Working mom: the highs and lows as captured by a 6 year old

photo(90)She does this dance. A genuinely happy, exuberant, twisting, jumping, and twirling dance.

And it’s all for me.

Her wide, crooked smile greets me as I pull into the garage. It’s dark. I’ve been gone all day. The last time I saw her was early in the morning at kindergarten drop-off. We exchanged “kissing hands”, hugged, said our I love yous, and for all of us…our long day had only just begun.

It’s a familiar routine now.

Usually, by the time I pull into our garage, I’m often slow to get out. Not because I’m not excited/anxious/happy to see my family. I’ve missed them terribly and it has been a long day. But after a full day of a bustling clinic (in the middle of flu and cold season, no less), I’ve finally made it home. And I need a moment.

In spite of my rush to get there, I linger a bit because I know that once I walk through that door, I’m on mom duty. So I sit there. Breathe. And mentally prepare myself for the hustle of the bedtime routine.

But then, the door leading to the garage swings open and there she is. She flashes her infectious smile and shouts Mommy! Mommy! I no longer need a moment. I need them. I need her.

It’s been 11 hours and 10 minutes too long since I last saw their beautiful faces.

I can’t help but smile and I start dancing too. I wish I could capture it on video but it would ruin the moment. So I revel in it. I watch her jump, twirl, and clap. A dance made just for me. Seared into my memory. Forever.

It’s absolutely the best part about being a working mom. This homecoming.

Suddenly, all is right. The kids are okay. Husband just walked through the door and we’re all together once again.

Then we’re relaxing on the couch. Big Brother is cuddled next to Dad and I’m rubbing her hair, asking her about her day. This is when my 6 year old darling sweet girl decides to lower the boom…Mom, how come you don’t take care of me that much?

Umm, what? It’s all I could choke out.

And there it is, staring me right in the face. The guilt. In the form of big, beautiful, and earnest brown eyes. And I know exactly what she’s asking.

Why am I at work all day? Why have I hired someone else to do my job? To care for her, feed her, soothe her tears, make sure she does her homework/chores, and mediate squabbles between her and Big Brother?


And there’s no fantastic, wonderful, or awe-inspiring answer that would make either one of us feel better.

I could have said…because I work. And it requires me to be away from home. I love my job. I really love what I do. And it’s time. Time for me to really be back in it.

Instead, I just said…I love you and Big Brother so much. With all of my heart. Why do you think we chose Mrs. W? She takes such good care of you while we’re away. You’re lucky. We’re all lucky.

But I do miss you, my girl. I’m here now. Taking care of you. Loving you.

And tomorrow, there will be another sweet homecoming.


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2 Responses to Working mom: the highs and lows as captured by a 6 year old
  1. Katherine
    January 22, 2014 | 4:43 pm

    There is never any escape from the guilt, from the not being there. No matter how much we love our jobs and how hard we’ve worked to get where we are, that guilt is always there. But like you said, the kids are okay.

  2. Tarah
    January 23, 2014 | 5:35 am

    I know that guilt all too well, sometimes I wonder myself. There’s never a good answer. I just know we’re doing what is best for our family at this point in our lives and that’s all that matters.