Sunday, April 10, 2011

In defense of working moms -- this one, anyway!

“How was your weekend?”  It’s a perfectly normal question for folks to ask on a Monday morning.  The thing is, I’m pretty sure they don’t want to hear how my weekend really was.  And that’s ok.  Because the reality is, my weekend – our weekends – are often so exhausting that my husband and I are happy to see Monday morning arrive.  Monday morning means back to work.  A place that while challenging and stressful at times, also affords the opportunity to pee without anyone sitting on your lap and to eat sitting down… both minor indulgences  after 48 hours at home with our five little Lyons Cubs!

As I’ve mentioned in the past, people say a LOT of crazy things to me.  One comment I hear frequently goes something like this… “You have ALL those kids and you WORK too?!   Wow….”  Then they walk away, leaving me to wonder if I’m a terrible person because I have “ALL” these kids and leave them behind for roughly 40 hours a week or if there’s something in my appearance that suggests we are independently wealthy and therefore I don’t need to work.  Given that I’m cruising around in a minivan too beat up to even be called a "swagger wagon" and most of my clothes date from the 90s (at best!), I’m pretty sure it’s not the latter.  And, I know in my heart – and my checkbook! – that it’s not the former either.  Five kids (and one 99 pound dog!) are expensive.  And this past weekend was a real doozie in terms of dollars and sense.  Here’s a rough breakdown…

  • Trader Joe’s for groceries                               $170
  • Dog to Vet for annual checkup & shots              $175
  • Return trip to vet for antibiotics upon discovering dear dog has lyme disease   $275
  • Birthday gifts for upcoming parties                   $60
  • Oil change and inspection for minivan               $75
  • Car #2 to mechanic to repair failing brakes       $175
  • 2 cases of diapers                                           $70
  • Trip to Urgent Care for 6 year old with presumed pink eye      $50
  • Antibiotic upon confirmation of pink eye                                $80
  • Spring plants/soil/essentials for backyard clean up                   $100
  • Stop & Shop grocery delivery                                                $150
It’s a lot, right?  I don’t have the heart to add it all up but at a glance, a weekend full of essential expenditures (not even including Friday night pizza or a date night!) looks like it’s close to $1000.  Granted, this time around our lovable lab accounts for more than his fair share but, we’re not about to give him up – the entertainment he provides our kids is priceless.  And I don’t think we can give up the diapers yet either although trust me, we’re trying! 

As I assess this list, I’m reminded that my paycheck is pretty important to our bottom line.  And as I assess my aching limbs after a weekend of chasing, lifting, wrestling, battling, tickling, and twirling our kids well, I’m grateful for the time we’ve had together and, I’m glad that tomorrow is Monday!

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