The Mommy Wars Are Being Waged…In My Gut!

In case you were wondering, no I haven’t given up this blog. I simply bit off more than I could chew:

I tried to be both a stay at home mom and a full-time working mom this week.

I totally sucked at both.

I’ll back up. This week my oldest wanted to do an almost all-day camp with some friends, so I thought this week would be the perfect time to hire a teenage girl who’s out of school for the summer (aka a real-life Disney Princess) to play with my youngest a few of those days. I’d use those days to schedule a summer’s worth of necessary in-person meetings. Then I got the bright idea to sign on for another “part time” writing gig from home that is turning out, as I’m sure they all do, to really be a full-time position. Oh, I also hosted a couple dinner parties, took the kids to their annual doctor appointments and we just moved in to our new house.

I must be insane.

The worst was I felt like I didn’t accomplish anything well. I was constantly in my car, careening to make it to a meeting or pick someone up, praying not to be late. And then feeling like every minute in the car should have been spent tapping away at the computer, delivering copy or laying on the floor coloring with my kids.

And the clothes. I forgot how uncomfortable slick outfits are. And while I can finally fit back into my old working stiff getup, my stomach is completely different (read: more rolls than a bakery) after popping out two kids. So I had to strap on Spanx in the middle of the most humid week of the summer. I looked like an extra from Ally McBeal on the outside (thanks to the circa 2002 clothing) and girdled Blanche from the Golden Girls underneath (seriously, don’t picture it.)

I’ve gone soft…in more ways than my midsection. You see, in the SAHM world you can always be late to a playdate or a storytime, no sweat. Juggling tasks means folding laundry while talking on the phone and nursing a baby and peeling an apple for your crying toddler. A deadline is the last possible minute you can stretch a Target run before your child melts down. And comfy cotton bikinis that reveal your pooch and mom VPL are simply the dress code.

I hit new lows in other ways too. This week I have done things I never imagined in my wildest dreams worst nightmares:

  • I missed so many meals and entered a state of such desperate hunger, I almost bought a sandwich at a gas station. Not a 7-11. An Exxon. Only the fear of food poisoning steered me towards the granola bar.
  • After a lunch meeting with about six refills of iced tea and running late to pick up the kids, I fantasized about pulling over on the Beltway to pee. I actually envisioned myself in a short dress and heels crouching on the side of the road, the urge was so fierce. Only the fear of being late to pick up the kids kept me on course in the fast lane.
  • I gave my kids their dinner in front of the television.
  • We ran out of milk and almost every other grocery.
  • I let the house – the new place I’ve been fantasizing about for years and just organized – get totally messy.
  • I didn’t blog on APISS, respond to emails, call family or friends back or even meet all of my work deadlines.
  • I didn’t play with my kids very much at all.

How do you working moms balance it all? I know that Justice Fergie cooks amazing dinners for her three gorgeous children, works full time as an attorney, writes all over the place, is planning Blogalicious – a national blog conference – and she’s an entrepreneur. Tech Savvy Mama is the head honcho of a oodles of online projects, a teacher and community leader and she’s also the queen of spending time with her children. Why Mommy is an astrophysicist, and she’s also an advocate and a survivor and the kind of mom that always makes time to blow dandelion fluff with her boys.

I know I’m romanticizing my heroes here. But they seem so organized and balanced. As do all of you working mom friends and readers that I meet, talk to and email with daily. Most of you do not have tons of household or child care help, are running around in your cars and are trying to balance everything. Some of you are single and can’t count on a partner for assistance. You’re the cornerstones of your family, your workplace and your home.

And you’re doing it all. Literally.

I’m totally screwing up.

Now, I’m not saying being a stay at home mother isn’t tough. The tantrums, the whining, the hit to the career, the identity crisis, the loss of income. But I love it. I have become way used to the hard parts of being a SAHM, and the good parts of the job are very good. Unlimited hugs, hello! Staying at home has a pretty relaxed project plan, but the job of caring for one’s children is still of very grave importance.

Being a working mother, whether it’s from home or at an office, takes a level of organization, ability to compartmentalize and mental toughness that I haven’t yet found. I’m just an unbalanced neurotic freak show. Over the years I’ve been work-obsessed and little-baby-obsessed and soccer-mom-around-town obsessed, but never all at once.

Anyways, this is my long-winded way of saying I’m sorry I didn’t write/report/inform on much this week and I’ll be returning with cool stuff to do in the DC area and my pathological Internet addiction next week.

My cotton underwear and I will be taking this weekend to regroup and reacquaint ourselves with the sweet-smelling-comfy goodness that is family, and the solitary title of Mommy.

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