Who has it harder -- working moms or stay at home moms? I have a sister and many friends who work, and on many occasions, I am thankful that I don't live their lives. On other occasions, I am envious of their lives. Today was one day I salute working mommies.
My daughter has been fighting a cold for a week and today she seemed to take a turn for the worst. I called the pediatrician at around 1:00 to get an appointment for the afternoon. The only time the doctor could fit me in was 4:30.
Also, a few essential ingredients for tonight's dinner had not yet been purchased and she was already asleep for nap, which left my only window for hitting the grocery store to be after her appointment.
Early rush hour combined with the incessant amount of construction throughout my county caused traffic to already be heavy on our way to the doctor, but we still managed to arrive to our appointment on time. However, the nurse took us back late because the office had become backed up throughout the day, causing us to not even get to the grocery store until 5:15. It was packed with people just getting out of work (I noticed the moms' attire was quite different -- most were professionally dressed unlike my typical 8 a.m. grocery run uniform of comfy pants and a sweatshirt).
The ride home from the grocery store was longer than usual due to traffic, and I did not walk in the door until 6:15 with both kids screaming for dinner. The dinner I had started in the crock pot earlier was already half-cooked without the ingredients I bought at the store, so I frantically chopped everything else up to throw it in there while tossing a yogurt and banana at my kids for dinner.
It was mayhem. I realized today how spoiled I am in several ways. I usually get in to the doctor in the morning, when appointments are still relatively on time and the doctors and nurses are fresh, perky, and not watching the clock to go home from their long day of crying boogery kids. I usually hit the grocery store between 8 and 9 a.m. when it is nearly empty. I never wait for a cashier -- in fact, they are usually standing around bored waiting desperately for a customer to come fill the next 8 minutes of their shift. My kids are used to having dinner at 5 or 5:30, which occurs at their leisurely pace, and a fun bath followed by play time, story time, and bed time at 7:30. And I almost NEVER deal with rush hour traffic.
I thought about my life vs. that of the working mom's today and saw two drastically different pictures. I thought of moms who always take their kids in to the doctor late in the day because they had to organize the appointment around work. And these same moms probably never saw the same grocery store I did -- the neat, organized store with nearly empty aisles and bright-eyed employees who have just punched in and are standing around desperate to help me find something. They see the crazed post-work day grocery store with jam-packed aisles, carts full of cranky kids hungry for dinner, and check-out lines 5 people deep. Then they rush home watching the clock tick away at the time they have left to feed their kids, bathe their kids, play with their kids and get them to bed.
This mad rush is the daily life of many working moms. I covet their fancy work clothes and fancy work lunches, I envy their adult conversations all day and their financial contributions to the household, and frankly, I am flat jealous of the break they have from their kids. But today, I thought about what I do have, especially when having a sick kid. And today, working moms, I salute you. I dream of breaks from my kids because I have SO MUCH time with my kids, and days like today make me realize how lucky I am.