Working Mommy Madness: Staying Connected

By Harmony Hobbs:

I’ve been asked by moms who stay at home, “how do you stay connected with your son while you are away during the day?”

I thought it would be easy to answer that question.

It’s not.

By “away” they apparently mean during my 45 minute commute, 8 hour workday, and 45 minute commute back to my suburb. Just for the record, my commute would only be 15 minutes if they would finish up that damn construction on I-65. When I added up that time, it shocked me. I’m away from my son a LOT. I try not to think about it, but when it’s right there on paper … I have to face it. I’m choosing to blame the Alabama Department of Transportation. Get it together people. We have laundry to get home to.

When I first returned to work after a 4-month maternity leave, I was heartbroken. I put pictures of my little boy all over my cubicle and fought against the urge to call and check on him hourly. The only thing that stopped me from doing that was the fear of becoming “that” mom. The one who calls hourly.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: I’m honestly not very good at working motherhood. I WANT to be. But I’m not. I don’t think anyone is. This sunk in after recently reading Tina Fey’s book, Bossypants. Tina, the patron saint of working mothers, has everything a mom would need at her disposal and still barely holds herself together . We’re all doing the impossible. How we do it remains a mystery to me – and I’m several years into this gig.

Anyway, over time my family has adjusted and settled into a comfortable pattern. I trust our daycare and I feel good about sending my child there. I don’t worry about him all day, because I know I don’t have to. They call every time he gets a bump or bruise and that extra effort on their part makes me feel better. I make my husband drop him off, because I still hate doing that. But otherwise, I’m good.

But … connected? Staying connected to my kid during the day? What kind of mother am I, that I can’t come up with an answer to that question?! I have his pictures up. I think about him all day long. He is always present in my mind, lingering back there, behind the pressure of my workload and really bitchy people. He’s the oasis that I drift to when I feel like I. HAVE. HAD. IT. Thinking about him saying the word “vagina” in his screechy little preschool voice makes me able to face life again.

I’ve read many articles on working mother websites that offer advice on how to maintain a level of sanity whilst coping with a work/life balance (read: the impossible), and I find almost none of them helpful. I cannot offer a list of “tips and tricks” to any of you in this department, unless you want to teach your child to say the word “vagina” really loudly so you can think about it later and laugh.

All I can say is, I am connected with my child in my heart and in my soul. He is always with me and I am always with him, every day. Any mother understands the bond I’m speaking of … it’s too profound to put into words. To say that our arrangement is ideal would be a lie, but he is bright and well-adjusted so something seems to be going right.

Am I missing something here? Is there a magical answer I’ve somehow overlooked? How do the rest of you stay connected?

About Harmony:

Harmony blew into Birmingham after Hurricane Katrina and is a self-proclaimed “never home maker” striving for a balance between her career and family life. Visit her blog Working Mommy Madness to read more!

One thought on “Working Mommy Madness: Staying Connected

  1. One of the things I LOVE about our daycare is that they have a facebook page and post pics of the kids several times a week. Tagging is turned off for privacy, but it makes me feel better to actually SEE my kids having fun without me. Little independent buggers – don’t they know they’re supposed to stay little forever?!

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