A Working Mom’s Guilt
By Guest Blogger Kami Lewis Levin
I’m really trying to take a more Zen approach to life. I’d like to be able to let things roll. I’d like to be able to kick back and relax. I’d like to enjoy a stress-free, yell-free household. Those specific behaviors, however, appear to go against the essence of my being. It turns out, I’m pretty type-A. With a pinch of OCD. And a tendency to get worked up. Like crazy worked up. Generally about really dumb stuff.
But THIS is not about your run of the mill dumb stuff. THIS is important. THIS could alter the empirical nature of my existence on this planet. And although it is very much all about me, THIS might well influence other young moms out there to follow along in my footsteps. Or not. Much depends on your point of view.
You see, I have been wracking my brain, weighing the pros and cons, desperately trying to come to a decision about THIS. I’m searching for my happy place, if you will. For normal people, having the opportunity to choose between two awesome things is a frikkin’ blessing. For me (I’m totally NOT normal people) — it’s utter torture. I’m much better at having decisions made for me. Which is why my husband is in charge of dinner. And food shopping. And pretty much anything that involves decision making of any sort. I swear to God, just watch me painfully deliberate over grape tomatoes versus cherry. And last week, for instance, the networks had the audacity to run Glee and Lost simultaneously. I seriously thought my head would explode.
I know. I have issues.
Ok. Now back to THIS. Now that you have a clearer picture of moi, this is it: I’m an educator. I’ve been working part time since my older son turned one. That was three years ago. Now, my younger son is two and I’m thinking it’s time. To rejoin the workforce. As a 40hr/week participant.
And I’ve been thinking about this. For. A. Year.
Alrighty then… let’s look at this. The money would be great. (Win!) But most of it would go to daycare. (Lose.) More time at work means more productivity. (Win!) More time at work means less time with my kids. (Lose…I think. Well, more often than not, anyway.) Going full time would make me feel like a more effective person. (Win.) But a less effective mom. (Lose lose lose.)
I could go on, but I won’t. For your sake.
My ass (that should definitely be at least two sizes smaller) is sitting on the fence here. And it’s getting kinda sore, people.
What’s a girl to do? Oh the guilt!
And, not to compound the issue but, there’s also the deliberation over whether I like my current job enough to push for full time status or whether I want to look for something else entirely. Like a full time, paid writing gig that would allow me to curse as much as I want. And that would provide me with bottomless mugs of coffee and plated pastries and a life-size replica of fitness trainer Jillian Michaels to scream at me each time I reach for that second chocolate croissant…
When it comes right down to it though, it’s an issue of priorities. Am I a mom first or am I something else first? And if I’m a mom first, does that not inherently make the decision for me? Is it selfish to want to work full time? Is it selfish to want to feel like a mom less of the time? Omigod, am i selfish? Does that mean my kids like daycare better than they like me? Hmmm? (That’s not a rhetorical question, guys.)
I guess I should just suck it up and find out if there’s a full time position available. It never hurts to ask.
Kami Lewis Levin is a Blogger at The Fence and mother of two children, ages one and three, who works part-time. Constantly caught in the tension between working and mom-ing, it is her intention to use the working mom blog to explore that tension in a way that enables other working moms (and stay-at-home-moms as well) to feel less isolated and more validated.
So ladies, what do you think Kami should do? How do you make decisions? When is the right time to go back to work after the kids are born?