Disclaimer: This post has nothing to do with desserts. Sorry.
I read an article called Mothers are Drowning in Stress, and I felt so many emotions about it. I even started crying while reading it.
Let me back up a bit – I’ve been fortunate enough to be home with my kids for the past 2 weeks as Vinny has been recovering from an adenotonsillectomy.
As a teacher, I know we have a certain amount of paid days off (personal/sick/whatever) per year, but I always try not to use them since we have built in vacations and days off into the school year. Obviously, people get sick, and I have to use days occasionally, but I’m not taking a day off just to take a day off. (Plus, it’s a whole other blog to talk about writing music sub plans for a non music sub – it’s basically easier to come in sick then to write sub plans.) So, as luck or fate or whatever would have it, Sydney spiked a fever Saturday evening, and, in her usual fashion when she gets a fever, it lasts for about 3 days. She can’t go to the sitter sick, Husband had inservice, my mom is out of town, and no one could stay home to watch Sydney, so I called off. The day I was supposed to come back after Vinny’s surgery.
Now, I’m going to say – in no uncertain terms – this is what I wanted to do. This is what I SHOULD be doing. I’m a mom. Family is ALWAYS the most important thing, and sometimes other things need to take a back burner to your family. This is what I believe. This is what I try to practice daily. This is what I know is true and right and what I should be doing.
So, WHY do I feel so guilty? Why did it take me 5 drafts of an email to say “my daughter is sick, and I need to stay home with her”? Why was the first line of my email calling off an apology?
When I was home these past two weeks, I did some school work. I lesson planned for my subs, I did a lot of work for the musical we’re rehearsing for, I sent out multiple emails, I even recorded some lessons so my 3rd and 4th graders could still practice for their program with a non music sub. I was working while staying home. And I felt guilty for doing that because my kids needed my full attention, and I couldn’t always give it to them.
I love my job. I’ve talked about it before. It’s a great job. I have fantastic students and coworkers. It’s a good place to work. Is it perfect? No, but nothing is. I really feel like I’m in the job I could eventually retire from. And no one has ever once said “you shouldn’t stay with your kid when they’re sick/recovering from surgery/whatever.” My principal even said, “you need to be where your heart is, and your heart will be with Vinny as he recovers.”
Also, I feel like I should mention that Husband is an AMAZING father. He’s so hands on and really a partner in parenting. I also have wonderful parents who love my kids. My mother in law loves my children so much as well.
I’m super supported. At work and at home.
So, WHYYYYY am I super stressed? And why do I feel like I can’t be both a good mom and a good teacher at the same time? And why do I feel guilt and like I’m not spending enough time with my job/students and also that I’m also not spending enough time with my kids? (Forgot any me time or social time or date nights…that’s, again, a subject for another blog.)
I know my anxiety plays into this, but it can’t be the only thing. There’s an enormous amount of pressure put on working moms to literally live 2 lives – the one where they give everything to their job and the other where they give everything to their families. And I totally get you need balance and I understand how to do that, and I think I do a pretty good job of balancing my life. It’s just that I really think, like the article states that there needs to be a societal shift in how we treat families and work. Both are important. Both have tremendous value. Both are able to be done, even at the same time.
I read this quote online that really resonated with me – “We expect women to work like they don’t have children and raise children like they don’t work.”
It’s an impossible expectation. Maybe that’s why we’re stressed all the time. Constantly striving for the impossible can make you crazy.
I don’t know how to end this blog post. I like to end them positively, and so I’d normally say something like, “just keep going, know you’re doing a good job, and blah blah blah.” But I don’t feel like that. I feel like I’m unable to do the impossible. And I feel like SO MANY OTHER WOMEN are unable to do the impossible as well. And instead of changing the system so we don’t feel like this, we’re just told to “stay the course” and “change ourselves.”
Well, that’s impossible. And while I’m good, I’m sorry, I’m just not that good.