Sunday, June 22, 2014

How to be a bad everything

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.

19 comments:

Unknown said...

Us moms are way too hard on ourselves! Give yourself a break. You are a good momma..... and your girls are so lucky to have you. Reward yourself for all your hard work!

Teej said...

Just from reading your blog and seeing the pictures you take, I can see how many beautiful, special moments you share with your girls. And that is what they will remember when they are older…not the times when you had to work. My dad worked a lot when I was little and then passed away unexpectedly when I was 15…and I remember nothing but happy times with him. That may not be very helpful in the moment when you have 3 girls crying though.

Farah said...

You are an amazing mother! I have never met you, but I can tell through your posts that you are. Your girls obviously adore you and look up to you. They will appreciate you and your job so much when they are older and are able to attend college and do the things they love. Keep your head up, you're doing a great job at both of your jobs! I love your posts.

Whitney said...

If it makes you feel any better, I can totally understand!! Hope your work projects die down soon and you can enjoy some time with your kiddos! Disney can't be too far away either, right?

agirlandherhorses said...

What you said at the end about feeling like having been a bad everything made me so sad for you, that you feel that way. I don't have any helpful words to offer other than that I understand, and I'm sorry. *hug*

Lisa MH said...

Longtime reader and admirer of your girls here....Working on a Saturday doesn't make you a bad mother, it makes you a responsible one who is working hard to put food on the table and provide for the dance classes, trips to Disney and everything in between. Sometimes work sucks and takes up extra time and sometimes it doesn't. Your girls are lucky that they have family to take care of them and love them. They'll understand when they're older, I'm sure. For now, you can at least know that they want you around because they love you--which is also a very positive thing. :)

Julia said...

I know the feeling, and that is working from home 80-90% of the time. I feel like a bad mom while at the same time I see how much more (and more consistently) my colleagues with no kids invest and grow in their careers. We really need to understand and find a way through the fact that kids and home ARE a career that demands your full to almost full-time attention.

Today, I am becoming more and more an adept of the idea that we should have kids as early as reasonably possible, so we can go to school and pump up a career starting in our 30's and 40's. We will most likely be totally functional up to our 70's and live up to our 80's. PLENTY of time to work and make money and be "independent".

Sage said...

Sarah-

The fact that your family and your girls have made it this far proves you're an excellent mama! We ladies are WAAAAY to hard on ourselves. You are so lucky to have a supportive husband and Grammy. I'm sure that someday, when the girls are grown and have jobs of their own, they will understand. They will be grateful for the life that you have provided for them by having your job. Being a grownup is HARD, it's a fact. Keep your head high.

maureen said...

It is so hard to have that work/life balance, and in a perfect world, no one would ever have to make those hard choices!

But you and I live in the real world and it is definitely NOT perfect! I left my old Accounting firm 8 years ago to start my own from home, and though I am in control of what I work on, I am not always in control of WHEN I have to work. The IRS or the State often dictate my deadlines and there is just no way around it!

And sometimes, my kids don't understand, or I have to miss one of their dance shows, it is just the way it is. Like others have said, don't beat yourself up about it! Remember, your daughters will most likely have to make the same choices when they grow up and have a family, and you are showing them how to do it gracefully!

Wendy said...

Oh Em </3 That had to just wreck you. I'm sorry. You're not a bad *anything*.

Sarah Louise said...

Hi Sarah, I have followed your blog for some time now and I felt like I should comment tonight. I am in the same situation as you, I have three children (not triplets I might add!) and I also work full time. They are 6 and under. I am so torn between work and family life...but if my job doesn't get done, nobody does it. If I go on holiday, my work builds until I get back. It's hard. I tried part time, but I ended up having to work on my days off. It was less stressful to work full time. I, most days, feel like you do, bad mother...and all of the others. I'll often cry and say to my husband that i am such a bad mum! It's usually after I have snapped because I am so stressed and tired from one thing and another. Of course, I am not, and you are not either! We are working to give them a better life, to afford that Disney holiday, to pay the bills off sooner so that they can have a better future, to buy them nice things, to pay for ballet class. Our lives are so similar, it's quite funny! They are so young and will not understand the sacrifices we have had to make, we did not take the easy option, but they will understand one day Sarah! I really hope work gets easier for you. I personally think you are doing an amazing job juggling everything, and those girls, well, they are a real credit to you. :)

Ashlee said...

As I study for this stupid cpa exam I tell myself it's going to afford me a better job which is going to be great for my future kids, sometimes when I read your blog I want to just stop and forget it. I'm so sorry you're feeling bad at everything...

Also I'm reading Curtis Sittenfeld's American Wife, Sisterland is on my list.

Katie said...

I feel like Ali, Anna and Emily are going to remember the beach trips, Disney adventures, birthday parties, reading before bed/snuggles and all of the other special things you do with them a lot more than they remember being annoyed about you working.

My Froley said...

I love your honesty. I don't know many people who put it out there that they think they're being a bad mum. But I know a lot of us think it from time to time. I know I do. I don't even pretend to understand how you manage working with looking after 3 kiddos plus all the extra curricular sewing/dance mum etc. stuff you manage to accomplish in between. You are truly an inspiration, and there will always be hard days/weeks/months (let's hope not years)! When your girls are all grown up they will know why you had to work so hard and hopefully they will appreciate it. Not that it makes it any easier at this moment. I hope your project ends soon so you can spend some quality time with your girls.

AllisonB said...

My heart broke for you reading that :( Whether these things are true or not (they're not), a child's perceived reality is heartbreaking. Just know that they don't mean that deep down and you KNOW you're a great, present mother who is creating amazing memories. A few weeks of less than great does NOT make you a bad mother.

Anonymous said...

Long time lurker, first time poster - You seem to be doing an excellent job with your girls. And while life-work balance is a constant struggle, hopefully things will calm down a little once this specific project winds down. Hang in there!

And on a completely unrelated note: You should sign up for this NKOTB contest, as one of their biggest fans!

http://whateverblog.dallasnews.com/2014/06/new-kids-on-the-block-want-you-to-ride-on-their-party-plane.html/

thehummingcat said...

I hear you, and it doesn't get easier, kids get older and still need you (((hugs))) working really gets in the way of life!

Angie said...

I feel your pain. I'm sure you are not a bad mom or worker, but I agree that there is not enough hours in the day to do them both the way you want too!
We had the same worl/ life advice at work. Hogwash. Both are always demanding100%, so what do you do with that?

Nancy Schlicher said...

Sarah, I find myself needing to confess to being a bad blog reader, having just completed binge-reading several of your last posts. Thank you so very much for always keeping it real. Your writing style, raw and honest, always appeals to me. Again, thank you.