I wrote this last October. I don’t know why I didn’t post it. I like it. So I am posting it now.
LAUREN ELKINS, WORKING MOTHER AND MASTER OF THE LAUNDRY (not really). EDICT TO THE PEOPLE OF THE INTERNET.
This is to say nothing of the good work that is done by stay at home mothers.
According to myself, let us believe that every day is a success that includes getting showered, applying deodorant, brushing hair and teeth, and dressing in clothing that fits, followed by getting the baby up, changing his diaper, getting him into clothing, nursing, and at least putting on some socks. This is equal in effort to the work of getting bags together which are not limited to the laptop backpack filled with the work computer, folders, documentation, and other cables; the pumping bag which includes pump parts, milk storage bags, a cold storage bag with an ice pack, a wallet, and a Kindle for reading and timing the pumping; the baby’s bag with his diapers, change of clothes, bottle, milk, and perhaps some medicine when he’s still recovering from thrush.
I decree that I should be branded with the honorable name of Successful Mother every morning that I buckle my child, fully clothed—socks and all—with a clean diaper, into his car seat, load the bags into the car, lock the door behind us without letting the cat out and after turning off all of the lights, and then climb myself—fully clothed with clean underwear—into the driver’s seat. I shall not presume that the drive to daycare will be uneventful, but will include listening to almost-annoying children’s songs, interrupted by screeching from the baby in the car seat who is tossing the toys that he was initially given for the ride.
I shall not suffer that, after dropping off at daycare, the children’s songs shall continue, but instead I shall enjoy some quiet, adult time listening to NPR.
I shall suffer chastisement from myself over all of the Mommy things I cannot do perfectly as a working mother such as putting my child on a strict napping schedule, nursing him during the day, pumping enough milk for all of the bottles that he consumes at daycare, pumping enough times during the day when my employer expects me to be in many meetings, teaching him to crawl, reading books all day with him, or finding time for myself to actually go to the gym.
I shall decide to inflict upon myself broken sleep for nights on end because I can’t let a baby with pneumonia cry it out at three in the morning.
In accordance with the will of Heaven, I shall drop off my child at daycare where his teachers will play with him, help him to cruise around on furniture, try to get him to take two naps a day, attempt to get him to eat his solid food, give him plenty of bottles of either expressed milk or formula, change wet and poopy diapers, change plenty of outfits after eating or a particularly messy diaper, and call me when the poor little boy gets sick.
It is my desire that I shall still provide for my family, because, by the will of Heaven, I have a good job so that we can afford to pay our rent, to put good food on the table, to have cell phones, to get internet access, to drive cars, to clothe ourselves, to heat our homes, to go to daycare, to go to school (husband), and to be happy—which we cannot really buy.
It is my desire that there shall not be enough time in the day, even with the will of Heaven on our side, for all of the things that need to be done at home after work such as laundering dirty cloth diapers, laundering our clothing, washing dishes, making food, putting everything away in the boxes from moving into our new home, raking the leaves, putting gas in the car, buying groceries, buying more kitty litter, giving the cat a bath, giving the baby a bath, sweeping and vacuuming floors, cleaning the bathroom, and any ironing of clothing at all.
Wherefore, when all is said and done, let it be said that at the end of the day, when the baby is in his pajamas and Dad is handing him off to myself, the working mother, that he smiles, puts his hand up on Dad’s cheek and pushes his Dad’s face towards his Mom to give her a kiss. I may then be able to sleep happily in our home.
GIVEN ON THIS BLOG ON THE TWENTY-EIGHTH DAY OF THE TENTH MONTH OF THE YEAR 2013.