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!