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Archive for the ‘The Working Mom’ Category

It’s 2:00 in the morning and I’m sitting up in bed with my 7-month old in my arms.

She’s running a fever of 39.9 degrees Celsius.  She’s teething; her first incisor just broke through.  She has been crying pitifully for the most part of the night.  She has a cold and her nose is stuffed. Saline spray was administered through her nose earlier; the relief was temporary.   When laid down she shifts her head restlessly from side to side.  She can hardly breathe and she wails in a heartbreaking sound.

I pick her up and cradle her in my arms.  She relaxes and slowly drifts off to dreamland.    I hear her laboured breathing through her stuffed nose.  I hold her for half an hour more, wanting her to get the rest she deserves after all those hours of discomfort.  Soon my arms and eyes start to give.  I lay her down gently in the crib.  This time she stays asleep.

I hit the bed and before I know it, morning breaks through.  I get myself ready to call my office that I won’t be coming in today.  I always feel uneasy to say I can’t be at work.  I feel even more uncomfortable at the thought of going to work knowing that my baby is not well.  I get a sinking feeling at the pit of my stomach.

When it comes to childcare and household chores, the default person in-charge is almost always the woman.  It would have been so much easier for us then to opt out from the workforce and stay at home once we start having babies.  It is easy to lose ourselves in the whole family and kids equation.  But working outside the home, aside from being professionally rewarding, provides a welcome break from the diaper duties, the baby talk; and everything that has to do with running a household 24/7.

It is a woman’s way of holding on to a piece of her own self.  It provides a venue for adult interaction about things that matter in the workplace.  It gives her validation that she’s contributing something significant to society; not as a mother, not as a wife, but as herself.

Combining professional work with raising kids are two equally demanding tasks.  By choosing to work outside of the home, we are confronted with the dilemma: are we putting too much on our plate?  Would it make our lives simpler if we only had two choices:  to be a stay-at-home mom or a working mom?  Has the feminist movement done us any good by giving us more choices?  Or has it raised our stress levels just a notch higher?

There is no perfect solution. And I am thankful for the many choices I have in front of me.  I would not want my love for my children nor my parenting skills to be questioned or challenged just because I want to develop myself professionally.  We deal with the issues as they come and we hope that the workplace will be more enlightened about the struggles confronting women everyday.

At the intersection of every woman’s career and home life, we will continually face situations which will force us to make a decision.  Either way, that decision will make us uneasy or guilty.  Either way, something or someone will have to take a backseat for a while.

And that is not going to be my daughter.

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