Today, I’m 0 for 3.
I was present for zero meals with my girls. The sitter made breakfast, lunch and dinner. I did not get to ask them how they slept, how school was, or how they napped. I had minimal interaction with the girls today.
This led me to ask myself the dreaded question: is this all worth it?
I tell myself my work is important. I believe that I am setting a good example for my girls as well as keeping a roof over their heads, food in their bellies and access to all of the basic necessities of life. I also think that someday they will ask me for a new pair of boots, to play sports, or to have a birthday party and I will be able to provide these things without hesitation, assuming they are deserving at the time. I believe that having fun vacations will create memories that we wouldn’t otherwise have without my income. Lastly, I want them to learn that it is okay to have a passion and do what they enjoy, even if it means they may have to sacrifice time with those they love.
But again, is it worth it? As I sit here and watch S at gymnastics wearing a slightly too-small leotard with her Elmo undies hanging out, I have to wonder, “if I worked just a little less today, would I have remembered her shorts?”
I try to anticipate how my work will affect the girls as they grow up. Would they rather have more of my time day-to-day opposed to having tangible rewards? Am I spoiling them with “things” opposed to spoiling them with love and attention? Am I being selfish by doing something I love instead of spending time with the people I love?
My last question is: do they even care???
Sure, when I walk into the house after work I am greeted by screams and hugs, “mommy’s home!!!” But does this mean they missed me? Were they sad that I was at work? Someday will they be resentful of me taking care of others’ family members instead of my own?
I’ve been working since both girls were 4 weeks old. They don’t even know what it means to have a “stay at home mom.” In fact, they get a bit confused when I am home during the week. Truly, they seem comfortable with the routine we have created, but I still worry about the effect it has on them.
I tell myself that I am teaching them to be strong, independent women. I want them to know that they can do anything they put their mind to (within reason.. it must be legal). I have a goal of them WANTING a significant other, not NEEDING one to survive (emotionally or financially). I hope my girls are learning that from me.
That being said, I am strong and independent and my mom didn’t work outside of the home… it’s hard not to second guess my decisions.
Everyday I stress about how to raise the girls. I don’t want them to feel second fiddle. I want them to know how much they mean to me and how much joy they bring me. I hope that the time we have between work and bedtime is quality time, and that it fills their hearts with enough joy to last until I see them again the following evening.
I hope they will forgive me when I miss their field trips, plays, classroom celebrations and understand that I am doing my best. I also hope that I can find a comfortable balance between work and the girls. Mostly, I hope my work is impacting them in a positive manor and not harming them in any way.
For now, I will continue to tell myself that I am teaching the girls a lesson that cannot be learned from books: we have to make sacrifices everyday and sometimes what we love the most has to be sacrificed in order to follow through with our obligations.
And on a lesser note, I may not have been home, but the kids DID receive breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and for that, I’ll call today a win.
an addendum- I hope no moms were offended in the reading of this post. I can only relay my experience, and that consists of working outside of the home. Stay-at-home moms, you amaze me.