If you’ve read here a while you know how badly, how absolutely badly, I want to work from home. There are days when it is all I can do to drag myself from the bed and show up at work. Usually, I get to work around 7 so that I can leave at 3, be home by 4. Overall, that’s pretty ideal since I do have to work and that schedule gives me more time with the kids (as opposed to when I do 9-5, get home around 6 and have to go straight into homework/dinner mode). Pretty soon I’ll go back to the 9-5 hours, though, because leaving home at 6 a.m. is no fun when the sun doesn’t rise until close to or after 7. And it’ll be cold soon. Let us not start in on the cold. I’ma get a light box.

Anyway, today was one of the days that I simply didn’t have it in me to make it to work. It started with just going in late. I hadn’t prepared anything last night for today (ironing, lunch), I didn’t sleep well, and it was cold when I woke up. Again, cold trumps all. What solidified my staying home, though, was the boy’s face when he saw me. I’m usually gone by the time he wakes up. Sometimes one of the girls is up and I’ll wave a wistful bye as I head out into the semi-darkness. But today he was just so damned happy to see me. I don’t have to tell you what that does to someone who already doesn’t want to go to work.

The girls are pretty self sufficient, sometimes needing help with a button or a bow, but the boy is still needy in the dressing himself department. I dressed him while watching the awful newness that is Tom and Jerry. We laughed and kissed, giggling as we whispered non-words into each other’s ears, the sound of shbshbshsbhshbrrrrrb always funny behind a cupped hand. We played knock knock (he always answers “I me” to who’s there). When daddy called for breakfast we headed down the stairs but there was a noticeable change in him. He wanted to be carried down the stairs. He didn’t want to eat — “No, I not eat!” Just that quickly he’d gone from sweet boy giggler to we don’t need no water, let the motherfucker burn.

Ruination. I ruined his morning. You see, had I not been here throwing the routine off, he’d have been fine. But, no. I fed into my own laziness and career displeasure and used it as an excuse to have more time with them. That one extra hour was pretty eye opening. I don’t know that I’ll stay home again anytime soon.

I tried to put his shoes on him. He screamed, “Not yet.” The oldest girl said he puts his shoes on after he eats. Oh.

I tried to pick up his backpack since I’d neglected to check it the night before for any communication from his teacher. He snatched it and growled, slamming it back where it was. The middle girl said he likes to get it himself. Oh.

How do I not know these things? I may not be the primary caregiver in the mornings, but I know my child, don’t I? Maybe not. Just yesterday we made an impromptu stop at McDonald’s and I asked my husband what Z wanted. I had to ask what my own child likes to eat there. I was pretty sure, but McDonald’s visits are infrequent and when they do occur, they happen after school, while I’m at work or commuting to meet them at the subway. I am missing important moments like breakfast routines and what diarrhea-inducing fast food he prefers. I want to know what gives him the runs, dammit.

Oh, how he screamed about…everything. He yelled about the sweater he’d wear. He didn’t want the blue one, he wanted the black one with the hood. Then he didn’t want that one, he didn’t want any jacket, he was tired. He’d said he was tired earlier as I brushed his teeth. Maybe he hadn’t slept well either. That possibility, on top of my throwing off the routine, pretty much seals my going to work on time tomorrow. He was still screaming as my husband strapped him in his car seat. Great. Perfect way to start a morning. I went back to bed where I stayed pretty much the entire day.

I have no idea how this is going to work next week when he has his three-year checkup. Maybe I’ll go to work early and just meet them there. At least I won’t be ruining the morning.


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  1. Girl… wash that guilt right outta your hair. Or something like that. We moms will always have something that makes us feel bad about something we did or didn’t do. You get credit for wanting to know what gives him the runs. Don’t beat yourself up because you don’t.

    • I know. It’s a pointless exercise. But, it hits me now and then, you know? My mother worked because she wanted to and mind you I don’t even remember if she worked when I was my kids’ age (my oldest, yeah, but when I was in elementary school? NO CLUE). I turned out ok (hm. Never mind).

  2. Mom guilt gets the best of me every morning especially during daycare drop off. I would much rather work from home but it’s not possible with my career. And unfortunately we can’t afford for me not to work. I felt part of my desire and passion die inside of me after I had my first child and figured it would eventually return. Almost four years later and two children it still hasn’t. My heart is at home where my kids are. I
    wonder if I will feel differently when they are both school aged and I won’t be missing the little things they do. I hear ya I do.

    • But, Mindi, that’s just it: you have a career. You enjoy what you do, you are doing something with purpose. How many kids do you think you help in the long run who may be experiecing auditory problems? I know that doesn’t really assuage your guilt, and you said you lost part of the passion for your work, but imagine never having had it. I’ve never had that career focus, that big break, that decided path. It’s always been “I wanna write.” Wanting to write ain’t paying Pepco. Also, price gouging bastards!

  3. Oh this made me sad.
    Maybe it was good I didn’t get to have kids because this would have torn me up.
    It tore me up and I was just reading it for heaven’s sake.

    I hope you get a chance to work from home. Although it’s not easy either since I have done that forever.
    it’s hard to turn it off and then the guilt of ignoring kid, dog, loved ones and working or ignoring what needs done due to family under your nose. It’s hard any way you look at it I guess.

    I hope you get what you want !

  4. Sometimes I hear Mom guilt whispering in my ear, “You want something to cry about, I’ll give you something to cry about”…and then it’ll make my son do something so heart wrenching that it’ll make me feel like a bag of shit for the rest of the week.
    Yea, I didn’t read the fine print on the “So you want to be a Mom” contract.
    Your heart is in a different place then when is going on right now. It’s hard to be present when all you want is that future that you laid out in your heart. That makes you happy. We all deserve that.
    You’ll get there.
    Your kids know that you love them.
    And I know that you feel extreme guilt for not being around them as much as you like (just think of all the other things you miss out on like diarrhea from undercooked greasy burgers) but I’m sure that you savor those moments that you do spend with them that much more.
    Now before this comment gets anymore sappy I will end on this one word….

    • Oh, that whole look back you experienced last week? TOTAL I’MA GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO CRY ABOUT. Also, I see your vagina (hee hee, not literally) and raise you: Hemorrhoids.

  5. Oh Mama, you must STOP beating yourself up. You are doing an amazing job with these kids – all of them. And that boy loves his mama like mad! My heart just breaks for you. And you know, it’s a testament to your writing skill that you are so able to let me feel your pain. I must always remember how incredibly lucky I am to have a means of making a living and being home with my kid at the same time! We just need to figure out a way for you to make this work too! I say you need to write that book!

    • I know. It just comes out sometimes. The pressure builds up and I spew. I’ve also been eating frosting again so surely it’s PMS time. Cruelty, Mother Nature is thy name. And yes, I do need to concentrate on the book. It’s on my mind daily right now. Why can’t I transform this guilt into energy for the book?

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