Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Alarm Clock

That's the earliest I allow myself to get out of bed in the morning these days, though I'm often up far before that.  Why 6:42?  6:30 seems too early for a non-working person, and 7am feels like the middle of the day in my world, so it's a compromise.

It's only been a little over one week since I left my job, and my body refuses to adjust.  Normally (if you could call the life of a working mom "normal") my morning routine was clearly defined:  up before dawn, check email, read the papers, scan the news, squeeze in a workout, prep dinner for the family, get dressed and ready, get Noah dressed and ready, and out the door by 8am.  Whew!  Now, I lie in bed, stare at the alarm clock waiting for it to hit 6:42.  

Don't get me wrong, there's plenty I could and should be doing with my time (aside from watching digital numbers advance).  Baby #2 is due any day and I've yet to wash a single onesie or put clean sheets on the crib.  And everyone tells me I should be resting... because Lord knows that's a word that will soon be removed from my vocabulary.  But right now I feel like I'm mourning the loss of a different word... "job"... and the identity attached to it.  

When I was working I longed to be home with my sweet baby boy.  I came home every night covered from head to toe in a thick coat of Mommy Guilt.  What major (or minor) milestone in his precious life had I missed while chasing down the story of the day?  Would he grow up feeling abandoned and neglected by his mom who spent half the day away?  Now that I'm home I find myself craving the hectic pace of the newsroom, the structured chaos of working up against daily deadlines,  the camaraderie of the team.  I know I'll never regret taking time off to be with my children, but there's another side of me that feels incomplete, and I feel guilty even admitting to that (darn that Mommy Guilt again!).  So where is the balance?  I'll start looking for it again bright and early tomorrow morning.... maybe I'll live on the edge and stay in bed until 6:43.   

1 comment:

  1. Mona...

    I've been taking care of other people's children on at least a part time basis for over 25 years...much of that as a professional nanny. Here's what I can tell you about working vs. not working: What your child absorbs the most is whether or not you are, intrinsically, happy and content with your life. For some moms...this means working. For others...this means staying at home. What is best for your child(ren) is a happy and fulfilled mother...because when their mother is NOT thus, they blame themselves. That is simply how a child's mind works...they can only perceive things in relationship to themselves or their actions. So if mommy is unhappy or unfulfilled, a child mistakenly interprets that as their own failing or shortcoming.

    Far better, in my opinion, for a child to see Mommy's face light up with delight when she comes home/picks him up at the end of the day than for a child to constantly hear "My life is not fulfilling" or "I need to get away from my kids."

    And I promise you...there is simply no way, no possible way, that anyone ever tops you in their hearts. Even if they love and adore their caregiver...Mommy is always their #1.

    I get confronted a lot with this debate. When I'm out and about with my tiny people and someone realizes I'm the nanny-not-the-mommy, there are often comments about the working mom vs. stay at home mom issue. And you know what? You have to ignore all that. Don't let someone else's opinion of your choices dictate how you view your excellence as a mother. Listen to your heart. Your heart knows what is best for you and your family above and beyond what anyone on either side of the debate believes.