Tuesday, September 20, 2011

When being a working mother hits home

There are times when I sink into my work, grappling with how to up the ante, how to streamline processes, think of something that hasn't been thought of yet that needs improvement, how to take an extra weight off of my boss's shoulders, how to help heal some wound, how to invest another ounce of love or vision into that office.

Other days I grapple with the books I'm reading, a recent blog I've discovered that's pushed me to think again about some topic, or about my longing for liturgy, or some philosophical question or counseling methodology. On those days I itch to read and write, to actually have time to process my thoughts and lay them out to interact with others.

But then there are days like today. Today I looked again at my work hours and what my life will look like after Isaac graduates in December when I'm no longer working from home while he's in class. I'll be at work every day all day until we move on to the next thing, which is an unclear path and timeline at this point. On those days when I get home I'll have just a couple of hours between hugging my son hello and kissing him goodnight, and that doesn't even take into account the evenings I have a group event I'm committed to.

My heart aches at that thought - at the hours of the day that will pass with me away. Time passes so quickly when they are small, and while I'm gone he'll be learning to walk, developing interests, working at his play, and generally growing from baby into boy. I won't miss all of it, but I will miss a lot of it. How have fathers done this in the generations past? How have they come home and spent an hour with their children and left again in the morning?

So this afternoon I stopped and listened as Judah delightedly giggled as he banged on the toilet seat. I soaked up the moments in the rocking chair before bed as we played "roly poly" and "round and round the garden" and he squirmed to get away from my tickling fingers. When he bumped his head I swooped him up and kissed his cheek and waited until the offended cries died down. He's mine, my son, I reserve my right to defend my time with him.


Rach said...

You sure do reserve that right! And I totally understand...I only work part time but between postpartum care and labor support, I am probably gone about 20 hours a week. And that is enough. Definitely enough. My heart gets all achy when I am not distracted enough at work and think of my baby!

On the other hand, I'm grateful for work because I think without it I would be in danger of taking my time with Judah for granted; or possibly even wishing I had more time away from him. Right now, there's no danger of that! And I definitely enjoy my job, except for the baby-missing part. :)

Jaimie said...

I feel this way about writing. I have to be defensive with that time, or it gets pushed aside. Between working full time and trying to keep up with general life things, I have about 2 hours to write a day. It just doesn't feel like enough most days.