When my son was sick last week, it was naturally assumed that I would be staying home with him. We didn’t really have a conversation about it. In fact, my husband packed up his stuff and kissed me goodbye before I even realized what had just happened.
I was a little bit excited about spending the time with my cuddle muffin (cue visions of snuggles and walks around the block), but I instantly felt guilty about all the rest. I have a full time job that requires my undivided attention. The deadlines weren’t going to stop just for a sick baby. Although I have the ability to work from home in certain situations, it’s not exactly possible with a 13 month clinging to me like the dog’s fur attaches itself to my favorite North Face fleece.
Being with my baby is one of my absolute favorite things to do, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that on that very day at that very second, I needed to be in two places at one time. We spent the day in our pajamas, eating ice cream, and playing trucks. He cried when I told him it was time to go down for a nap and he said “uh-oh” when I spilled macaroni and cheese all over the kitchen floor. I tried not to think about the looming deadlines over my head. I tried to live in the moment. But it was really hard.
When my husband arrived home after a long day, he didn’t understand why I needed to sit at the kitchen table for hours and finish a press release. He didn’t understand that I didn’t regret staying home with my sick baby, but that it did come at a sacrifice. I didn’t feel anger or resentment towards him, but it did make me wonder if my husband had guilt about not being home with us. So I asked him. Turns out he just assumed I would want to stay home with my son and that regardless of any deadlines, it was a “mom thing.” It stung a little to hear that this assumption was made, but it also made me proud: proud to be a mom who has to juggle a career, a husband, and a child.
Being a working mom for the past nine months hasn’t been easy. Between the dreaded sick call from daycare and the night time “hey Mom, I’m not going to sleep at all tonight so don’t think about being well rested for that 8am meeting” antics that always occur at the worst possible time, it’s been quite the learning curve. It may be a “mom thing,” but staying home with my sick baby was just what I needed to know that sometimes you do have to be in two places at once, and somehow it just all works out in the end.