Olive (our two year old) goes to a little preschool four days a week from nine to noon. As I am sure you have all experienced, the morning hours can quickly get away from you. The hours between seven and nine seem to be the shortest hours of the day for us. By eight thirty, Olive is dressed and sitting in my lap at my vanity helping me do my “may may” (her word for make-up). Even though this ritual includes a daily mishap (an eyeliner Charlie Chaplin mustache or a broken compact) it’s still one of my very favorite parts of the day. Stressful and often messy – it’s also sweet and special. Shortly after “may may”, it’s time to run out the door and start the workday.
Three hours of nose to the grindstone passes quickly. As noon arrives, Brett and I assess who is less engrossed in a task. The parent with an easier stopping point leaves the office and heads to her school. On my days, Olive accompanies me to pick up a fresh diet coke at Sonic and then we head to the house, read a few stories, prepare for nap time and wait for our afternoon childcare to arrive. She understands the process, and when I am there she calmly and completely unbothered asks, “Dada wok?” I smile and confirm. I don’t think a thing of it. I honestly believe that she doesn’t think a thing of it. She knows that Dada will be there later and that the next day he will most likely pick her up. She is confident, secure, and happy with the situation.
When Alma, our afternoon help arrives, Olive intuitively says, “Bye bye mama”. She knows the drill and it breaks my heart. Everyday, it breaks my heart. Why am I so comfortable with her understanding that “Dada woks” and so uncomfortable with her understanding that I also work? Why am I overcome with guilt that I am failing her when I feel it is totally fine for Brett to be working?
In my experience, just because it has become more common for mothers to work outside of the home, doesn’t make it any less painful. We (mamas) talk all the time about the balancing act, the exhaustion, and the failed attempts to make a healthy dinner – but for me (and I believe for so many of us) it’s the heartbreak of saying goodbye ALL the time that really overwhelms me as a mom.
Is the quality over quantity real or am I just telling myself that to relieve the sting of hearing “mama woks” when I walk out the door? Is Olive going to be proud of what Brett and I are trying to build with BURU or is she going to resent it? Or perhaps a bigger fear – that she will just resent me. I wonder if I am the only mama who feels this way. Am I the anti-feminist feminist – living in the 2010’s with the mindset of Donna Reed.
My own questions exhaust me. My lack of confidence in my choices concerns me. I really believe in BURU. I believe in its potential, and I believe that someday it will be an opportunity for Olive (if she wants it). Start-ups are hard. Hell, all jobs are hard (they’re jobs). Maybe I am so conflicted because in my youth I presumed I would be a stay-at-home mom. The truth is, I am not cut out for the job. And it’s this truth that troubles me. It’s this truth that makes me ask myself daily, “Am I a good mom?”
When we get home at the end of the day, Olive runs to the door. Her arms are full of books and her mouth can’t keep up with all the stories that her brain wants to tell us. Her first words are always, “hi mama!” – followed by scattered tails of what she did that afternoon. She is so excited to tell me. We plop on the couch almost immediately and begin reading the books in her hands. And then, my questioned is answered. I may not be a perfect mom, but I am a good one.
Are you a mama who “woks”? Are you questioning your every move? If so, you are certainly not alone. From one to another – you are doing great! We should all tell each other that more often.
Image courtesy of Eden Ink Photography
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