Monday, April 21, 2008


Not the Aztec kind, in which a warrior's still-beating heart is ripped out of his chest to pacify the gods of rain...

I'm talking about the kind in which a working mom's heart is, metaphorically speaking, ripped out of her chest to pacify the corporate gods...

Does every mom who works outside of the house go through this? Recently, I was offered a new promotion at work, and along with the (little bit of) extra money and snazzy new title comes a whole shit-ton of extra work. Hour-long lunches are a distant memory. Two Saturday mornings a month are spent at work rather than at home snuggling with my kiddo. Sneaking out of work a couple minutes early to savor a few extra moments in the evening with the family is out of the question. Nights spent watching toons with Gracie are less frequent than nights I spend in front of the computer running reports.

What does a mom do when she HAS to work outside of the home? She works, and she does the best she can, and because of that, she is recognized and rewarded with a promotion. And then she suffers, because her real, most important job suffers.

Sacrifice means different things for different people. In the corporate world, you sacrifice precious family time to go above and beyond at work. It's just expected of you. You miss out on Saturday morning cartoons and donuts so you can make money for The Company. You drag yourself around, exhausted and dazed and frustrated, just to do it all again tomorrow. And, your heart breaks when your baby wakes up in the morning, hoping she will maybe get to spend the day with you, and you have to tell her, "Mommy has to work again today."

Or, you don't work or don't take the promotion and you sacrifice all of the extra stuff that you're used to. The new clothes. The vacations. The new lap top. The concerts. All of the fun stuff that you couldn't afford if you didn't work. Is that stuff all that important? I don't think it is...

I talk to working moms all the time that tell me they LOVE to work and travel and hang with the boys and I wonder if I have an unhealthy attachment to my child. Is it abnormal for me to want to spend at least half of my time with her? I'm starting to wonder if it is.

I think I know what I need to do, but I am afraid. Afraid if I turn down the promotion, I will lose respect among my coworkers, and worse, my job. Wondering if I should suck it up and soldier on. Deciding which sacrifice will be less painful and hoping I have the balls to make the right decision.


Carrie said...

I think you know the answer is NOT that there is something wrong with you for wanting to be with your child. I think it's horrible and outrageous what American companies expect of employees these days. Have you read "The Price of Motherhood"? You should.

Not that I could tell you what to do. There are tough parts of both staying home and working. All I can say is that you are very right that work/life balance is just as important as other aspects of your job, and if you aren't getting a good balance, that is a problem. Not to hit below the belt, but it's true: She'll only be little a short time.