I'm currently reading the book Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld (by the way, it's good if you're looking for something to read.) The following are quotes from the book of a conversation between the lead character, who is engaged at that point in the story, and her fiance's coworker's wife, who does not have children.
Xiaojian - "It is babies or job. You know this, yes? Women pretend they can do it all, but it is a lie. Babies or job. Never both."
Kate - "A lot of the women I work with have children."
Xiaojian - "Small children."
Kate - "Some of them."
Xiaojian - "Then they are bad mothers or bad workers. On this, trust me."
This perfectly sums up how I've been feeling these past few weeks.
I had to work yesterday, Saturday. I didn't tell the kids until that morning as I wasn't sure myself until Friday night. It all depended on where we stood with this project. They all cried when I broke the news to them. First was Emily. Then Allie. Anna woke up when I was in the shower and Allie informed me as I was dressing that Anna cried when she found out. Keep in mind that I haven't been getting home most nights until after they are asleep so it's not just some random work day. They have trouble processing why one would have to work on a Saturday. School is the only comparison they can make and they would never go to school on a Saturday so why would I have to go to work on a Saturday.
In the midst of crying and cuddling, Emily says, "It's like Grammy is our mommy now."
What am I supposed to do? Let this project fall apart and deal with the repercussions? Give up? Quit? Believe me. I've thought about. It's almost over though. There's only one week left and I think I can tough it out but what about the next time? Because there always seems to be a next time.
Months and months ago, a woman at work gave a talk on work/life balance. I couldn't attend because I had too much work to do. Of course. My boss at the time, who did not have kids, suggested that I watch the video of it. Of course. I was told that the gist of the talk was that the key to a successful work/life balance was understanding that sometimes your family needs you more and sometimes your work needs you more and you should bend to whomever needs you the most. Sometimes that's your family and sometimes it's your job.
Hey, I can only bend so much before I break. And I don't think I can agree with this theory for the simple fact that children need you in a way that an employer never will.
So to summarize the month of June, I've been the bad mother, the bad wife, the bad daughter, the bad friend, the bad housekeeper, the bad blogger, the bad runner, the bad photographer and I'm sure, in some form or other, the bad worker.