All my “guilt” issues seem to be a reoccurring theme on this blog, but being a family with two working parents can come with its complexities. Here’s my lately:
Reid wakes up and says he doesn’t feel well. I panic. I have work! I have meetings! I am busy! I find this sickness to be inconvenient. I keep saying hopeful things like, “Maybe you’ll feel better after you eat something!” until Reid proceeds to actually get sick. I realize he definitely won’t be going to school. This is bad.
My husband and I proceed to negotiate on how we are going to cover the day, which results in Paul working from home in the morning and me working from home in the afternoon. Hooray for teamwork!
Reid is feeling better so Paul and I decide to take the kids and overnight in Toronto for a fun family weekend. The visit had some highs (a trip to the aquarium) and some lows (Ramona making a bit of a “scene” in a restaurant), but nonetheless we had a great time.
After getting home from Toronto, I take the kids to the playground to take advantage of the mild weather. Reid proceeds to jump off the playground structure a few times until we lands on his foot funny. He can’t walk. Once again, I begin to panic. After we get home, I take him to the emergency room. We wait three hours, get X-rays, but are told nothing is broken (hooray!) and that after a good night’s sleep all will be well in the morning (phew!).
But nobody proceeds to get any sleep that night because Reid makes it known his foot hurts. Side note: I really do not do well when I have not slept.
Reid can’t put pressure on his foot. I panic. I have work! I have meetings! I am busy! My husband saves the day by staying home with him.
That evening, I take him to the walk-in clinic for some advice on how to proceed. I ask if there’s something we can put on his foot because “we are two working parents who can’t stay home with him infinitely”. She gives me a look like, “Lady, it’s part of the job” but tells me it’s not broken and likely just sore. “Another good nights sleep and it should be fine!”
I feel a tentative sense of relief.
I wake Reid up. “Time to try putting pressure on your foot! The doctor said you’d be good as new today!”, I say enthusiastically. Reid starts wailing and refuses to try. I lose my cool, to put it nicely. “REID, I NEED TO GO TO WORK AND SO YOU NEED TO TRY!”. He continues to refuse and I have to walk away.
My husband takes over the negotiation and eventually Reid walks (albeit with a bit of a limp). I think Reid may be exaggerating his injury and the limp. I take him to school.
Later that day, I come home from work to a message that the radiologist has now reviewed the results and she sees that he has a fractured baby toe (bad). No cast need and it will heal on its own (good).
Then I feel so bad! Bad because I hate that I think of my children’s sickness as a total inconvenience. Bad that I feel more sympathy for myself and the fact that we have nobody to help us when the kids are sick, rather than feeling sympathy for my poor, sick child. Bad that I shuffle them off to childcare before they are probably ready to go back. All in the name of work.
Maybe it comes with the territory of working mom, but dammit if it doesn’t feel really shitty sometimes.
*End* Long-winded story about my mom guilt.