I'm a Terrible Mom

I’m a terrible mom. Yup, it’s true. It’s especially tough to admit this since being a stay-at-home mom has been my chosen profession for the past 14 years.

But time has passed and my “babies” are now 13 and 16, and very self-sufficient. So, with visions of college and retirement expenses looming in our future, I decided it was time to reenter the work force. I was excited about starting a career again. I established Write Expressions and began doing freelance writing work out of our home.

From the beginning it was a battle for my time. I grumbled against the imagined sabotage plot against me, as family and volunteer commitments continually pulled me away from achieving my goals. My frustration grew and finally peaked one day a few weeks ago. Fed up with getting nothing done for days, I came up with the brilliant idea to turn off the radio, turn down the answering machine volume, and turn off the phone ringer.

Diving in, I worked steadily all that morning, feeling great about everything I was getting accomplished. Then at 12:30 p.m. I heard the front door open, and my daughter’s voice calling, “Mom?”

Shocked to find her there, I took one look at her face and could tell she was sick.

“I couldn’t get a hold of you. So I called Mrs. Thompson and she brought me home,” she said, gesturing to the driveway, where one of my closest friends was still sitting in her car.

I ran outside, covering my face with my hands. “I’m so sorry!” I cried. I’m a terrible mom!”

“No, you’re not!” she replied without a trace of judgment in her voice. She is a social worker, and works out of her home as well. “If I’d been in a meeting or on a phone call, it could easily have happened to me too.”

But I couldn’t shake the feeling. Especially when I went back inside to find my big 16-year-old baby girl crying because she had a fever, chills, sore throat, and no mommy to drive her home. I gave her some medicine, tucked her into bed, and rubbed her back until she fell asleep.

As I quietly left her bedroom, I contemplated what I had been doing. I had, in effect, been putting my new career ahead of my old one. I’d lost the focus of why I was at home in the first place.

As excited as I am about pursuing this new career, I still have a job to do here at home. I’m not finished yet. I can’t shove it all aside believing I’ve put in enough time and effort already so now it’s my turn. Of course, this doesn’t mean I can’t continue pursuing my writing and following my dream. But I have to put it in perspective. While my children are here, I still need to give them my all.

So now I’ve got my new phone with caller I.D. sitting beside me so I can see who it is when it rings. And if it’s my kid, this time I’ll take that call!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Daughter,
As you know, I went back to my career as soon as you kids were able to attend pulic school and nursery school all day. Teaching lends itself very well to a combined parentinig profession and outside the home profession. However, I well remember those phone calls from the school, letting me know I was needed to retreive a sick child. The one I remember best was when your brother, Mark pulled the stunt of trying to amputate a finger in the school weight lifting equipment. He was just about the same age as Ashleigh. I also thought I was through with getting called to attend to a "sick" child. Since my boss was always sympathetic to any call to a teacher to respond to the "parent needed immediately" call. He told me to "Go now, I'll cover your room." Well, this little note is to let you know, you will never stop with the parenting. Your Dad and I are still on rare occasions getting that "parent needed immediately" call. We don't mind at all and are still enjoying the parenting career at ages 71 and 77. Smiles.
Love, Mom and Dad