We recently found a great sitter (can you hear the excitement in my voice?)! In the past we’ve used kids in middle and high school, and while this was okay for neighborhood parties and jaunts, we didn’t feel comfortable heading to a remote spot or anywhere more than a few minutes away. The sitter is in her 20′s, going to college and most importantly, both we and the kids love her!
Many of our important conversations occur over instant message these days, for the sheer convenience, and almost constant contact opportunties. I booked the sitter and asked Rob if he’d like to go on a date with me. He replied rather lacklusterly, and my working-mom-guilt kicked into high gear. I’m gone each day from roughly 8-6 because I commute about 45 minutes each way to the office. Weekends have become precious time when I don’t mind being attached at the hip with the kids most of the time. And it’s this other time, and the fact that we can only talk privately over IM that we need the sitter and the dates.
See, when I think rationally about it, I know we’re doing the right thing. When I returned to work after my first maternity leave, I felt tremendous guilt and couldn’t believe I was leaving a baby at a daycare. I struggled with this and admittedly did not give my job 100% of my attention. The job became mostly about a paycheck, and working straight through the day to pickup my baby. No lunch with friends for me, no going to the gym mid-day for me, no doing errands at lunch for me. This approach made me a hands-on mom, but slowly drove me crazy.
Shortly after I started back to work, I discovered an online group of friends who taught me that I was doing the best thing for my family. I’m an excellent role model for my daughter, to demonstrate that women can support themselves professionally and financially, and who knew, a family too! I have respect from co-workers and clients in my field, and engage my brain each and every day.
The girl is in 4th grade, and during these elementary school years we’ve witnessed parents trying to re-enter the workforce even after a few years absent, and it’s hard. I’m glad that I’ve maintained a career and won’t need to go through the shock of re-entry. The kids are always quick to fill me on what I’ve missed throughout the day (“Guess what Mom, I learned to hit a backhand today!”), and the time I do spend with them is so rewarding, because other parts of me are fulfilled.