More thoughts on being a working mom (or maybe: inside the head of a Type A trying to keep her head above water)

I just found this post that I never published from February. I decided to post it, even though it's unfinished.

Now that I've been back to work for about a month, I find myself, as I do every so often, thinking about stay at home moms vs. working moms. Not to get into the battle of who has it better or worse, because there isn't a better or worse; just different. And different for different women.

I meant to write this post a while ago after I read this. Things Working Mothers Don't Want to Hear. I agree with all of them. But I find that I get these types of comments less and less frequently in my daily life because I'm surrounded by other working parents. I usually get asinine comments when I have to travel because traveling working mothers are more of a rarity.

Anyways, back to thoughts about working motherhood vs. stay at home motherhood. I would be a terrible stay at home mother. My friends who are at home with their kids are deep wells of patience (and my shallow well of patience has all but run dry); or at least that's how they appear on Facebook. Or, they are at the gym. I'm jealous of the gym moms. When I was on maternity leave, I did yoga almost every morning around 7am and it was fantastic. And I had dinner on the table by 6pm because I had more than 20 minutes to prepare said dinner. But that's about all I miss about maternity leave.

Maternity leave for me, as I recently posted on Facebook, was soul crushing amounts of loneliness. With only 3 months away from work (which in my case because I'm planning a major conference, was more like 2ish months of not working), it's hard to go out and join any sort of moms' group because you know you can't be there once you go back to work. At least my mom was in MI for this leave so I had some adult companionship. I'm an extrovert and even though I'm not off the charts extroverted, I still need to be around adults. So I'm happy to be back to work and I'm lucky that I can have adult company and mental stimulation. I'm satisfied that I can plan, execute, and complete tasks. I'm grateful that I have access to daycare even on days when maybe, hypothetically speaking, I need to just phone it in because I haven't had a full night's sleep in 8 months and I'm on my second respiratory virus in a month and I just need to take a nap.

Working moms, though, are thrust into this do all for all people and do it all perfectly sort of role. Those of us who don't HAVE to work are probably a Type A driven sort of woman which is why we've chosen to pursue a career AND have a family in the first place. I certainly fit that mold. I feel like I'm pretty on top of work, which is remarkable considering my 3 month absence, but that's where it ends. I feel like I'm failing at the rest of my life because I'm really tired. Like insanely tired. And some nights after I convince the formerly sweet baby who is now a hot cranky mess to stop crying and the getting better but still likes to push my buttons preschooler to eat dinner, play nicely, and then go to bed, and after I prep breakfasts and lunches for the next day, I'm reminded just how tired I am. At this point in the evening, I know I probably have work to do for my job but when I sit down at the computer, things just get blurry. And I definitely have cleaning to do because my house is so far from being the perfectly organized house of my dreams; so I pick up and wipe down what I can but when I see the sticky finger prints on the table and the legos strewn about on the floor I become overwhelmed and I just choose to ignore it (and try desperately to ignore that little anal retentive voice in my head chastising me). So I walk into my office/craft room and see the quilt that I started making for the baby who was born 4 months ago is sitting folded on a table, only half finished, and I realize that he doesn't use a quilt right now anyways and by the time he will use it he'll want something other than what I've made and I shouldn't have started this stupid project in the first place. By now I'm thinking that I also didn't exercise like I wanted to in the morning because I was up frequently through the night and exhausted when the alarm when off at 5:40 and things got hectic at work so I missed the lunch workout I had planned and so I think to myself, maybe I should try and do some exercise before bed. But the dinner that I inhaled in the 5 minutes that one of the 2 children wasn't crying is sitting in my stomach like a lump. Oh yeah, and I'm tired. So I join Jeff in front of the TV but we're not really watch TV we're on our respective smart phones, him checking sports stuff or texting friends (because he's also worked a full stressful day, dealt with cranky children and wife, and washed the dishes from dinner and is trying to have a few moments of peace before bed) and me on Facebook or checking work emails.  And then I finally decide to just go to bed feeling like I got nothing accomplished that evening and wondering when the baby will decide to wake up for the first that night.  Then the weekend comes and, assuming one or both of us isn't working one or both days, we MIGHT do something fun as a family but most likely we will frantically clean and grocery shop and hope that we're not scarring our children because we don't ever do anything fun as a family.

And I think to myself, is it better to be in this constant state of stress or to feel lonely and starved for adult companionship? No. Neither option is better. Neither option is good.


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