Aquarium Day....... Again....

I have been reading a book that my good friend sent me "I Don't Know How She Does it" by Allison Pearson and while I can relate to a lot of what is happening in the book, it also makes me feel so much better that maybe I do hold my life together.  I have laughed quite a bit in understanding of the situations and feel like there is finally a book I can relate to while being a working mom.  The pure exhaustion, intense guilt of going to work and desire to "make up" for the time spent away from family.  The book makes me feel legitimized in my feelings and helps me know that I am not the only mother who both loves and hates her job at the same time.  I hate to go because it's so hard to leave but when I'm there I love what I do.  Still, I think of the sacrifices that could be made to stay at home,  not leaving my daughter in the care and control of someone else.

In the book the main character, Kate Reddy, talks about what an awesome responsibility parenthood is.  She says that YOU decide what to teach your kids.  It's up to YOU to help them form their beliefs, morals and ways of life.  What you say, your children believe and your life is an example to them.  She talks about how hard it is to not want your kids to drink juice, but then you aren't there every day to enforce these rules, someone else, that you are paying to grow close to your child, is the one who decides how the rules are followed through.

Now all this to say that I have been overly sensitive lately about having to go to work and leave my daughter in the care of people whom I barely know.  I am giving them my daughter and my hard earned money.  Something seems slightly wrong about this.  So in my guilt, I have been trying to do fun things with Munchkie on my days off.  We have gone to the aquarium weekly for a couple of months now because she loves it so much.  We went to get our car washed several times in the last couple months just for fun, and I let her walk along beside me in Target because I want the time we spend together to be happy memories for both of us.

This week when we were at the aquarium I noticed (and obviously was bothered by it, or I wouldn't be blogging) that the other moms were giving me this look.  We go first thing in the morning, just minutes after the aquarium opens, on a weekday when there aren't many people there.  The moms look at me and give me this look.  The only way I know how to describe it is "Aren't you just so glad that we get to stay home and do things with our kids?  We are providing so much more to them by staying home and enriching their lives with outings such as the aquarium."  I really am not imagining these looks.  At first I thought I was just crazy, but then I realized that every single mom gave me that look.  And the two dads that were there with their children had almost guilty looks on their faces.  Probably similar to what I was feeling, the "I work so much and spend so little time with my children that I take them to places like the aquarium so we can have a good time together and talk about it for several days afterword while I continue to work and not be home."  I wanted to punch these moms in the face and tell them that they have no idea.

While Munchkie and I were at the children's touch and explore tank, feeling sea stars and crabs, there were three moms, with their kids running around uncontrolled, talking.  I overheard their conversation and had to roll my eyes.  They were discussing the academies they were applying to get their kids into.  The one mom asked if they had been to visit a certain academy and the responding mom waved a hand in the direction of a crazy young boy running around saying "well I don't know if we would be able to get in because we have to work on such and such."  The boy couldn't even talk yet.  Seriously?  You spend your days discussing what you have to work on with your preverbal toddler to get them into an academy so they can be ivy league material?

This reminded me that there are many positives about the life we live.  Munchkie goes to a daycare where she is surrounded by kids of many different backgrounds and ethnicities.  She is learning to work well with others, use manners, share, respect those around her and look up to children older than her. She is well loved and knows that Mommy and Daddy can relax and have fun with her. We both work and she sees that working is a necessary part of life.  Munchkie understands that household chores are shared by both Mommy and Daddy.  She knows that she does not get everything she asks for and that she needs to work to achieve her goals.

While it still kills me to go to work, I also know that we have our priorities straight.

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