When I was newly back to work I ran to the Target down the street on my lunch break to pick-up some essentials for Baby V. Thankfully it’s close enough to my office that I can make a quick run midday rather than having to stop on my commute home further delaying precious cuddle time my little guy. While snatching up some essentials (if you don’t have the Target Mobile Coupons – get ‘em!), I heard a woman chatting but didn’t hear anyone responding. I peeked around the corner to see a chubby little half asleep babe snuggled in her bucket seat. Her mom lazily strolling the aisles and chatting with her as she looked through a clearance rack of clothes. I literally had to fight back tears. Here I was running through the store snatching up a few items before getting back to the office to begin the second half of my workday and these ladies were having a leisurely shopping trip together. I really missed V in that moment. Some days being away is easier than others.
I literally took this picture out of jealousy. No kidding.
I comb through blogs and Instagram photos every day of stay-at-home moms and see pictures from their vantage point that inevitably contain the contents of their coffee cup, their fashionable footwear and the sweet curly hair of their toddler’s head. I can’t help but feel a twinge of jealousy and think “OMG, why isn’t that me?! What am I doing?!”
The twinge, admittedly, can sometimes feel more like an ache when clients are being particularly difficult or rude, when internal politics are challenging, or when I feel like I’m not making an impact.
I know, how odd right? This coming from someone who wasn’t even sold on the whole motherhood thing after 9 mo. of harboring a tiny human in utero. But my sweet little Dan V changed all of that. Maybe I can so thoughtfully call him my sweet V because I’m sitting in the quiet solitude of my office and calmly completing this post while on lunch rather than wrestling an overtired toddler down for a nap.
More than ever it’s easier to see what’s on the other side of the fence and to think of what could be. For me it’s always a dreamier version of reality and usually not grounded in sound financial decision making. But no one sees the outtakes – the spilled coffee marring the put-together outfit and the barely discernible image of what can only be the blur of a child darting through the frame. We only see the catalog ready snapshot in time through someone else’s lense.
Some days the grass seems greener and that’s OK.
P.S. Yes, if you were wondering, this post title is a nod to Gin Blossom’s ‘Hey Jealousy’. I’m a true child of the 90’s.
At a friend’s house warming party we were chatting over some appetizers about what’s new in our lives. A working mom friend shared that she recently switched her shifts and specialty in order to be home more. She explained that if she had kept with her other specialty she would have missed bedtime for her little girls half the week and she’d need to work every other holiday. For her, that was a sacrifice that she wasn’t willing to make. She wanted to be home to tuck her daughters in and didn’t want to miss a holiday with them.
“I’m away from them so much of the week, I just didn’t want to miss putting them to bed at the end of the day.”
On the other side of the coin a stay-at-home mom friend chimed in…
“I feel terrible, I LOVE it when I can miss bedtime!”
She’s flying solo all day with three kids at home and felt terrible about wanting some time for herself.
Guilt is a real thing on both sides – for stay-at-home moms and working moms alike. Sometimes the things that trigger our feelings of guilt are different, but we both experience it nonetheless. And it can be a hard thing to shake off! Even though at the end of the day we know that we’re doing everything to give the most we can of our best selves to our kids.
The struggle is real.
On good days…
My commute home is a time of reflection – to recap the events of the workday and take stock of tomorrow. It can provide time to catch-up with friends or family and downtime to listen to music or a radio program.*
On bad days…
It’s a hellish and torturous activity adding even more time between me and little V.
* I realize that it may only be myself and octogenarians that refer to TV and radio shows as ‘programs.’