When you’re a working mom you are doused almost daily with guilt. Guilt that you leave your child with someone so you can go to work. Guilt that you don’t spend enough time with your child. Guilt that you leave your child with a babysitter so you can have some adult time. Guilt that you set you child in front of the television for 30 minutes so you can make dinner. It pummels you from all corners and some days are so much worse than others. . .
The other day I had a heavy workload day and towards the end of the day I look up only to have an “oh shit” moment. It was 4:11, I need to shut down and haul butt out of the building. I usually leave work at 4 so I can pick up my child no later than 5pm. I leave hurriedly only to be reminded by the gauges on my car that I’m going to have to stop and get gas on my way between work and daycare. The whole way driving to pick my child up I am riddled with feelings of guilt. I don’t like leaving him at school any longer than I have to. I should have been paying better attention to the clock. Traffic just plain sucks the whole way and I finally wind up at his daycare about 5:15.
Already riddled with guilt I step into his classroom only to see his crying face through the glass door leading to the playground. My heart crumbles and I pick him up as soon as I make my way outside. I take inventory of the situation. Not even a handful of kids are outside and the teacher is not one of his normal teachers. She leaves her post talking to the other teacher from across playground gate separating the older kids from the younger to make sure I know he has been “fussy” for about the last 20 minutes or so (The time I normally would have picked him up by.) as she lets me back in the building. Another teacher is inside cleaning and lets me know she had been sitting outside with him holding him while he fussed until she was summoned away to begin her cleaning duties. This does not bring me any comfort.
My heart is heavy. I hug my child and carry him out to the car. We take our time getting in the car while. When I slide into the drivers seat I fight back tears and clear my throat to get rid of any sadness. I am angry that the teacher was just standing around chatting and not making an effort to comfort my child. I am so angry I wonder if this situation warrants an email to the director. . . I am also feeling guilty I left work late and picked him up late. I hate the barrage of feelings that are bombarding me from all directions.
We get home and cuddle and play and do a lot of his favorite crazy rambunctious things to take our mind off the roughness of the afternoon. My husband assures me that things like this will happen on occasion and I cannot let the feelings control me. Just enjoy the time we do have together instead. So we do. We squash away those feelings of guilt and flood our hearts instead with joy and togetherness.
“The future belongs to those of us still willing to get our hands dirty.” -KMFDM
(Interactive dirt poster by Roland Tiangco.)
I’ve complained about the stairs leading up to the back of our house for years. We made do with what came with the house, but it just wasn’t cutting it for me. The landing hadn’t been built high enough to actually go into the house without taking a step up and being the wonderfully graceful person I am I just couldn’t handle it. My husband fixed that after we moved in by adding an extra step. This worked okay until we had a toddler underfoot. Trying to get in through the back door with an arm full of groceries, while making sure your toddler doesn’t fall off the small landing or step while the dog tries to plow you down to get out of the house was becoming too much of a chore. I requested to my husband new stairs and a landing and a week later I am so incredibly happy.
My husband is a Master Electrician by trade but enjoys playing with wood building for us when he is able. He explained to me his plan, which I understood fairly well (even without him sketching it out for me like he usually does). He bought most of his materials on Friday evening and on Saturday morning he started right away with tearing out the old steps and landing. It was in sad shape. He then set to getting things level for the new landing. Building the landing is not hard at all, but making sure everything is level and square is quite a chore. By Saturday evening, the landing was finished with the exception of one board that had to be laid and the second railing. It was coming along beautifully. Sunday evening led to the completion of the stairs. Now all we need is a stair railing and a few finishing
touches to turn our new landing into perfection.
I am so incredibly thankful to have a husband who can work with his hands, and I am so grateful when I get to help him with these projects. (Which is not terribly easy having to pause and chase around a little person, but so incredibly worth it.)
It’s been too long since I’ve shared a recipe (Because you know I’ve been having a love-hate relationship with my kitchen and all). One of the first Pinterest delights that I tried was a recipe my friend Cathy had pinned called Cheddar Baked Chicken. It is an absolutely amazing dish and always a hit at our house. It might not be the most healthy because of the Ritz crackers and the sauce, but it sure does taste delicious and there are plenty of substitutes out there: check out this list for some great substitutions. While writing this, I decided I might just try a healthy alternative version of this next time I make this dish just for kicks and giggles.
4 Large Chicken Breasts
1/2-1 whole block Cheddar Cheese
1 Sleeve Ritz Cracker (or substitute)
1/2 cup milk
Any Spices you might like
For the Sauce:
1 Can cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup
1 TBS SC
1 TBS butter
Preheat your oven to 400°
Squish up your Ritz Crackers in the cracker sleeve and then dump the crackers crumbs into a bowl. (If you prefer to use a food processor have at it, I just view it as one more thing to clean up so I skip it.) Add salt, pepper and whatever spices you like to the crackers.
Shred your Block of cheese into another bowl.
Mix your milk and egg into a third bowl.
Grease a large glass baking pan.
Cut up your chicken breasts into about 3-4 pieces per breast.
Dip your pieces of chicken in the milk mixture, then the bowl of cheddar cheese. Press the cheese into the chicken, then dip into the crackers. Lay the breaded chicken in the pan. Repeat for all the chicken pieces. Sprinkle any leftover cheese and crumbs on top of the chicken in the pan.
Cover the pan with tin foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes until chicken is golden brown.
For the sauce:
Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat until thoroughly heated. Pour over chicken (or in the case of little persons put on the side so they can dip.)
Pair with some veggies or a salad and you have a delicious meal you will be taking requests for in the future.
If you ever wonder what us working moms do during our lunch break I can tell you we are sometimes lucky to actually squeeze food into the lunch break. . . it’s all about getting as many tasks completed that we can do sans child so that we can spend more quality time with the kiddos.
This is what we do. . .
We run errands. We buy dry goods from the grocery store, anything we can leave in the car without fear of spoiling or melting or becoming toxic while it sits there in our car from lunch until we make it home. We pick up pet food from Petsmart or Petco. We get gifts for birthdays and holidays. We get our oil changed. We go to the bank. We renew our registrations.
We stay in the office and catch up on household business. We make phone calls. We schedule appointments. We research classes and things to do with the kiddos when we are with them. We make sure the bills are paid. We budget. We make meal plans and grocery lists. We catch up on emails that are long overdue for an answer. We write on our blogs. We read parenting articles. We finish making costumes or crafts for upcoming holiday parties for the kiddo. We try to figure out other jobs where we could work from home. Sometimes we even try to read a few chapters in the never- ending stack of books telling us “the correct” way to parent while sitting in front of our desks eating a salad, a sandwich, or last night’s leftovers.
If we are lucky we quietly eat an actual lunch at our desk quickly in about 15 minutes so we can leave early to pick up the kids because there’s always a little bit of guilt tugging our heart strings that we are working moms.
If we are super stressed we call in the big guns and schedule an overdue lunch date with one of our closest friends, because meeting them at the park with the kiddos Saturday mornings only allows for about 10 minutes of actual adult conversation while a lunch date allows 45+ minutes of actual adult conversation plus some much-needed stress relief.
So, in case you’ve ever wondered what we do. . . that is what we do.