One of the amazing things about blogging is the network of people that you find. People that live in other time zones become friends. They provide support to you when you're feeling overwhelmed. They cheer you up when you feel beaten down by the internet world or RL (real life) as it's coined in the bloggiverse. Plus, they hook you up with new eyeballs on your writing. I've been really fortunate to meet some amazing people through my little blog.
So, today, I'm introducing you to one of my favoritest people - Jen from Life on The SONny Side. She's gorgeous, hilarious and one of the coolest smart chicks around. But with this post she's sharing today on Momaical, she is opening up about how hard it is to be growed up.
A big round of applause please for the lovely and talented Jennifer Provenzano!
"Women Who Have It All" and Other Lies People Tell - Guest Post by Jennifer Provenzano
I had trouble getting in to work today.
I sat in the parking lot…trying to go in. I simply couldn't stop crying. I watched the minutes tick by on the clock in my car waiting for the tears to dry up…for the weeping to subside. It took almost half an hour. I looked at myself in the rear view mirror. My God. Not only did I not want to go in, but now I was going to have to do it looking like this.
I’m a mom. I work full time in a fast-paced, often high pressure career. This isn't my first day back in the office after maternity leave. My son turned two last month.
This isn't meant to be a diatribe about why it’s so difficult to be a working mom. I, both know and love, a bevy of incredible stay at home moms, who spend 12-18 hour days managing unruly children and bustling households, who would give up their only coffee cup to trade places with me in a heartbeat. I don’t blame them for admiring the green of my “career mom” grass some days. But, there’s something that I desperately want for them to know.
It’s really more like AstroTurf. It’s a vibrant green, and from across the street, it probably looks pretty great. Up close, it’s more like an uncomfortable nightmare.
I've been getting up and leaving my son to go to work for two freaking years now, and it still feels just as impossible as it did driving away from him that very first day. The heartache never dulled. Not even a little. Even though people promised me that it would.
I come home tired, and burnt out in the evenings. When I’m with him then, I’m a lesser version of myself. My patience is short. My energy has left the building. I don’t like me…I certainly don’t know how I expect him to.
I’m missing milestones and memories. Every. Single. Day.
I know that I’m missing poopy diapers and tantrums too. I. Don’t. Care.
I listen to experts and pundits ponder whether or not today’s professional women can really “have it all”…can we balance a successful career path, an orderly home, and a fulfilling family life?
The short answer? No.
The long answer? Hell no.
In my weary opinion at least.
When I close my eyes, I see a much older version of myself. She is a woman in the twilight of her career with a fully grown child…who isn't a child at all any more. She is fraught with regret. She isn't beaming with pride because of years of contributions that she made to her “work team”. She is sad to see her little boy grown. She missed 40 hours of him, in all of his little boy glory, every single week. She is ashamed. The guilt is stifling. I open my eyes again and the sad drips off of me like hot wax as the candle continues to burn too quickly at both ends.
I have vivid fantasies of leaving my job. It’s not even a terrible job. While I actually enjoy most of the work that I do, it quite simply, no longer compares to the way that I feel about my family.
I also occasionally entertain fantasies of having another child. Those flickers are always quickly extinguished when I imagine sharing the little time that I do have with yet another tiny person. It absolutely wouldn't be fair.
I find myself completely lost as I continue to converge upon this emotional crossroads that won’t be ignored. A career that helps my family live comfortably? Or, the exhausting and typically thankless days of a stay at home mom? I fear making the wrong decision for myself. I fear not making the right decision in time. I fear my obvious inability to make this decision at all.
The stakes feel dangerously high for a discussion related to domesticity. I find myself wanting to travel back through time simply to head-butt my 23-year-old-self for not spending more time basking in the glow of a life not yet purposed. My 33-year-old-self needs to pull herself together and get out of her car already.
I turned the engine off and used fast food napkins to try to erase the mascara tracks on my tired, puffy face. I grabbed my purse which was set beside the empty car seat. A lone sob escapes again. I force a deep inhale. My heel clicks on the asphalt. An audible confirmation that I made my decision. For today, at least.
When Jennifer occasionally drinks an extra pot of coffee, she stays up way too late and blogs for her site, Life on the SONny Side – www.lifeonthesonnyside.com
Go check out Ms. Provenzano and send her some love!