Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Facing The Truth

that it's not about me. This is something that motherhood continues to teach me. Over, and over, and over again.

It's always been in the back of my mind, the worry, of when Garrett goes to Kindergarten. I'm not worried about whether he's academically ready because he's been in Montessori school since he was 18 months and the teachers have a done a wonderful job cultivating his mind. I'm not worried socially, too much, because he will be one of the older one's in class and going to school has always been his existence. No, I'm worried about what happens after the final school bell rings.

As a mother who works full time outside the home and lives in a neighborhood where I perceive I am one of the only mothers that does I am worried about not being there waiting in car pool line, or at the front door to walk him back home. I worry about not being there to chat with the other mothers & set up after school playdates. I worry about not being the one to give him snack. I worry about not being the one who sits with him while he works through homework. I worry.

The last year or so I held out hope that I would be able to cut back my hours enough to only work school hours. I held out hope that I could still contribute to my family & fulfill my role as full time mother.

With the reality of Garrett's last first start of a school year at Montessori upon us I realized I needed to stop hoping and start acting if I wanted to make this our reality. However, after a few serious discussions, directly influenced by uncertainty in the economy, it became all too clear that if I were to do this, our life would change in a variety of ways in each alternative scenario. For the first time perhaps we really talked about the changes that we were seriously considering instead of talking around them. Changes that were going to make life more difficult than easier. Changes that would impact us in the long term.

I was beyond upset. I had in my mind what I knew was best for our family, to have me continue working full time and I had in my heart what I thought was best for our son, to have me at home in the afternoons.

And then, I opened my eyes and saw our son. He is happy, insightful, resilient, kind, creative, bright, funny, friendly, articulate (when he's not being silly) & loving. As a child without any siblings he loves being around other children. He is a boy who begs to go to the gym so he can play in sweet abandon. He is a boy who is thriving in his Sunday school class. He is a boy who has been exposed to so much, both academic & life, because he exists in his own individual world while I work full time outside the home.

This is when I realized, this panic & worry in my heart was not about him. It was about me. And the truth is, this is not supposed to be about me. So, I've come to terms with the fact that he will probably attend the after school program at his elementary in a year. I've also come to realize this will at most only make up an hour and a half of his day that, knowing my son, he will love.

Motherhood teaches me over, and over again that this ride is all about him and sometimes I need to give him credit for the amazing little man he is already.



Anonymous said...

Great point of view that many of us working moms share.

ScrappingMomof3 said...

You know, I couldn't justify staying at home until I had my second. You've got a good perspective on it, and sometimes what we want just isn't possible for our family at the moment. One day, you'll get to do it . . . just not yet! Cyber hugs being sent your way.

Katrina said...

I am regularly in awe of what terrific teenagers I have (if I do say so myself)...and I have worked for their entire lives. It has just been a reality that I've had to deal with. You make the best of it...and I know that you are! :)

Jayne said...

I am glad you have come to some peace and if it helps at all - my mother worked my entire life and I have never looked back and thought "if only she didn't" I was proud of the woman she was and I feel happy for all the things it did allow me to do! :)

Leora said...

Great job working this through. It really will be fine, probably even good. I totally understand though. You are a great mom.

Lee said...

You're a great mum, Monica. Garrett is so lucky to have you ... as you are lucky to have him! It's all about adapting and meeting challenges, good for you.

Barb said...

Mommy guilt is a terrible thing. And it's something that's almost always self-inflicted... and the child(ren) would not even think twice about whatever it is that's eating us up inside. I'm glad you've come to terms with this, Monica. You sound like a really, really good mom, and if working full-time is what's best for your family as a whole, then that really *is* the right decision for him.

Wait for it... you'll know you made the right decision when he complains that you're picking him up too early from the after-school program next year! My kids to that all the time. lol

Jana said...

Sending you a BIG cyber HUG. This is one of the toughest decisions a mom has to make. You are teaching him so many things. He will value a working woman more than you know. It's not about the amount of time, but the quality of time you spend with him. My littlest one complains when I pick her up early from her after school program. I'll bet he has a fun time. Know that you are not alone. It will get easier to accept.