Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘working

Working Mother

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I went to work today, for the first time in seven years.  I’m now a working mother, or a mother working outside of the home for the first time.  I ate lunch today with my colleagues, and only when somebody asked for a napkin did I realize that I’d taken a pile of them, to deal with the inevitable spills that I invariably deal with.  But not any more, during the weekdays at least.

And when I went to the bathroom, I did so much enjoy going alone, yet I still forgot I could use the hand dryer with no Pudding and Cubby around.

But those were the only times I noticed a big change.  I’ve arranged my hours so that I collect the children at 3.  Aside from the fact that I’m wearing make-up and nicer clothes,the kids haven’t noticed a change in routine.  As transitions go, this has been effortless.  I told you I was prepared.

In fact, working as a mother feels so far like, well, working.  It helps that I’m only working 32 hours a week, and it helps that my supervisor is family-friendly.  It helps that I’ve already put trust in other people to take care of my kids.  But I don’t feel at war, with other mothers or with myself.  In fact, my views on the “Having It All” debate are largely unchanged.

I didn’t work for the early years of child-raising because I had the privilege of staying at home.  Yes, we made sacrifices.  We couldn’t afford to visit my family for three years, and things were tight, but having a parent stay at home was an option for us, at least in the short-term.  We were fortunate to have that privilege, I have never felt like I made a sacrifice.

And now, we’re fortunate enough to be in a position when I can return to work, and it can be my choice.  That choice is a privilege many women will never know.  I don’t feel like I’m making a sacrifice.  Maybe because I’ve seen both points of view, I didn’t feel like making a choice between family and work was the right focus…but having the ability to choose really is.

I want my daughter to have these same choices that most of us take for granted.  I don’t know how Pudding will progress.  Autism is a lifelong disability, or difference, or disorder.  Call it what you will, it makes it hard to predict the future.  I can’t say if Pudding will be able to work, or if she will have a family.  Maybe she’ll want both, or neither, or just one.  I only know that we will do everything we can to make sure she has those options, just like the choice was always there for me.  And making that choice available?  That is the real privilege for this working mother.

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Written by Spectrummy Mummy

July 16, 2012 at 7:51 pm

The Grass is always Greener

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I don’t know how many times in the last couple of years I’ve watched my husband leave for work with a twinge of envy.

Don’t get me wrong, it is my choice to stay at home with the kids, and I’m grateful to be able to make that choice, but some days that choice feels like more of a necessity.  Engaging and playing with children is hard work when it doesn’t come naturally to them.  When conversation is a rare treat, I miss office banter.  And of course, this job goes unpaid and without leave.  It is only natural I’d be envious at times.  Some days I’d just like to do something different, use my brain and step outside of these walls.

Today and tomorrow, I get to do just that.

I have a mandatory seminar for two days about security overseas.  I am looking forward to moving and our new life in Johannesburg, but it would be foolish to deny the real safety concerns about living there.  It is considered a critical post for crime, something I hadn’t given too much thought about until I had to do my homework for the seminar.  Reading about all the potential threats, I’m nervous.  Of course, when I mentioned this to Spectrummy Daddy, he wisely pointed out that the only way to assuage my worry was to go to the seminar and learns strategies for maintaining our security.

So I should be thrilled that I get to go tomorrow.  But I’m not.  Partly because I just plain old have too much to do.  We move out at the end of this week, and mini-crisis after mini-crisis means I’m way behind in what needs to be done.  I’ll have to miss the only appointment we could get with Pudding’s psychiatrist before we leave.

Then there is the other side of it.

I don’t know what to wear.  I’m so out of step with doing anything buy my current role as a spectrummy mummy, I find it weird to do anything else; even if it is just for two days, even if all I need to do is show up and sit there.  I’m going to find it hard to keep my mind from being here instead of there, particularly when it seems to be crammed so full at the moment.

I know I should just enjoy the break, but this isn’t a time when I would have asked for a break.  This is a time when I feel strongly that I need to be on hand, every day, every hour, every minute.  Pudding’s separation anxiety is at an all-time high, and she is thrown by this new upset.  Just two days to us, is more uncertainty and anxiety for her, at a time when she just doesn’t need more.  When none of us need any more.

Still, Spectrummy Daddy will be here to take over, and I know they’ll be in safe hands.  I’m not so vain as to think the whole world will turn upside-down if I’m not the one taking charge for a couple of days.  Maybe it will be good for all of us to change things up a little, and experience things a little differently.

And what stay-at-home parent doesn’t want to show their other half just what is involved with staying at home?  And how many working parents have wanted to demonstrate the challenge of having to be apart when your family needs you at home?  We’ll get to learn something about how our family would operate if things changed for us.

I wonder how many times over the last couple of years Spectrummy Daddy has left for work with a twinge of envy at not being able to stay home.  Maybe two days are what we both need to learn if the grass is just as green as it appears on the other side.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

July 18, 2011 at 6:02 am