A 3-year-old doesn’t understand why Mommy has to be away from him several nights a month or why those nights have become more frequent lately.
Right now, “Mommy has to go to work” is the simplest explanation I can offer him.
Although I miss him terribly, I know that he is in good hands when I’m gone. He is surrounded by people who love and dote on him. It is my secret hope and my worst fear that he doesn’t miss me at all.
The older Wyatt has gotten, the more I have suspected that wasn’t the case. Still, I wasn’t prepared for what Zac told me when I called to check on them on my drive home Monday night around 9 p.m.
We have a short, standard prayer that we have been saying with Wyatt for well over a year. He now understands enough about God and prayer to add a few words of his own.
That night, Wyatt asked Jesus for Mommy to get home in time to go to bed with him.
My baby’s prayer was a knife through my heart, and I’m still struggling to find a way to stop the bleeding from the wound it left behind.
Let me go ahead and say that I am not blaming anyone else for constantly finding myself caught between obligations to work and family.
This is a personal battle, and the condemnation I feel when it seems like I’m letting both sides down is mostly internal, not external.
I once had a co-worker tell me that he didn’t know why I should get paid for maternity leave because having a child was a choice I made. Although I was infuriated by his remarks, I will not argue that I had a choice in whether or not to become a mother.
I have never believed that it was possible to have it all. A much more naïve version of myself believed that a woman should not have children if she knew that she wanted to climb the corporate ladder.
I considered myself to be such a woman, and all of my life goals were centered around work until Zac walked back into my life.
The plans I had changed almost overnight, and I will always be grateful. Because of Zac and Wyatt, my life is better now than I ever dreamed it could be.
However, I also believe that I was called to write. Whenever I begin to doubt that, a story always comes along that seems to say to me, “This is what you are supposed to be doing.”
Also, as much as I would love to stay at home with Wyatt, that is not a practical financial choice for our family at this time. Neither am I under the delusion that the life of a stay-at-home Mommy is all sunshine and roses. In fact, it might be even more stressful. I’ve been a Mommy for three years now, and there are still days that I feel ill-equipped and unworthy of the title.
I am not going to lie for the sake of wrapping up this column neatly by suggesting that I am any closer to finding the answers I seek today than I was a few days ago.
I can only share a couple of things that have stuck with me this week.
First, I was driving to work thinking all of this stuff over one morning when I heard a guy on the radio say, “Someone else can probably do your job, but only one person can be your child’s mom or dad.”
Also, I’ve recently become a fan of a blog called Girlfriends in God. One of the authors has been doing a series lately called “Establishing Boundaries – Setting Priorities.”
In the first installment, she talks about a wild trip that she and her husband took on the Hana Highway. Upon reaching the top, they were rewarded with a view of the seven interconnected pools that form Wiamoku Falls.
Rain from heaven falls into the first, which flows down the mountain to the second, which spills over into the third and so on and so forth until the water reaches the Pacific Ocean.
The author compared the waterfall to our priorities. When we put our relationships with God, husband, children, work, church, etc, in their correct places, they all work together toward a beautiful life.
However, if we try to start in the middle instead of the top, the flow of love, joy, power and grace is interrupted and everything suffers.
Of course, it’s easier said than done, but the image of the waterfall is one I cling to as I try to make sure I’m putting the first things first.