Thursday, April 14, 2011

I was a mom of three

I was a working mom of three.

For 48 hours.

After a 50-hour work week.

I was a guinea pig for myself in many regards last weekend, because I’ve been tossing around the question: can a woman do it all?

I’ve polled my friends, projected myself into the wife/mother role (usually when I’m exhausted beyond the ability to form a complete sentence and think, “And to come home in this state to … babies??”), and was glad for the opportunity to nurture a 6-, 3-, and 1-year old the whole weekend. I had help, but I turned most of it down for the sake of my experiment.

I was your ideal image of an OCD mom of three Saturday and Sunday. On our family agenda was a baseball tournament both days in a town 30 minutes away. So I packed picnic lunches, a blanket, snacks, bottles, drinks, baseball gloves and balls and sunscreen, tossed my unwashed hair into a pony tail (who has time to shower with three kids?!), donned my Capri work-out pants and team T-shirt, loaded all three in the SUV and away we went.

Thankfully I packed 350 wipes, because I used every single one of them. The chocolate animal crackers were a hit, as were the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, milk, apple juice, apple slices, cheerios, Wheat Thins, sunflower seeds and raisins. The babies fell asleep on the way home, and I carried them both inside where they completed their naps and the 6-year-old had rest time.

Later, it was dinner, bath time, keeping them inside after bath time, playing catch, watching TV, and then bedtime. There were the whimpers at night, which I mostly ignored, and the early rising and chilling on the couch until the rest of the household woke up.

There were also a lot of hugs, kisses, snuggling and cuddling, crying when I left the room, and trying to keep up with me.

The experiment proved my suspicion. Women can do it all, but she might not do it all well.

I didn’t get as much housecleaning done as I would’ve liked, I was folding laundry late at night, the work I would’ve done at an earlier hour wasn’t done till much later, and by the time the house was quiet I was numb and not much use for anything else.

And this equation did not include a husband.

The experiment was faulty for many reasons, which provide both pros and cons. I’m sure that if the children were actually mine, and I did have a husband, I’d find a way to do it. I’d adapt. Somehow. Also, I knew there was an end in sight. Their mother returned Sunday night and my shift was essentially over. That provided immediate relief, and also a “light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel” outlook when a few moments got rough (like at 1:30 a.m.) There would be no such outlook if I were actually the mom.

This line of thinking has been at the forefront of my mind for awhile, because my new job means I’m physically disconnected from my family a lot, which I can afford right now because I’m single, no kids. But in the back of my mind I know that if I were married, and especially with kids, I would not be able to maintain my workload, and rest comfortably that I was giving everything 100 percent.

My weekend proved that to me.

I’m not stressing over what that means for me right now. If I were married, I would worry about it a little more. If I were a mother, I’d worry about it a lot. But I’m neither, and so I’m not stressing.

I am aware, though. And now I have a better understanding.

1 comment:

Kristin said...

Your line about women can do it all, but they may not do it all well sums up why after having a fantastic plan about working at the paper and working at home, I decided to quit. Becoming a full-time was one of the best decisions I ever made, and I loved my job. And, you know, God taught me that when I listen to him, and follow his lead, he can still surprise me. He surprised me with an awesome new friend in September 2007, just as I was quitting my job. :)