I am not one of those women who have ever felt like motherhood was something I had to “achieve” at or “win.” I am not competitive, neither with the sacrifices I have made for my daughter nor with her achievements. (I am, however, extremely competitive in most of the other areas of my life, which makes my utter lack of need to be the best a bit curious…)
So why do I feel like I am losing at this mommy thing? Or rather, R is losing?
My mother made an offhand comment the other day about all the “problems” we’ve had with R. At first, I couldn’t figure out what she meant. But I suppose she means the health problems – the hip dysplasia, the breast milk jaundice, the broken collarbone, the kidney reflux and bladder infections. To me, all that stuff is just what we expect to deal with as parents. And compared to most of my mother’s children, R’s problems are small potatoes.
But are they? Am I not paying proper attention? Right now, I’m writing this from my hotel room in Nashville. R is 250 miles away, having a week of “Daddy time.” She and I spent Monday together, an hour at the urologist’s office and the rest at home playing. What if something goes wrong while I’m here? I didn’t leave the pediatrician’s number for Dave. I left a lasagne and some pancake batter for Saturday morning breakfast, but I can’t remember to leave the doctor’s number.
I know he’s capable. I know he can work infospace.com or 411. I’m more galled at my own inattention than worried something might actually happen. But I keep saying I can have it all. Can I really?
And as I become less and less enchanted with my job, I wonder if all the trade-offs are really worth it. Because sometimes I just ache to stay at home with her. But is that ache for her? Or is it a selfish feeling? I think I know the answer to that. And that’s why I’m here in Nashville. And it’s why I’ll keep driving 20 minutes and walking across the Canal every day to work.