Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mama Dilemma

Please excuse me for the repetitive nature of my blog. I seem to be obsessed with the same topics and they to keep rearing their ugly head in my posts.

I continue to struggle with the going-back-to-work synopsis. I have started networking and interviewing and it is an exciting, frustrating, and scary process. As I consider the possibility of employment it becomes clear that I am looking for a very specific opportunity which isn't likely to appear out of nowhere. I need flexibility, I need work-life-balance, I need a location which doesn't require me to commute two hours a day at the nanny rate of at least $20/hour. All of these things adds up to the perception of a potential employer that this chick is a slacker. This chick isn't dedicated. This chick isn't willing to do what it takes.

Well true. Sort of.

I had an interview with an agency in the city last week. The appointment was mid morning, so I had time to drop the boys off at preschool and the babysitter and have a relatively leisurely trip to San Francisco. In fact I even had time to enjoy a mocha and the newspaper at Starbucks. (HEAVEN!). The events of that morning so perfectly illustrate my conflicting feelings.

The first order of business that morning was to get Evan to the babysitters. He had no idea what was in store for him. We got dressed and had breakfast as usual, only mommy emerged from her bedroom in business attire instead of the predictable jeans and sweatshirt. As we prepared to leave I handed Evan a lunch box, just like his brother which seemed to please him very much. He clutched his little package in his hand and cooed "yunch yox".

As we approached the baby sitter's home a realization seemed to slowly come over Evan. Wait a minute I have been here before, mommy left me here... Evan started whimpering as we walked up the steps to the door. Once inside the home, the full on panic set in. He dropped his precious yunch yox on the floor, forgotten. He ran toward me, screeching, his arms outstretched, and he stumbled and fell. The babysitter, a seasoned mother of three, immediately picked Evan up in her arms and looked at me knowingly. She informed me that it was best if I left now.

I walked out the front door and heard Evan's wails all the way to the car, I felt the sting of tears in my own eyes. My baby wanted me. The mornings are our special time. What was I doing?

After I dropped Zachary off at preschool I headed toward the BART, the memory of Evan sobbing still fresh in my mind. I sat on the train and worried. But about thirty minutes into my trip my mind started to switch gears. I was wearing a sassy interview outfit, had a newspaper in my hands and a little time to kill in San Francisco.

I got off at Montgomery Street. The area buzzed with energy. Business people in fancy suits jabbering on their blackberries rushing to their next meeting. Creatives sipping lattes in sleek coffee shops while typing away on laptops. I didn't feel so out of place. I hung out for a while at Starbucks and chated with a woman who was also interviewing that morning at a nearby law firm. She was young and pretty and told me that she thought that she would spend the rest of her day shopping in Union Square. Nice. I had to get home ASAP because in my case, time was money.

My interview was fine. Fun actually. I enjoyed talking shop with the Recruiter and I was confident in my abilities. She was enthusiastic and told me that she has a client in the city where she thinks that I would fit in beautifully. I got butterflies. It sounded exciting. Until we talked about salary. A small salary. Less than I made in Denver, and this is San Francisco. The position is full time. I would probably spend 1.5-2 hours a day commuting. It simply won't work. I would make next to nothing and never see my babies.

I got back on BART feeling a little disappointed. I want to wear my business clothes again. I want to be wear my business mind again. Sometimes. But not sixty hours a week and at the cost of missing out on being mommy.

I arrived at the sitter's house to find Evan eating his lunch straight from his yunch-yox and jabbering. As I walked in the door he cried "mama!" and gave me a smile that once again brought tears to my eyes. I hugged him. Sweet Evan.

I know I am not alone. So many women face a similar dilemma. I would love to hear your stories.....


  1. I just can't get over the fact that your interview suit was so SASSY.

  2. i'm right there with you! about to go back to work after the birth of our first son. he will be just shy of 4 months old. i cry daily. figuring out what my priorities should be as a new mother is so complicated and beyond what i ever expected. what does our family need more -- money to pay off my husband's private school law school debt...or time with our new and beloved baby. only time will tell...