We’re already into week three of our new family routine and I’m just starting to emerge from the haze. Amoxicillin is owed part of the credit after two weeks of suffering a sinus infection. The rest, is owed to being able to finally catch-up on my to-do list. Not that I’ll ever get to the end of it, but progress is being made. And that progress is a result of finally accepting that…
I am a working Mom.
Though I’ve been a working Mom since last April, it’s something I’ve struggled with daily. The struggle has been not only a mental, guilt-ridden one, but a physical, office-challenged one. Working from home with a two-year-old afoot would prove to be more than a minor trial, my roles shifting from minute-to-minute. An attention-starved, hungry, nap-time toddler cares not that you’re on a deadline or that you have a very important client on the other end of the phone. Your computer is her competition and she’ll do whatever it takes to get in between you and it. And even though we are a two-parent-at-home family, that never seemed to help in carving out what was my “work” time and what was my “mommy” time. It all blends together. After all, you’re there, why can’t you change this diaper or take care of lunch, help with the laundry or read The Very Hungry Caterpillar? No matter how hard I tried, I was never successful at setting “office hours” that everyone else in the family would dutifully observe.
After 10 months, we have finally reached a crossroads. Danny is about to return to work as a pilot after two years of FAA-enforced medical leave. We will no-longer be a two-parent-at-home family. It’s just gonna be me. And, while at the beginning of this return-to-work-adventure I had no idea whether this would be a short or long-term commitment, it is clear now that to do what’s best for my family means I’m in it for the long-haul. And, my “office hours” were about to get even shorter. We had one thing working for us: Reagan turns three this month. And three, means preschool.
We spent several weeks exploring our options. I took Reagan with me for a whole day, visiting four preschools where she not only got to try out the classrooms, but the playgrounds too. Our favorite was the school where she got to dress as a cowgirl and pass the rope and spurs around to the rest of the kids. When the teacher called for everyone “wearing pink” to get in line, she got up and ran to her place in line as if she were already part of the class. As I put her to bed that night, she asked “Mommy, we go to more preschools tomorrow? Find Reggie’s best!”
And, we did. Reagan now goes every day to a full-time, in-home pre-school/daycare and gets the very best care, play-time, nap-time and education that we found available. I’m thrilled that she’s taken on weekly outings to puppet shows, skating rinks, the zoo and more, and comes home every day with amazing art projects and singing new songs. She loves learning, exploring and playing with other kids all day, and no doubt, would’ve been happier had we done this 10 months ago. I miss her every moment she’s away and wish I could be the one doing all those things with her. But, the time apart has also made it easier for me to accept my role as a working mom and given me the clearly defined office hours I so desperately needed to fulfill that role. And when Reagan’s home from her day of reciting the alphabet and doing the Hokey Pokey, the night is all mine. It’s all mommy time.