Confessions of a Working Mom

For almost 3 weeks now, the hardest part of being a working mom has been leaving me totally wrecked.

Every weekday for almost 3 weeks now, I am this cruel and heatless mother leaving my 3-year old son to the care of my father-in-law and every day is a heartbreaking, tear-jerking (for me, but overflowing and totally dramatic for my son) and painful moment that it makes me curse my job every time I get on the motorcycle and ignore the painful screams and begging hoping to come to work fully-functional….

“Dili ko bilin lolo ma ha, dili ko bilin lolo ma.” (“Don’t leave me with grandpa ma.”)

I wake up at 4am to cook my breakfast and lunch for work and prepare my son’s things for when he is sent to my father-in-laws house and at past 5am, when I have to wake my son up or he wakes up screaming because no one is beside him anymore, those are always his first words to me. Not a “good morning”, not even a “hello” but instead mostly teary-eyed pleading not to be left with his grandpa for the day.

It breaks my heart into a million pieces everytime and I have to pick them all up everytime as well but what can I do? I have to work! I have to earn a living so we have food on our table, milk on his baby bottle, money to pay for all the utilities and if we were to even survive at all.

And I am sure I am but one of the many mothers out there who have to take this pain on a daily basis because society (and we ourselves) has given us mothers a whole new level of expectations and responsibilities - to care for our household, our children and to bring in the bacon as well.

We have to be earning for our families, must maintain our houses miraculously clean and our children well-behaved, well-fed and presentable! Even for women (who happen to be the stronger sex), that is still a big responsibility and to top it all off, we need to be beautiful, sexy and all-smiles for our husbands and their friends and to be excellent cooks! Even for someone who already has all these traits innately and without effort, this is still a big shoe to fill! (If this were to be a job description, I don’t think any amount of money would be enough to compensate for all this and yet, ironically we’re not even paid anything, right?) Our only consolation is the hug and smiles that we get and nothing more; although technically that is priceless too!  

Gone are those days when mothers just stay at home to care for the kids; mothers have to be tossed into the workforce to earn a living because we just can’t afford that stay-at-home lifestyle anymore. That is the biggest price we pay for being women and being mothers in this age of smart phones and social media.

Our days and nights are always seemingly longer than that of everyone else’s; we have to wake up earlier and sleep later because there is just so much to do. Our notebooks and personal folders in our PCs always consist of budget-related writings and household stuff and every payday is just the day we separate the budget for everyone and everything else but ourselves. (My paydays or at least a day before always consists of cutting papers and labeling them into payments for utilities and household budget with the able assistance of my bff the calculator and the stapler!)

Amidst all these heavy responsibilities that we have to carry around (literally) it’s the little things that I find are most annoying of all – toothpaste caps left open, toothpaste squeezed in the middle of the tube, dirty clothes lying anywhere but the laundry basket, deodorant placed where it’s not supposed to be, lights that need to be turned off but are still on even at night and gates that should be closed but remain open!

I don’t mean to be a too OC or to be complainer but isn’t it just annoying that I have to pick up after those little things (left by adults and not by kids) even when I have bigger responsibilities to attend to? Wouldn’t it be great if I just had to attend to the more pressing matters instead of all the re-work with the most trivial things?

Anyway, back to the initial topic because obviously my ramblings are leading somewhere else.

Ofcourse, leaving work is not an option for obvious reasons and neither is getting a nanny because nothing will ever replace a mother’s personal touch. (Plus, the risks in getting a nanny is higher now than it was before when people were more honest and loved your children not just your money and there weren’t any threats of kidnapping and selling of human organs in the black market.)

I have contemplated on getting a work-at-home job so I can still earn and yet be there for my son but it isn’t that easy as well. With the many scams proliferating everywhere, everytime you search in Google for work at home jobs, chances are 80% are illegitimate and scams!

Going into business? Well, that would be easy if I had the money for capital but I’m barely making ends meet and always have the pre-payday struggle wherein you pray that payday comes early because you’re scraping your pockets for whatever is still left of the last pay received and you secretly wish that while searching the nooks and crannies of your wallet, cash magically turns up where there was none! The just recent realization that my supposed “happy” 13th month pay would be used to pay for the house rent which is delayed by 2 months just squashed my little plan for a small home-grown vegetable business that would hopefully allow me to earn extra money.

Sometimes, I wish life had a “Time-Out Card” that you flash so you’d be allowed to sit on the bench and watch everything unfold while sitting in the sidelines and then when you’ve got your much-needed time-off, you can just go back to playing again like you never stopped but now refreshed and rejuvenated and with a better perspective of everything else. It would definitely take the edge off!

But wishful thinking never gets us anywhere right and unfortunately time-outs are only applicable in the world of sports (and yet not even in every sport…)

My only nuggets of happiness are my OPM (One Proud Mama) Moments that I would never trade for anything else in the world and so I am sharing a few here…(because amidst all my ramblings, being a mother is still really one of the biggest sources of happiness for me)

~ My son could already walk and talk even before he was 1 year old. He first walked towards me while I pretended I was crying and he wanted to comfort me in some way. That’s when I validated that my son really did love me. ;-)

~ That he could count to 10, sing ABC and many other nursery rhymes and songs even before he was 2 years old. ~

~ That my son, all on his own and without any coercion from any adult, said “thank you” after his father bought him something to eat after work. ~ 

~ That he could already count to 20, identify a lot of colors, animals, modes of transportation and a lot of other things even before he was 3 years old. ~ 

~ That my son could already follow instructions such as bring something over and clean up  toys as early as 1  year old. ~ 

~ That my son is learning independence early and doesn’t need to wear diapers at night anymore barely a month after he officially turned 3. ~ 

~ That my son is ok and actually likes me almost smothering him in my arms while he sleeps or while he rides with us in the motorcycle. This is one of the most precious moments in a mother’s life… ~ 

~ That even the smallest of things (like silently looking at him while he is sleeping) or pinching his face and playing with his mouth to make silly noises or when he asks me to hold his hand while he does his morning ritual in the loo makes me smile and just a little bit happier and contented no matter how chaotic life has been. ~ 

Tomorrow will yet again be another heart-breaking commute and late arrival to the office day but I guess it’s just another day in a working mom’s life. And next year, it will be of a different type, one that will consist of tearful goodbyes in schools but I am anticipating the tearful goodbyes not just from my son’s end but possibly more from me as I look at my son slowly grow up to become a man who will in the future cry over another woman leaving that’s not me.. (And it breaks my heart into a million pieces and but I have to pick them all up over and over again because it’s just another normal part about being a woman and being a mother..)

Cheers to all the working moms out there fighting and winning the same daily battles - teary eyed or not!:-)

First part @ 3:19 12/16/14 Tuesday
Last part @ 11:53am 12/17/14 Wednesday


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