Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Push and Pull

Good news - Bennett is home now from the hospital! He is doing well so the docs decided he could come home - thank the Lord! You can read about the adventure here if you are bored. Sorry for the typos in my prior post - I sent it from my cell phone. Gotta love technology...

So, this is what I was planning to blog about last night before Bennett changed my itinerary - the perpetual conflict that rages inside the heads of working moms.

My best friend returned to work full time yesterday from maternity after having her first child - a very cute little boy named Elijah. It reminded me of those early days when I was finding my bearings as a working mom and how difficult they were. Not difficult logistically, as in actually DOING it. But difficult emotionally. I wanted to work. But I didn't want to be away from my new baby! But I did want a bit of a break from his incessant crying and some adult interaction.

I actually had a pretty sweet gig going when Carter was born. I started working as a law clerk when Carter was 10 weeks old. I worked 8-4 and never had to bring home work. So, I had 4:30 on each night with him, and of course, the wee early morning hours as well. But that didn't stop me from counting each day how many hours I spent with him. Yep, I would calculate the percentage of his waking hours he spent with me versus away from me. Neurotic much?? The reality is, I wanted the best of both worlds - to get to get out and work on my career and be "me" not just "mommy," and also to be the biggest presence and influence in my son's life. What's so wrong with that??

But the guilt...oh the guilt!! I never felt like I was doing a good-enough job of achieving that delicate balance, particularly after I returned to law school full time when Carter was 6 months old, while still working part-time for my firm and serving as an editor on a law journal (dare ya to try that!) . Work has taken an even more predominant role in my life now that I don't have set working hours, but rather minimum billable hours that I am required (impossibly it seems) to meet. While I don't count hours anymore (I vowed not to do that anymore - its not good for my mental health), the push and pull between work and my children extrapolates with time. Now that I have two (wonderful and amazing) children, that precious time is divided by two. And my energy and focus is divided by 4 it seems.

These days, I find my mind wandering further and further from work and closer to my children. I'd lie if I said my work performance didn't suffer. I can't help it though. I love my babies! But sometimes, I gotta work. Like today. Bennett was discharged at 11 a.m. and I had to relinquish baby care to Ace for several hours this afternoon so I could prepare for a phone conference this afternoon. Bennett, of course, survived and Ace took great care of him. It was hard though, getting my head into lawyer mode, when it was desperately longing to be in mommy mode.

I wonder if men feel this way? Do men agonize about whether or not they are spending enough quality time with their children?? Do men feel horrible guilt over wanting to pursue their own goals and dreams? Are women just hard-wired to feel this way?


  1. i dont think they have that internal battle, because they dont have that maternal instinct. i think they probably have more of an internal battle to remain OUT of the house working and providing, since that is inheritantly their role. and i beleive that this battle of internal battles is what is destroying families these days. it's sad.
    so, my cure? snuggle time. lol. screw work time, screw home time, screw chore time, screw any time other than full on snuggle time with the kiddos, because that afterall is what we are battling our lives away for.
    now my dilema - the battle with the clock..... i hate the clock. lol

  2. Yeah... I hate the clock too Lizzie.

    God created women to nurture and men to provide. So I doubt they have the same torturous push and pull about working vs. being home and having family time. I know Kenny wishes he had more time with us because he works long work hours and then has to spend his nights doing grad. work, but we both know that is temporary so it's "manageable" for us emotionally with an end in sight. Kenny says he just wishes I could stay at home- I think if I were a full stay at home mom THAT would make him feel better- not necessarily HIM being the one at home or with Elijah more...