A few years ago, when my twins were three or four years old, I left my daughter home with the Nanny while I went to work. My Wee One (WO) had a cold, so part way through my day, I called to see how she was.
Me: Hi baby-girl! How are you?
Wee One: I’m fine. But where are you, Mommy?
Me: I’m at work.
WO: Do you have a hammmer?
Me: No, sweetie. No hammer. What do you think Mommy does at work?
WO: I don’t know. What do you do?
Me: I make commercials so that people know what shows to watch on TV.
WO: Well, that doesn’t sound very important. I think you should just come home.
Out of the mouths of babe, right? Not long after that I slowed work considerably, only accepting those projects I knew wouldn’t keep me in the edit room until 3am. (Which in TV, isn’t a lot.) And eventually, I stopped more or less all together, aside from the occasional day-job here and there.
But recently, I started working again. And today, I had to back out of going on a class trip because I have a work meeting I can’t get out of.
You know what? This working thing is really cramping my style.
Now I know, that sounds awfully cavalier, given what’s going on only a few blocks downtown – the panic, the lay-offs, the wiping out of people’s life-savings — and I’m not saying I’m going to stop working. Or that it’s even an option. But I am saying: working is kind of a bummer after a year of having my time myself….other than the 10 hours a week I gave to my kids’ school, the grocery shopping, the cooking, the straightening up, the laundry. And the constant feeling that really, truly, I should be working out more.
See, I can’t seem to care about work. I need the paycheck, I like the adult conversation. And honestly, I couldn’t have a better situation. It’s part-time, it’s mostly at home. It’s writing. I’m getting paid to write. Boo hoo. Poor me.
If I were a man I’d say that I just can’t get it up for ad-copy. Does anyone really get excited about the Insurance industry? Or a real-estate complex in New Jersey? Or a marketing company that hired another marketing company to write their marketing material?
I know I sound like a spoiled brat. But people: this is a no-holds-barred confession. I’m not proud of feeling this way. I’m just tellin’ it like it is. And I know I can’t be alone in this: balancing work life and motherhood is HARD. Sarah Palin aside.
The truth is, I couldn’t get all that excited about playing Littlest Pet Shop, either. Or sitting around the playground for hours once they were old enough that “Playground” wasn’t synonomous with “disaster avoidance.” (That was exciting in a heart-stopping, “oh my God my children are going to kill themselves on that see-saw” kind of way.) On the other side, TV may sound glamorous and all that — but it’s hard to feel glam at 2am in a smelly edit room working with a 30-something editor who still lives with his mother on a commercial for yet another movie about a woman who had everything….until.
So maybe I’m just not all that excitable. Or exciting. Crap. Maybe it’s me! Maybe I’m just dull.
Are there any mothers out there who absolutely love every minute? Every episode of Hannah Montana? Every repetition of Raffi songs? Every sullen “you can’t make me?” Is there anybody who has a job that really thrills them? (Sarah Palin aside) I’d love that job. I’d love to be that mother. But I’m just not.
Maybe if I had a hammer.