Thursday, December 15, 2011

On Being a Working Parent

Being a working parent is like being drawn and quartered by horses.  Ok, that’s a bad analogy, but seriously it is like being pulled in multiple directions at once!  Here’s a diagram for y’all:
Really, there should be more than four though, because this doesn’t even begin to describe the chaos that is my everyday life.  Plus, they should be interconnected, like a Venn diagram.  My experience with the Paint application is limited.
I tried to focus on the positive, instead of the negative.  Descriptive words such as “joy” and “love” are in the same box as the kids, instead of words like “guilt” and “frustration”.  The truth is all of the aforementioned emotions come with being a parent, and are normal to feel.
I remember the overwhelming J-O-Y I felt when each of my children was handed to me after being born.  I remember crying upon seeing their little faces and immediately feeling unconditional
L-O-V-E for them.  I also remember feeling so G-U-I-L-T-Y when I had to return to work, with each one of them; somehow scared that the hours apart from me would scar them for the rest of their lives.
But being a working parent is fulfilling to me.  Oh, I certainly have days where I hem and haw, and I don’t want to go to work, and I would die to be a stay at home mom.  But, I also have days where I go to work, and I enjoy my co-workers and generally enjoy my job.  I have established
R-E-L-A-T-I-O-N-S-H-I-P-S through work that I would not have otherwise.  I know my kids are being well taken care of and they are learning how to interact with their peers while I’m away.  I also find infinite pleasure in their little faces when I pick them up from school every day, so excited to see their Mommy!
I never knew how hectic life could be, trying to fit everything in.  Sometimes it’s enough to drive you crazy!  Some people find solace in schedules, but I honestly find them entirely useless.  I’ve probably spent the better half of seven years, printing and ignoring schedules.  I don’t like to be put in a box.  I don’t like the routine.  I think working, despite chaos of life, has helped me establish a sense of my S-E-L-F, and to realize what I still need to work on. 
Being a working parent is about weaving all of these boxes together, and coming up with a way to handle the time constraints without losing your sanity.  I’ve had to learn to focus on the positive in my life: the love for my children, the kinship with my friends, and the faithfulness of my husband.  Doing this makes me feel like all of different aspects of “the boxes” are worth it.
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