I am carrying the guilt around like so many women I know. Am I a working mother or wicked mother?
It began yesterday morning with a normal teenage argument “but it’s raining”.
“I have to go to work” I explained slowly and calmly for the umpteenth time.
It ended with the normal teenage explosion of “I hate you”, “you don’t care about me” and the slamming of the front door.
He was right about one thing; it was raining. It has not stopped raining for weeks and weeks.
Middle Son has been doing work experience every week for months although the experience was; less work, than turn up and not have anything to do so being let off and spending the day back at home in front of the x-box. I have not had to take him to there before so why was today any different?
Actually I knew why. His place of work experience had changed and this time he would have to learn different jobs, meet new people and be involved in something he may not yet understand. Although teenagers don’t admit to it he was nervous and needed my presence to reassure him.
I of course had to be at work at 9am and he was not due till 10. I had taken him up there the week before to meet the new people and I had gone in with him then and had a sneaky mummy nose around.
Work was busy, the phone did not stop ringing, the emails pinged as they flooded the system and I cannot actually remember where the morning went. It was late morning when my mobile rang and I rushed to find out what emergency had befallen one of my children.
“Mum where are you?”
I was at work, where else would I be? Where was he?
He was walking home. Taking an early lunch I relented and rushed in the car to pick him up. A sad forlorn figure so cold and wet he could not take another step towards the house and was sheltering as best he could under what was left of a tree.
He had waited and waited in the torrential rain for them to arrive. Having arrived slightly early he stayed for two hours waiting. There was no shelter and the rain continued to pelt down his hair, trickle under his light trendy jacket and fill his totally unsatisfactory canvas shoes.
Sensibly he had made it back to school which was on the way home. School contacted the work place and discovered there had been a problem this morning and they had been delayed. In fact they probably arrived minutes after Middle Son trudged dejectedly away from the place. They were so full of apologies and promises of a better try next week. He was sent home to dry out and get warm. It was still raining.
Guiltily I collected him, made him a hot drink and sent him up for a warm steamy bath; then went back to work. I wanted to stay and make sure he was ok. I wanted to assuage my guilt by sitting on the sofa with him like the old days and feeding him treats and watching some unbearable film just to show him I cared. But there were more emails, and a report to type and I needed the money.
I had just spent the previous weekend researching the internet, balancing everyone’s different wants and needs from a family holiday and I think I had find one that suited us all but it was very expensive. I work to help pay the bills but it also allows for the extra treats such as holidays; short breaks and current necessary cannot live without electronic gadgets.
If I stopped work to be with the children all the time would they suffer? Maybe not but there would be things they would go without. They would not be able to keep up with the Jones or the Smiths or any of their contemporaries with I-phones, I –pads and x-boxes. We would not be able to go on holiday and they would have to temper their designer cravings.
This is not a new argument. I have been battling my guilty conscience about being a working mother since No 1 Son was 3 months old. Every time one of the children is ill or injured I am thrown into yet another vortex of mixed guilt at having to take time off and let work colleagues down or not being with my child at his time of need. I am lucky to have had the opportunity to put my career on hold while I worked in a school; so at least I only worked term time and had the holidays with them.
Our lives are changing though with No 1 Son applying for university next year and Middle Son hoping to begin his apprenticeship in September; maybe they will not need me so much. Maybe now is the time I can kick start my career for me? I will check the sits vacant this weekend in the paper.
Today I got a call from the school “Middle Son is poorly can you come and get him please”
He is cold, shivery, and full of a head cold and he blames me.
If only I had taken him to work.
Have a look at what I am up to with my food blog at Tea Time Treats