There are many pros and cons to being a working mom. I miss my kids when I’m at work, and sometimes I feel sad over how rushed the evenings feel when we get home. Not to mention that Pumpkin crawled for the first time and Peanut rolled over for the first time when they were each home with their dad, and I wasn’t there.
The truth is, though, I enjoy working. I like what I do, and I get some fulfillment out of it. I enjoy that some days I get to have lunch with a friend or colleague uninterrupted, or make a solo trip to the store on the way home. And I’ll let you in on a little secret: Peanut goes to a school with extended hours and meal service, so every once in a while, if Pumpkin gets picked up by Grandma or a friend, Mr. G and I will let Peanut stay at school for dinner so we can go out to eat, just the two of us.
There are times it’s harder than others, of course. Early on in the school year, I signed up for the Fall Festival committee at Pumpkin’s school. Then I found out Mr. G was working the night of the event. Then an all-day meeting was scheduled for my department the same day. Then I found out after-care had to close early to allow staff to set up for the festival. I did help with the prep work in the weeks before, but I let the committee know I probably wouldn’t be able to help on the day of. The evening was a total scramble but I was lucky to have the help of friends and my mother-in-law and pulled it off, arriving just in time to get Pumpkin in her Project Runway costume before the contest (and she won for most unique!).
But in the in between time, something happened that frustrated me. It’s a silly little thing, but as a working parent, it bugged me. A friend asked if she would be seeing me and the girls at the Downtown trick-or-treat on Friday. I assumed it was in the evening, and said I’d be at the fall festival. No, she told me, it was from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. I, of course, had my all-day meeting and there was no way I was going to make it. But even if I didn’t … I wouldn’t pull Pumpkin out of school for that. Peanut, maybe, except that I can’t just leave work in the middle of the day to trick-or-treat. Between pick up and drop off and costumes … it would take forever. I recalled that a few months ago I was looking for story time at the library and they were all during the day during the week (currently it looks like there are some more Saturday options). Same with mother-baby yoga classes. (Also, a cousin recently told me her school’s PTA holds their meetings at 4 p.m.!) I remember feeling that everything was set up for stay-at-home parents. I felt a little left out that I couldn’t enjoy these same activities with my kids.
The good news is, I planned ahead and requested Veterans Day off months ago, so next week, during the day, during the week, I will be able to take my girls to the parade and enjoy the day with them. But that’s not going to be the case with every school event, every field trip, every break or holiday.
We certainly pack a lot in on the weekends, but I know there will be many more times to come that I will feel like I am missing out on something with them because I am at work. But on the flip side, I’m sure I’d feel like I was missing out on something if I was home full time, too. You just can’t have it both ways.