“Mommy! I don’t want you to go!”
I turned around as M pulled the car into the driveway. No tears yet but they were coming. Her eyes pleaded and her mouth turned down in a heartbreaking look of distress.
She had just spent the morning with us at her new school. Meeting teachers and the class pet, surrounded by new faces, lots of kids, most experts at this school-thing now and therefore, I’m sure, intimidating.
She only wanted comfortable. Home, Mommy, Daddy. Cuddles and stories and maybe some lunch.
And I had to go. I had to take some of her comfortable and leave.
And what’s worse? I knew what awaited me. I had checked my email before she woke up and before we left for school. I knew what gems lingered, and not so patiently might I add, in my inbox. Those gems demanded attention and felt entitled to attention immediately. I knew that I’d walk into the office, rushed and late to my meeting, and that the needs and the frustrations would pounce. That the meeting had started and that I had arrived late would be used as ammo against me in short order.
But let me break something to you, angries and frustrations. That meeting? It’s notes are already forgotten and it’s discussions dealt with by now. We’ve moved on to the next. You’ve probably already recycled the agenda. Nothing remains.
But the cries and please of my girl? They are not forgotten. They are recorded in my heart. My heart remembers that when she needed me and you needed me, I had no choice but to choose you. I had to leave her, while she wished for Mommy to stay but bravely and with strength beyond her years watched me go. And I had attend to your tantrums. The ones you throw with a maturity so low that sometimes I wonder who I should be parenting.
I have to make inevitable choices everyday. Decisions that are not the ones I want to make. When I want to lead with my heart and put her first, where I say she belongs, but I can’t.
Yes, I know. We all have to do this. If didn’t face constraint on our choices, we’d all be living on boats in the Mediterranean and enjoying a life of luxury. Constraints are there and that is life.
But the constraints of a working mom? Well, they just plain suck.