepare a child for something like this when explanations cannot be comprehended? At first I thought taking the job was a mistake. How could I do this to my poor sweet boy, how can I leave him in the care of someone I've only met twice? How can I entrust his care to someone else when I am the one who knows what each sound he makes means, I am the one who knows what he wants, I am the one he looks forward to seeing as he gets off the bus?

I went in on my second day because I had made a commitment and I needed to honor that commitment. But I wondered the entire day how Thomas would look at me when I got home. Tuesday he was being watched by a good friend who he was already familiar with. Would that make a difference? I walked in the door wondering what type of reception I would receive. Once again he didn't really want anything to do with me. His indifference to me tore at my heart. I told my husband I didn't know if I could continue with this job if it meant hurting Thomas like this, hurting me like this. I was granted some cuddles at bedtime, but then he began to cry as he was drifting off to sleep.

I have made a horrible mistake taking this job. I will have to quit. It's not worth it in my eyes, commitment or not I have to quit.

I decide to finish out the week and see what happens. We have agreed to work ten hour days so that our week is just four days instead of five. Wednesday I come home and am greeted with a smile. It seems Thomas might be getting used to this new setup. He is still not coming to me voluntarily, but will come when I ask him for a hug or a kiss. Progress.

Thursday is much the same as Wednesday.

Friday is my day off and Thomas and I get to spend the whole day together. Just me and Thomas. We go to the grocery store and McDonald's, then come home and watch the game show network. He cuddles with me, kisses me, crawls up to me and wants to be held. My heart no longer hurts. I think to myself "we can do this, this will work."

So now it is the end of another week of being a working mom. Thomas has adjusted so well. He is beginning to trust his Monday/Wednesday babysitter and has grown to adore his Tuesday/Thursday babysitter. My days are shorter because my team now knows what we are doing and can get things done faster. I get to come home earlier to my sweet boy and am greeted each day with smiles, hugs and kisses.

This job has taught me a lot about what it takes to be a working mom. To go to a job outside of the home all day and work until I am bone tired. Then to come home and take care of a child and a house. I have also learned that a full-time day job is not something I can do on a regular basis. I have managed to arrange all of Thomas' upcoming appointments for Fridays or Saturdays, but that isn't always possible. I will have to miss his end-of-year field trip. I may have to miss his end of year preschool olympics.

I am lucky to have a husband who is being very helpful with the housework. I am also lucky to have a husband who is able to support our family without needing additional income from me in order to survive. So while I am enjoying being a working mom, I am looking forward to returning to my stay at home mom status.

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