I've had an assortment of jobs in my lifetime. I was the buffet girl at Kentucky Fried Chicken (required to wear a bright purple apron with "All You Can Eat Buffet" printed across the front, if you can believe it), tossed pizzas at a mom and pop shop through high school (this skill has come in handy to mesmerize my kids when making dinner), and endured the politics of the contractor-owner-architect relationship on many building projects (friendly handshakes are often followed by high drama). I have to admit though, that this "stay at home mom" gig can get to me like no other job I've ever had.
Of course, the fact that my bosses yell at me and each other on a daily basis and my job requirements include dealing with poo and negotiating sharing among toddlers (turns out an even higher drama relationship than the architect-contractor one), may have something to do with it. However, I think that it might just be the stakes that force me into the occasional mommy meltdown. Sometimes the weight of my immense responsibility just gets to be too heavy to carry. And I need to put it down, shut myself in my bedroom with my computer, forcing my poor husband to take care of the mess.
My husband, G, and I certainly share the big parenting decisions - to spank or not to spank and whether or not to spoil them rotten on their birthday. But I'm home with them every day and all those little decisions - is EC ready to potty train, should LR be allowed to eat yogurt at every meal - come down to me and that can be a scary proposition. Because, let's face it, if my kids are ever on the ten o'clock news, its going to be a picture of me next with the caption "Stay At Home Mom" next to it. People already debate the advantages of staying home with your kids or sending them to day care and I really don't want to give them any points of argument against those of us who are crazy enough to stay home with our kids every day.
G was talking to a co-worker the other day who has high-school aged kids and he said that his wife got a lot of flack for heading back to work and sending her kids off to day care. Ironically, I have gotten some skepticism for leaving a career that I love to stay at home. And I feel, what I'm sure moms everywhere do - the weight of that decision. I have been blessed with two incredible little girls - what if I screw them up? What if all these financial sacrifices and days of monotony end up making my kids less smart than their peers, or worse, sentence them to weekly therapy sessions for the rest of their life?
When the weight of all of that gets to be too much, I do what I did yesterday, throw a tantrum that my daughter - who I played with outside for two whole hours - ensuring that she was thoroughly worn out (as was I!) - napped for less than an hour instead of her usual two. My tantrum continued throughout the evening, which was spent in my bed watching Desperate Housewives reruns on my computer. I needed the escape. Of course, that escape came with a big ol' pile of guilt. My husband doesn't need any more added to his plate either. But yesterday, it was him or me and I had to choose me. Because I knew that this morning, he would be off to work, and I would have to summon the courage to do my job well and to believe that its all worth it.