January 7th: How can I be happy on both sides of the fence?

Snow day! A day home with my twin toddler ladies and their four year-old big brother. On any given weekday, this is the stuff dreams are made of! It is an all-too-common feature of modern motherhood to be torn between two worlds, the world of home and the world of working adults. And the guilt is always greater on the present side of the fence!

Although I find my job both fulfilling and enjoyable, I miss my kids terribly and suppress the ever-present guilt of sending them to “full-day early preschool” (daycare). I daydream of how much life would be better, my kids would be better, if I were a stay-at-home mom. And yet today, after the honeymoon period of breakfast, some finger painting, and a few stories, and about 30 minutes into the nap wars, I found myself watching the clock.

I work part-time but occasionally take on additional side projects that offer me flexibility and build my resume. This evening, I’m gearing up for a ten-hour work day tomorrow. I’ll get away for an hour or so mid-day to take my kids to their after-school activity and prepare snacks for the group, and then head off to another work commitment. And that, besides the morning rush, will be the end of my interactions with them tomorrow. And I’ll feel sad. Sad for me, sad for them.

I have little to complain about, and a lot to be grateful for. The choices are pretty clear: working full time, working part time, staying home (and turning my thermostat to 60 degrees, feeding my family ramen, and applying for Medicaid!). I chose working part time, in education, thinking I’d have the best of both worlds. Sometimes it seems like I feel the worst of both worlds, too. But how much of this is in my head? How can I have faith in the “whole package” that my kids are getting, and that I’ve given myself, while being content any day of the week?

Maybe there’s green grass all over, if you look carefully enough.


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