On Motherhood & Sanity

Monday, May 17, 2010

On impossible choices

Just got back from a lovely holiday –slash- work.

Since I am freelance and can work anywhere as long as there is a computer and internet access, we often end up taking holidays while I’m on a job, which doesn’t entirely work for me, but will have to do, at least until the novelty of being able to do this wears off.

I get three days back home to unpack, wash, sort myself out and repack for a work trip.

What is killing me is that during this trip I will be missing my son’s first day at the nursery. I had two choices:

Door #1- I could fly for my job during their holidays, leaving them home alone with the nanny, dad in the office, no activities, no friends around and no grandma (she was travelling too), and make it back in time for “first day,” or

Door #2- I could take them back home to see their cousins and play in the beach during their two weeks off, work when and however I could around that, and leave when they are back home with their activities, school, grandma, and… miss baby’s first day of school.

I thought the right and selfless thing to do was door #2, so now I have to live with that. For some strange reason remembering that I also missed my daughter’s first day makes me feel better, (as luck would have it, it coincided with the four months I worked during a 3 year hiatus I took to look after them), something about at least being fair and consistent.

So now I am meant to be preparing for my trip, finishing up documents, interviews, schedules and organizing meetings. But instead I am going to the forest and sitting down to watch them push their lunch around, while they recount tales of princesses and frogs that make little sense really. Yes, the eternal guilt, the desire to make it up to them even before I have left.

To make what up to them? The fact that I want to be independent, and feel productive and important, but also that I want them to have a female role model that is strong and economically independent. The desire for them to grow up in a home where daddy and mommy are different, but equal. To ensure that our family always has enough for them, for the right school, for the best doctors, for the holidays with their cousins and the opportunity to run in the sand and splash in sea water during the month of May. That and more is what I have to make up for.

It’s late at night and I am still getting ready for my flight in the morning. I went into their bedroom one last time to tuck them in and watch them sleep. Just going into the room filled me with their smell. I breathed in deep trying to hold on to enough of it to last me two full weeks. Their little bodies laid tired from a fun day, unaware and indifferent to my heartbreak.


Sandrine said...

It is hard. My children's school holidays don't coincide with ours except in the summer, so a lot of the time they're just home with the minder. So I try to take time off, surreptitiously, if I'm not teaching, and of course, feel guilty, because in any job other than academia, I probably wouldn't be able to do that. On the one hand it seems expected of mothers that we do take time off to look after our kids, on the other, if we do, we're unprofessional, and don't deserve to be paid or promoted the same as men. But my husband can also take time off occasionally (same job!) and one thing I'm confident of is that the kids flourish just as much whether they spend time with him or with me. That's one source of guilt I'm lucky I don't have!

lucastieneblog said...

Real como la vida misma de unas cuantas de nosotras. besos

lucastieneblog said...

ésta semana olvidé llevar a Lucas un dia a su fiosoterapia porque estaba comprando cosas para una cestita, Cuando quise darme cuenta no llegaba a por él. Como era a la 3 de la tarde en el cole le habían levantado de su siesta y había gruñido y llorado un montón. Me sentí la peor madre del mundo y estuve toda la tarde dándole vueltas al tema, ni siquiera disfruté del enano y yo creo que él lo notó. Luego reflexioné y me dije que todos tenemos fallos ( hasta las mamis), y que me he propuesto dedicarle todas las tardes al gordito y llevarle a todas sus terapias ( aunque a veces se me pasen! a todo no se llega! ) hay que saber perdonarse uno mismo para poder seguir adelante con ésta vida que llevamos. Un beso. Moni