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Monday, October 12, 2015

Heartbreak or Just a Break?

If you've been reading (any of this), you know I'm a married, working, traveling mom of a three-year-old boy child. Every week I leave my little dude in the very capable hands of daddy, preschool and our babysitter. The order varies. That said, I have spent a fair amount of time worrying about what happens when I'm "not there". Now that I'm a few years into this crazy journey, what I've learned is...HE'S FINE. He's fantastic with Daddy, he's perfection at school and the babysitter thinks he was plucked right out of the clouds like one of those precious little cherubs you would see in a painting in a museum that I ain't got time to visit. I'm happy to remind her (and anyone who will listen) that he did not, in fact, pop down from the sky but, rather, right out of this mess of a lady. Yes, the same lady who's very capably running down her monthly work calendar while pulling play doh out of her hair. His dark curls and shiny brown eyes...yep, that's me. 22 hours of labor. My excruciating little miracle. 

I'm also learning that no matter what I'm doing or where I am, I am constantly straddling two worlds... One called "motherly guilt" and the other called "finally by my damn self". Last week I cried on the floor of some random airport (can't remember which) because I had missed Dallas's first costume parade at his new preschool. Now, this is completely silly because not only is this the first parade-type-event that I have missed so far...in his life, but I have also consciously and with great thought chosen a career path that means I will most certainly miss a few more. Nonetheless, there I was sobbing into the phone, tears (and other eye makeup) streaming down my face. Motherly guilt hit me in that moment like a shit ton of bricks. And I was super pretty while it was happening.

Now juxtapose the me crying on dirty airport carpet tiles to the me that gets to live in the "finally by my damn self" world. So, look...writing this mommy blog thing is sort of predicated on me committing to total and complete honesty about my opinions on motherhood, marriage, work-life balance, etc. So I'm going to say this and then not apologize for it. Sometimes I look forward to being gone. Gasp if you must...judge as you will. I know it sounds insensitive and in complete contradiction to that whole "motherly guilt" thing I was just talking about. Here's the thing... When I'm home, I am in it 110%. The sheer number of times the word "Mommy" is spoken in varying tones and degrees of pitch would make anyone who doesn't currently have children strongly second guess the patience level required. Eighty-seven times a day (each) it's "Mommy, I want a snack" (I literally just paused while writing this because he asked for applesauce) and "Mommy, do you want to play with my Batman set?" and "Mommy, pitch the ball to me" and "Mommy,YOU follow ME down the stairs" and "Mommy, Frazier stepped on me" and "Mommy, blow bubbles with me" and "Mommy, I thought you wanted to snuggle with me" and "Mommy, 8+8 is 16" and "Mommy, I need to go potty - can you turn the light on?" and countless other questions, random information, not-so-subtle suggestions and bossy demands that I can't quite remember in this moment. And Mommy is the preferred bath giver and bedtime putter downer. Yes, that's a thing. Because I said it is. Hey, Daddy tries. And not like in a half-ass way. He really tries. And every now and then, I'll get a free pass on bedtime. But then it's really just me opening that bottle of wine an hour earlier and sitting on the couch by myself. Not a serious win, really. 

What really kills me about the whole thing is that the old "grass is greener" adage really does hold up. Being away is either a much-needed break or it's breaking your heart. When I'm in that airport living in the "finally by my damn self" world, I'm wishing I were home and not at all enjoying or taking any advantage of actually being alone and free. Is that because I'm working? Sure. But I should at least get one of those damn airport massages or something! And when I'm home, whether it's because he's three and a half and crazy or for whatever reason, I'm feeling completely overwhelmed by not having enough time to myself. Like there's not a minute to stop and breathe. No parent is EVER exaggerating when they talk about not being able to go to the bathroom by themselves. Please do not misunderstand this fact. I have walked from one room to the other while Dallas (completely capable of walking at this point) clung onto one leg. I was probably on a conference call. Shit is real. 

Like I said early on in this, I'm no unicorn. My experiences as a working parent are not magical or exotic by any stretch of the imagination. I do believe, however, that it's hard to admit to our selfish tendencies and temptations. At one time or another, we all want to just run away from home like you planned (or maybe even did) when you were seven. I get it. It's a shitty feeling. But I say recognize it, let yourself really feel it and embrace it. It's the real you and that's ok. And it's the you your kid runs to when you come home. So, who the hell else are you gonna be? My stock answer to that one is Olivia Pope...until the next "Mommy" slaps me back to reality. 

What am I gonna do with all those fabulous coats anyway?

Stay sane and try your best to enjoy those breaks!


  1. Yes I get it. I stay at home and I can't wait to get a moment to myself, but when I do I miss my littles!

  2. Yes I get it. I stay at home and I can't wait to get a moment to myself, but when I do I miss my littles!