Since I’ve returned to work, I’ve had no less than a dozen people ask me if I’m happy to be back at work. I never know how to answer. I feel like they assume I was just waiting for the day I could escape my children and return to my cubicle. If I say yes, I’m happy to be here, would they infer that I wasn’t happy to be with my children? If I say no, do they then assume that I hate my job?
Truth be told, no, I am not happy to be back at work. Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy that I have a job to go back to in this economy. And if I have to work, I’m glad that I am where I am. I have fabulous coworkers, a knowledgeable boss, and the compensation is really good. But I would like nothing more than to be at home with Hayden and Fliss all day.
The thought that other people are raising my children grates on me. I drop my babies off at 7am and don’t get to see them again until 4pm. That gives me about ten minutes with them in the morning as we all hustle to get ready (Adam is in charge of getting the kids fed and ready for school), and three to four hours with them at night. I feel like a part-time mother.
Not only do I not get much time with my children, but I often feel like they get the worst of me. I use so much effort and energy at work proving my worth, that when I get home I just feel spent. I often feel like I have no patience, no mental capacity to answer Hayden’s billions of questions, no physical energy to get down and really play with them. All the things I love about motherhood are pushed aside. I catch myself sometimes on the laptop while my children vie for my attention. All I want is five minutes to myself. And all they want is some love and attention from the one who bore them.
There is no easy fix. I need to work because we need the money and the benefits. I need to expend energy and effort at work to make sure that I still have a job tomorrow.
The children both go to an excellent daycare centre that teaches them not just colours and numbers, but also how to play nicely with others, how to share, and how to express themselves.
And so my children continue grow. Right before my eyes they change. They learn things that I wish I could have taught them myself. They surprise me nearly daily with the way their little minds are expanding.
I never wanted to be a working mother. I have a project from elementary school that states quite proudly that “I want to be a mother when I grow up.” In a perfect world, I would be at home with my babies every day. I can’t wait for the day that I can walk Hayden to school every day and have a hot lunch waiting for him when he returns. I can’t wait to spend my afternoons showing Fliss the world around her. I yearn to share my love of nature with them on daily walks. I ache to show them the joy of food by baking and making dinner together. These things all seem to get lost in the shuffle when there is only a few hours together before bed time.
I’ll keep buying my lottery tickets. And until that winning day, I’m going to make a more concerted effort to really spend time with them every day.
The laundry, groceries and the rest of the world can wait – tonight I’m too busy being a mother.