Those little wooden animals just didn't want to fit inside the the barn. "Oh jeeze! They keep falling out!" I joke. Pause. Then out of no where, unbridled laughter. "Oh cheese!" he squeals and giggles. "Oh cheese!" Don't you just love their sweet, pure laugh?
The school year is barreling closer and I'm wresting again with major mommy guilt. Say what you will about how adaptable kids are, I get it, but that doesn't take away the aches and pangs of guilt I feel most days I'm away from him.
Yes, there are days that I don't feel that ache. And then I feel guilty about that, too.
Anyone who knows me knows how passionate I am about my work and how much I love my job. Before having children I was always the last one out the door, staying until it was dark outside knowing full well I'd never recover all that overtime. I didn't care - there was just so much to do. I was (and still am) hyper-motivated about innovating programs and teaching. Especially as it pertains to getting messy.
Now that I've built an incredible program, brick by brick (or more accurately leaf by leaf), that same ambition grows. In fact, it's insatiable.
Given the work that I do as an educator, I feel proud. Proud of the profound and lasting effects my work has on students, families and other educators. My work also plays a great role in my own child's life when he enters our nature preschool next year. This is more than just a job. It is how I define myself and how I share my values with the community. I have an amazing career that goes beyond punching a clock, collecting a paycheck and racing like a bat out of hell when it's five.
There you have the dynamic. When I'm not with E or thinking about spending time with him and my husband, then I'm obsessing (and dreaming) about work.
With the on-going reminder of the graduate coursework I put on the shelf nine years ago, and then revisiting the idea again last fall, I continue to struggle with my work family balance. I long to further my career so that my reach goes beyond the one program I've created. I want my reach to be national. International. And I'm not far off from achieving those goals. The more I work with educators, the greater impact my vision will have.
So I'm longing to complete my Masters coursework, once and for all. Well, until I go on to pursue my Doctorate.
And then I'll go back as a feisty little old lady and get that MFA in painting.
Did I mention I completed those three painting commissions? They are finally out the door! But I digress...
The point is, I always want to thinking long term. I have a lot of career left! But this fight in me to do more with my career is always tempered with the guilt and struggle of more time away from my son. In this case, it's only three hours of class. But it's an intense three hours on top of a day away from him at work first. And that three hours means more childcare or juggling with my husband on top of our crazy opposite schedules.
How do you put the brakes on a career at the exact moment in time when momentum is at its greatest? How do you explain that urgency to people around you that can't recognize the power and potential of this ambition? How do you justify or reconcile more demands of mommy's time with an overworked husband and a toddler at home?
Ah the demands of a modern mommy. Oh cheese.