I have been meaning to write to you for some time. We cross each other everyday as you leave for work and I for my yoga class. We smile but we never have time to chat. I confess, I am a bit envious of you. I like your confident gait, your sharp business suit, your hair that always shines and the gentle whiff of shampoo (or is it perfume?) that trails you.
I am a bit embarrassed of my old yoga pants. On most days my T-shirt is stained with milk or curry or both. I hope you haven't noticed!
I saw you carry a lunch bag. It must be so nice to be able to sit and eat in peace with no one throwing things around you or asking for help to go poo-poo just as you pick up a morsel to eat. I am sure you carry a healthy meal - fruit, salad, yogurt etc because you can plan ahead. I try to eat healthy too, but on most days, there just isn't time. I try to grab what I can, when I can, between running errands, making the school bus-stop runs, helping with homework and planning meals that I hope everyone else would like. Some days I feel like kid's leftovers is all I've had all day.
I know that some people pass snide remarks about working moms, calling them selfish or uncaring etc. I for one think that you made the right choice. Not just for yourself, but for your little girl. You will never feel like a fake when you tell her that if she studies hard, she can grow up to be whatever she likes. You will teach her to negotiate for space in a tough professional world. The pride you take in your achievements will fuel her desire to do better. You will be the perfect role-model for your child. And what can be better?
I am not undermining my work as a mother and a homemaker. I love my family and work quite hard too, but my days have started to run into each other and become indistinguishable. Let's face it, in the less-than-ideal world we live in, only quantifiable accomplishments matter and I am not getting a raise or a promotion anytime soon.
I have to run now but I hope to see you tomorrow.
Dear Stay-at-Home Mom,
I see you everyday as I leave for work and often think of stopping to chat.
I like your warm welcoming smile. You seem so relaxed and in control. I, on the other hand, must seem like a worried little mouse to you, scuttling about every morning. I wish I could join you for the yoga class you go to so regularly. My back hurts from sitting in a chair eight hours a day.
I sometimes think of quitting my job. Don't get me wrong, I love the challenges and the paycheck it offers. I know that I am good at what I do and it makes me want to do better. Yet, there are countless moments during the day when I feel like something is slipping out of my hands. Really fast.
Earlier the babysitter would hold the baby at the window to make her wave goodbye to mommy. Saying "bye" was hard for me. Now my child squirms. She doesn't want to stand at the window anymore. This is harder.
She learns something new everyday. I get to hear about it later in the evening. It isn't the same though. The moment has passed. I wasn't there to hear her hilarious mispronunciations, to clap when she took a spoon to her mouth on her own for the first time. Or when she learned to kick a ball or when she twirled for the first time in front of the mirror. I heard she has made a new best friend at the park. She is marching on without me. I should feel pride yet I feel cheated.
I saw you with your daughter the other day. She is learning to climb the stairs. You patiently held her hand and cheered her on. I confess, my heart ached with envy.
Hope we can stop and chat someday!