Thursday, July 25, 2013

More Confessions of a Working Mama

It’s been a while since I’ve done a serious post, so it’s about time, right? Apparently my blog is full of pictures of my family, sprinkled with thoughts that too often sound like complaints. Like I’ve said before, though, if I can’t write about what’s going on in my head and heart on my own blog, how on earth will I be able to get any relief? Just letting thoughts become solid matter as letters strung together can be cathartic, don’t you agree? Today’s post is a confessional of sorts. And let me warn you, it might make you uncomfortable. It might make you dislike me. It might make you say “what kind of woman/mother/wife ARE you?!” Maybe I’m the only one who’s felt some of the things I’m going to write about here. But if so, that’s OK. Because I’m me. Not perfect, just perfectly me.

Today my mood is reflected in the weather I glimpse outside when I stretch my neck and see out of the window in the office next to my cube. Gray. Damp. Blah. Not very pretty. Gloomy. Sometimes it feels like when my moods are so down, perhaps they are big enough to cause this weather. Once again I am stuck in a cycle of thoughts, wishing I could be at home with my baby. Longing with such ferocity it seems as though my heart weighs a thousand pounds. Last night Olivia was happy enough, but only with her Daddy. She would push me away, and fuss if I got too near. As if she were afraid I was going to steal her away from the only man in her life. The best parent. As if I were the bad guy. Once again my heart cracked. How many of these cracks can it bear before it shatters? I’m thinking it will never shatter. It is so strong with love that it can crack a trillion times and still hold, without wavering, all the heartaches of all the mothers in all the world. As my sweet played with her Daddy, I dutifully did my daily chores. Picking up clutter. Washing her daily dishes. Packing up her food bag for the next day. Packing up her diaper bag. Things moms do. Oh, but I was bitter. “Why do I have to do this every day? Why can’t I come home and immediately play with my baby? Why do I have to waste precious minutes doing “to-do’s” when I just want “to be?” Of course we all know things need to get done. We all know I’m working on my OCD and I’m doing a darn good job of it! (you should see my floors! There are smudges and crumbs everywhere!) But this working mom is over it. We all also know that every part of my life sometimes looks like an emotional tornado swept through, scattering logic, upending normalcy, toppling sanity, from the longing not to have to work. The tornado shoots itself out through my fingers as I slam the cupboard doors in frustration.

Yesterday when I went to pick up my girl from her nanny, she was having so much fun playing. Just running here and there, having a blast, and excited to show me the things she had been doing. Not even wanting to leave! Crack.

This morning I dressed her in a skirt and sandals, but it is uncharacteristically cold, and she needs pants and socks. Why didn’t I think of that? Why did I have to rush around to drop her off and get to a job I don’t even like? Why did Jeff have to bring her adequate clothing? Why isn’t he watching her during the summer, when I would give almost anything to be able to? Crack.

And my mind wanders. And wonders yet again. If I were at home with Olivia, would she have a stronger attachment to me? Would she prefer me over Jeff, even just sometimes? If Jeff kept her during the summer, would she become bored with him, and more excited to see me at the end of the day? If we move and I get to stay home with her next year, will it be “too late” for our bond? Is it ever too late to be a stay at home mom and the benefits that go with it? If we had another baby, could I do something differently to make her love me more? And there it is folks. BAM. We don’t want more kids. I don’t want another baby. And yet, I think about this non-existent, never-to-be child and wonder if she would love me more. Wonder what I could do to create a better, stronger relationship, deeper love. Almost as if I want to replace the baby I do have. My heart. Replacing my heart. Ouch. How could these thoughts make it into my brain? I would NEVER trade Olivia. EVER. Not for a baby who loved me more. Not for ANYTHING. So what is my mind doing? It’s sabotage. It’s my discontent playing tricks. Dirty, unfair tricks.

I take the thoughts back, wrestle with them and turn them around. I remind myself of how good we have it. How special that daddy/daughter bond is. That she really DOES love me. That we are lucky to have two steady incomes and a loving nanny.  The sun peeks out. The clouds part. The rain stops. A vision from two days ago of Olivia pulling my face to hers so she can snuggle me covers over EVERY SINGLE CRACK. And I get excited about going home. Picking her up. Seeing how lucky she was to have such a fun and happy day. Watching her show me, excitedly, what she played with. Looking at how brilliant her smile becomes when she rushes to her Daddy. Appreciating all the support, encouragement and help my sweet hubby gives me each day. (For example, last night after I was finished rocking my sweet baby to sleep he said, "hurry! We have to watch the bachelorette!") Enjoying the special time Cade and Olivia have together, especially when he offers to play with her after dinner each evening, to give us a little more time to finish eating! Cherishing the way their giggles mingle together like music. Taking on the privileged burden of the DOING, the providing and caring and preparing for my family each evening. BEING a mother. And though it may not look the way I dream of it, BEING exactly what I want to be and what I am.


Erin said...

Terri you amaze me! You have the courage and talent to share many of the feelings and thoughts that I too struggle with as a working mom. Thank you for sharing!

Sarah said...

I love you Terri! Thank you for being willing to share your heart and your struggles. We ALL struggle! and I daresay, this parenting gig is nothing like any of us dreamed it would be. But I know you are an INCREDIBLE mama and Olivia is so blessed to have you. And she will know that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Lynns said...

Ter, you are a GREAT Mama!! Olivia is so blessed to have you!! I hear ya though - parenting is TOUGH. We ALL struggle, we ALL have bad days, we ALL have hard seasons. It all just goes along with the territority of being part of the greatest and hardest club you will ever be a part of....the Mom Club. I bet you that someday in the very near future, you will be her first choice. ;) And I would never guess that you aren't from how she acts when I see you together. That girl LOVES her Mama!! And I love her Mama too!! Hang in there, and try to enjoy the ride! :)

mom said...

Terri Lynn, never doubt for one second that Olivia loves you to the moon and back! When I am with you two, I see the beautiful mother-daughter bond that has formed between you and I see how much she loves you.