24 September 2007

Working Mother

I am a working mother. Six days into a new job in a new organization.

Each morning I wake up at 6:30 am, hop into the shower, wrestle the kids out of bed, make myself something to eat and make sure everyone else has made themself something to eat. From the main floor of our home, I coordinate when who uses our one bathroom, getting lunches into backpacks, brushing of the teeth and making sure that everyone dresses in layers. From the top level our home, Wifey coordinates the same.

The only thing that varies in our morning routine is who takes the dog out and gets the kids on the bus. And more often than not in the past six days who takes the only travel mug full of coffee to work varies. We have three mugs, only one of which ever manages to make it home at the end of a day.

I go to work and learn what I'm supposed to do.

Today I hit the wall of overwhelmed. In typical non-profit fashion, the responsibilities my one position encompasses ranges from basic office administration to senior managerial functions. I help people take out paper jams from the photocopier while simultaneously mulling over key strategic positioning for the organization.

My department consists of two and the occasional addons. Me, my one staff person, and a small rolodex of contractors.

Our regularly scheduled days are 8.0 hours with 0.5 hours scheduled for lunch. I eat my lunch at my desk and end up sticking around for another 0.5 to 1.0 hours.

I have to leave no later than 5:15 pm to pick up the kids at their after school program. Since I have the luxury of taking our one car to work everyday, I have to drive to the school. We walk through the front door close to 6:00 pm.

Dinner needs to be made and eaten, the packing of lunches coordinated and the completion of homework overseen. The munchkins head up to their rooms to quietly read at 8:00 pm and the 8:30 pm it's lights out.

I have so little time with the kids now. The distance has grown and I no longer feel like I know what's going on in their lives and in their minds. They're done with their days, talking about what happened and re-living the good and not so good parts by the time we sit down to eat. Only, I'm no longer taking part in the re-living.

Bella dumped her boyfriend. We spent a long time talking about their relationship over dinner out on Friday evening. They had been kissing at school. She was kissing him more because she had to, than she wanted to. Affection bred from expectation. She liked the idea of having a boyfriend more than who the boyfriend actually was. She came to the conclusion that he wasn't the right guy for her.

Bubaloo seems to be doing better at school. I had a long chat with the spec ed coordinator before I returned to work and her observations of what was happening in the classroom matched mine. We also shared the same feelings on the matter. We're going to try to work on the inside track before I escalate my concerns. As a first step, the classroom EA is developing a workshop on ODD. I'm shocked she asked us for resources. My more cynical side thinks she only asked as a ploy to make us aware of what they're doing. That would make her smarter than I've given her credit for.

I'm a working mother and I don't know how other working moms do it. There's never enough time, but time is all about what you choose to do with it. Different choices would mean different time allocations.

The hardest part is being one person in a household of three others and feeling like we're all living separate lives that don't overlap or intertwine.

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