There are days when I love being a working mom. I'm doing something I really love, and I'm bringing home a paycheck for it. And then I get one of those notes from school about a big moment that I have to miss. That's when it all goes off the rails and I wonder: am I putting my job before my kid?
And when I saw a mom had actually quit her job so she could go to her son's baseball game this month, I had to pause. Billie Ann Tomei's teenage son Cole made it all the way to the Little League World Series. His team, Petaluma National, even made it to the national title game!
But Billie Ann says when she asked her boss for time off so she could go to one of the team's regional tournaments -- a stepping stone to the national title -- she was told that going on the trip would mean kissing her job goodbye. So she quit the job and went to watch her son's game!
In a way, I envy her.
There are times when I have to prioritize, and my kid comes second. I let my husband go to the gingerbread-making afternoon at school while I go to work. I tell her another mom is going to have to drive her to the dress rehearsal for her dance recital.
It's the kind of thing that used to giving me working mom guilt.
But the older my daughter gets, the better she's getting at understanding that when Mom doesn't show up for something it's not because I don't care. It's because I have a job. And jobs are a fact of life; they help pay the bills.
We have talked about her disappointment when her father or I can't make it to this event or that because of work. My job pays for that dance class. She knows that.
It's helped me feel realize that as much as we make our kids our priority in life, sometimes putting a job first is less about the job itself than about improving our kids' lives. I work because I like it, but I also work because we need the money. Not working is not a realistic option for me OR my husband. We both need to work for financial reasons.
I can't judge whether or not Billie Ann Tomei's family is financially able to handle her quitting her job to go to a baseball game. I hope for their sakes that they are.
But I can comfortably say that the choice she made isn't one most moms can make. We may want to be there for all of our kids' big moments, but being "there" for our kids isn't always about being in their physical proximity. I'd rather miss a few soccer games than miss a mortgage payment.
How about you? Would you quit your job just to make it to one of your child's big moments?
Image via Stefano Chiarelli/Flickr