Switching Sides In the Mommy Wars

I just ordered these calendars from Pottery Barn for my office and that seems to have excited me so much that I've been jerked awake from my writing coma.

Life continues to feel like I'm getting hit by a car every day. Combined, my new thriving business, online behind the scenes work for Cafe Mom, and writing expectations from Warner Bros. continue to keep me so busy that yesterday I wore my underwear inside out all day long without even noticing. And honestly, if I had noticed I wouldn't have removed my pants and turned them around anyway. Who has that kind of time?

In between marathon sessions with my office chair I've been volunteering at Savannah's school, which is loads of fun. Especially when I arrive and her teacher grins at me wordlessly while chaos surrounds us, as if to say 'Isn't it crazy the careers people choose?'.

I must admit that I do sometimes bring my Blackberry with me and feel very "bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan"- ish while covertly answering emails under the storytime table.

The ambition. It's ablaze within me.

Actually, the credit card bills. They are ablaze under me.

I was working late the other night when I received a call at 10:00 from a frazzled mom I hadn't yet met "reminding" me of what I "volunteered" for.

Me: "I don't recall volunteering for this. But, I'm happy to help."

Her: "Yeah, well you did. So, um, if you could just handle your part tomorrow, I'll handle my part next week."

She was breathless and agitated.

Me: "Handle my part?"

Her: "Yeah, if you could bring snowflakes and a snowman tomorrow morning."

Me: "Are you kidding me?

Her: "No. That's what you signed up for."

Me: "It's ten o'clock at night. Where do you suggest I find a snowman?"

Her: "I don't know, but I have to work tomorrow."

Me: "I have a conference call at ten."

She was almost in tears at this point.

Her: "So do I!"

We both sat silent for a second.

Her: "What moms don't work?"

Me: "That, my friend, is a loaded question."

This is what it has come to? Working moms trying to trick each other into buying snowmen at 10:00 at night?

I know I'm not the first overworked mom out there. In comparison to most moms I have it pretty cushy - I work from home, I make my own hours, my husband does laundry. Yet, still there are times when I want to put my head in my hands and sob. Wait. Let me rephrase that. Times when I do put my head in my hands and sob.

Like yesterday, when I was on the phone with one client after another and Savannah slipped this under my office door.

In case you're wondering, that's "I am hungry. Could I eat something?".

(Open heart. Insert knife.)

I'm here, it's true. She can look at the back of my head in my office any time she pleases. ...As long as she does it quietly. She has me at home, but that aint much these days.

I even developed a code after some bad episodes: If my door is closed, that means I am on an important call that cannot be interrupted; if my door is halfway open, I'm on a call that can.

So, today she tells me, "Mommy, okay listen. If my pink monkey is hanging on my doorknob, you can come in my room. If it's my blue monkey though, you have to knock." I give her the same grave attention to the matter she gave me a few weeks back and nod somberly.

"Got it" I say.

Boy, do I.

If only I were Mrs. Potato Head. I'd leave my brain at my desk, my arms around Savannah on the couch, and my feet in the kitchen.

But, I'd definitely leave my ass in the bath.


Kelly said...

ooh, I have calendar envy.

I feel for you. trying to stay involved with my son's school while working full-time and going to school has proved to be an exercise in futility...and developing alcoholism or something. it's not pretty.

Mimi said...

I love the caldendar...nice choice.

I don't know how you do it. I teach full time and am working on a doctorate while trying to enjoy being married (with NO kids yet) and it seems like there aren't enough hours in the day.

By the by...I teach second grade and Savannah's note?? Brilliant!! Way to sound those words out girl! You definitely are doing something right! :)

Anonymous said...

O.k., so being in the same situation I just HAD to show my kids your post and especially Savannah's note. They both looked at the note and then looked at each other as if to say, "we're not alone, there are others like us out there"...I think it was comforting for them!
I'd like to say hang in there, it'll get better but that would be a lie, so I'll just say hang in there!

Bobealia... said...

Oh shit. I remember passing notes to my mother under her office door. I remember the year I ate cereal every night for supper (made myself). At least S has a father present... but be careful, I'm still a little resentful about those notes... she has blocked it from her memory by the way (my mother that is).

Bobealia... said...

Oh, but Lena, I still LOVE my mother.

MommyLane said...

I have one of those "notes" hanging in my office. I wrote down what she said to me when describing the picture: "This is my mouth. This is my mouth frowning. It's frowning because you're not playing with me."
She also frequently draws pictures of me typing furiously at my computer while she stands to the side and frowns mightily.
But I also have a picture up that she drew of us holding hands -- and smiling.

Moron Family said...

Ahhh yes. I remember when my daughter wrote a book in first grade titled " She Was Working on a Saturday Night."

I died a little that night. Changed careers. Oddly enough, went into teaching where I only have to put in 50 - 55hours a week instead of the 70 I was doing.

Anonymous said...

may be there needs to be a knock on the door that says I real need you right now. and also be honest with you clients that you have a child most will understand if they or you have to call back.
What i am saying is just don't work so hard you for get your child as needs

Mamma said...

And being able to stick my eyes in the back of my head would be really helpful too.

Jenn said...


That feeling sucks doesn't it? The guilt of the time you can't spend, because you're spending time trying to give her things that time can't buy...

The madness of being a mommy. The joy and the madness.

Somedays it's the joy.
Somedays it's the madness.

Did you find the snowman?

Mamapajama said...

Ooooh, good, bady or ugly, I'm just glad you're writing on your blog again!! You're missed when you leave us for so long! Don't think you have to write a long entry either, just a short note or observation is always appreciated. Think of it as "venting" to your friends!

Anonymous said...

Can I just tell you that I love when you update? Please add a special day(s) to that new calendar of yours to write!


Anonymous said...

taking a blackberry into your child's classroom seems so....nineties?

WI Mommy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
WI Mommy said...

Sorry - there was an error in the comment and it was driving me batty.

What I meant to say was:

If it makes you feel any better, I was, until a few months ago, a full-time SAHM, and even now only work when Little J is in pre-school. He, however, has informed me that I do not play with him NEARLY enough because I am (and I quote) always working! Huh???? These kids know where are weak points are and they have no trouble going for them! You are a great mom for doing what you need to and taking care of your family.

I have the whole PB system - hanging files, shelf componant, peg board - LOVE IT!!!!

Anonymous said...

Lena, I know you love it when we worry about your spending for you, so I wanted to make sure to point out this simple equation:

-PB = +$ = (time>work)

It's a "money or your life" kind of thing. Or is it a Spartan thing? Maybe Buddhist?

You don't have to thank me... Just glad you're back.

Lily said...

LOVE the organized of you...are those spaces large enough???? I'd need one about 3x that size!

I think all of us that have worked from home get those notes on occassion. Yes, they break your heart, but you are also giving Savannah a lesson that her parents work hard for her and still love her no matter what.

You're just starting your business and trying to balance everything will happen, just give it some time. Glad you are back to posting...we've missed you!!!

Meems said...

All I can say is that if it weren't for Costco and their dinosaur nuggets, pizza, taquitos, ready cut children would starve. Being a working mom just sucks sometimes.

Danielle said...

Okay, that does it.

You are totally and completely my all-time favorite blogger in the history of EVER!

And I swear, if more kids today were like Savannah, we'd be all set for a future in Utopia!

Hang in there, you're doing an awesome job and I tip my oh-so-adorable winter fuzzy hat to you.

Ginny said...

Those last lines are incredibly clever. And the rest was poignant... We've missed you!

SiLK08 said...

Is there an anthem for overworked, overwhelmed mothers??

If not, one of us should take up the task of creating one!

*laughing, really...laughing HYSTERICALLY*

Amy said...

Look, I know you have a job and all, but this posting once or twice per month nonsense is bull crap.

Please don’t take me seriously.

I hope all is well and things settle down so you can enjoy the holidays.

Anonymous said...

Where have you gone? We miss you!!

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Can't wait until you come back and we hear about it and maybe see some pictures.

Anonymous said...

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child safety said...

i love that note!!! can't wait for kids!

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