The plight of the working mom

2010 Write, Best Of, Working Mom,

Three year olds are assholes. It’s true. It’s been documented somewhere. Probably on twitter or a wiki or something. Three year olds make 13 year olds familiar. Moody. Cranky. Angsty. Parenting a three year old (or a nearly three in my case) prepares you for the upcoming hormonal swings and mood changes akin to knife fights in gay bars.

Working gives me some perspective. I’m able to look at my adorable children and appreciate their innocence. I can hear their whines and love them because I do not get enough.


HA! Did you read that? I almost didn’t make it through with a straight face.

In reality, yes, I get to shuffle my children to be RAISED BY OTHER PEOPLE YOU HORRIBLE MOTHER GOING TO HELL HULK SMASH. And while they are gone I think of them and their soft faces and their long long legs and arms wrapping around me when I pick them up. I worry less about them than I used to but still wonder if I am doing the right thing sometimes. The Mommy Guilt: Second only to Catholic Guilt.

The other day I crawled in to bed with my son to rouse him awake and prepare for the day. He opened his eyes a slit and looked at me. “You came back!” he whispered. “You came back…” he snuggled his cheeks in the side of my neck.

And then I died.

My son and his sweet Cherub face can control me like a marionette. “Play Wiff Me, Mommy!” and suddenly I find myself playing RAUR SMASH TRAINS. My daughter looks at me with the biggest blue eyes, eyes I can not fathom where they are from, and asks me to read with her. I suddenly forget what I was doing and find myself sounding out words in amazement as she reads whole books to me.

Take that!, Harry Chapin.

Balance is elusive. It will not exist. Should I be home, I’d miss working and while I work I miss them at home. I can’t decide if this is my being difficult or truly the Plight of the working mom.

Either way, I suspect I’m in for a long road ahead. Raising children isn’t for the weak. Or the sane.


  • April 14, 2010

    My 3yo is almost 4 (next month!) and lemme tell ya, 3 was rough. It seems within the last couple of months, things have improved SOOOO much. She’s much more delightful, much less a huge crazy pain. So here’s hopin’ for ya!

  • April 14, 2010

    *hugs* I hear ya!

    I luff you!

  • April 14, 2010

    My kid turns three in two weeks and who’s the asshole?  YOU.  YOU are the asshole.  Because I’ve been hearing way too much lately about how the terrible twos are now the terrible threes and after reading this post my shit is officially freaked out.  I’m going to drink some chamomile tea and make tracks in my bonsai tree sand thingy and try to pretend that I never read this.

    (P.S. Working Mom Guilt is the very reason why I spent two hours last night pretending to be an airplane.)

  • April 14, 2010

    Three is rough. So is being a working mom. I hear you on both counts. I always tell working moms (and myself) that as an 8th grade teacher, I really, truly cannot look at my students and tell you which kids come from a home where mom works and which kids come from a home where mom stays at home. Basically, 8th graders are all jerks, whether their moms stay at home or not. wink

  • April 14, 2010

    I spent yesterday at home with my 3YO who was “sorta sick” with an eye infection. Having a whole day with just him was magical. Going for a walk, having lunch together, cuddling up and passing out on the couch watching Dragon Tales at naptime. For the first time in my life, I could totally understand how some folks want to do this all the time. And, after having to say a teary goodbye at daycare this morning, made today a hard day at the office.

    I think we get days like this to help us appreciate their three-ness. Because, like yours, my 3YO can be a total asshole.

  • Laura Camacho
    April 14, 2010

    Yeah. I’m almost on the other side of the Atrocious Threes. It’s such a schizophrenic year - because suddenly their worlds are so full of magic and imagination and wonder! It can be so amazing to be with a three year old!

    And then they go and ruin it by collapsing into a puddle of incoherent tears when you say, “Sure, you can have a piece of chocolate after lunch.”


    I am with mine pretty much all the time, but I do kinda miss her when she’s asleep. :D

  • April 14, 2010

    I’ll take three anyday over four.  Four was hell.  A month into 5 I’m loving it.

    I also love this post.

  • April 14, 2010

    You are so right.  Balance is elusive.  And a farce.  So we just keep on keeping on.  And yeah, three is tough.

  • April 14, 2010

    The only way to combat WMG (Working Mom Guilt) is to steal the occasional day with the little ones. And work from home as much as you can - 1/2 days only, though, cause expecting a munchkin to behave for a whole day while mommy is on the telephone is asking just too much from you mini-mes.

    Nobody tells us how terrifying being a parent can be. If they did, we might not ever subject ourselves to it.

  • April 14, 2010

    Balance takes scales and scales suck.

    That’s my logic.

  • April 14, 2010

    My mum didn’t work until I was ten and I can not recall a single instance of raur smash trains.  Not one.  And she doesn’t feel guilt.  And she’s Catholic. (Not that you shouldnt think she’s awesome because she completely is but would raur smash trains once in a while have killed her?? Seriously.)

    It will all be okay.  The fact that you worry about it shows you care and that is the primary requirement for mum-ness.  You are the mum-ness.  And the jam-ness.  (Jam=best part of the doughnut.)

  • April 14, 2010

    You know it really does take a village. It’s okay if your kids are not with you 100% of the time. Think of all the things they are learning from the other adults in their lives. They are building healthy relationships and figuring out how to interact with others.

    You are doing a great job mom. Never think otherwise.

  • April 14, 2010

    Oh yeah, I forgot, 4 is worse.

  • April 15, 2010

    “I’d miss working and while I work I miss them at home. I can’t decide if this is my being difficult or truly the Plight of the working mom.”

    It’s the plight of the working Mom.  I love the full body hugs/wraps I get when I pick my 3 yr old up from school though.

  • April 15, 2010

    I should weigh in on my thoughts about working/staying at home but I CANNOT GET PAST THE ADORABLE OF YOUR KID!


  • Jamie, Mom of 3
    April 15, 2010

    Funny, mine are 16,14, & 12 now and I can’t remember it being bad at that age… Must be one of those things you forget after time….
    Looking forward to hearing what you have to say about 16,14, or 12 year olds when yours are… ;o)

  • April 15, 2010

    I’d argue that Mommy Guilt is stronger than Catholic Guilt.  Ooof.

  • April 15, 2010

    Three year olds are assholes.  Also, terrorists.  You can’t negotiate.

  • realmom
    April 17, 2010

    First off you make me laugh! I needed a laugh this morning! it’s Saturday and my kid has been watching TV way too long but we have company coming over and I have way too much to do! I’m fighting the mommy guilt, that little voice that’s saying “you haven’t seen your kid all week you rotten mother, and you should be making crafts or playing house not cleaning the bathroom and doing laundry. Oh wait, your supposed to do all that at the same time!” And mine is almost 4 with no light at the end of the tunnel! (actually she’s totally adorable and really only a tyrant when she’s tired!)

  • April 17, 2010

    They are also the perfect companion for watching bathroom humor movies…I mean, if we’re talking assholes, they get farts better than anyone. At least mine does…my three year old, not my farts. Gah.

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